Neighbors say Hamilton Pool is at risk of contamination from proposed RV park


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors in western Travis County are concerned about a proposed 80-plot RV park currently being considered by the commissioners court.

They say the process is being rushed through without safety and security considerations of nearby landmarks and the general public.

The proposed Bentree RV resort, an 80 pad site for recreational vehicles, is located on undeveloped land less than a mile from the Hamilton Pool Preserve.

The site plan for the Bentree RV Resort. (Courtesy: Travis County)

An opposition group made up of concerned citizens, called Protect Hamilton Pool, say there are a number of threats to the natural body of water including groundwater contamination from septic tanks, chemical runoff into the pool and increased traffic, light and noise pollution.

“The ecosystem is fragile, the water is fragile,” said Angelica Johnsen, who is an active constituent in the Protect Hamilton Pool project.

According to official Travis County documents, the project would be reviewed by the commercial site plan process, which ensures environmental, transportational and drainage impacts are addressed.

Documents show the Commissioner’s Court is considering exempting the Bentree RV resort to platting and approving the development permit on the basis that the the application is similar to other subdivision plat requirements.

Concerned neighbors take issue with this potential exemption.

“We want them to go through the requirements as everyone shall with a project this dense,” Johnsen said.

Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said he is actively working to find solutions that please both parties.

“Anytime you have someone that wants to come out and do something commercial usually generates some kind of controversy,” Commissioner Daughtery said. “I’m hopeful that we will find some kind of common ground with he neighbors and the applicant.”

Another major concern for neighbors in the area are the prevalent drought conditions and the likelihood of a traffic jam in the event of a major wildfire evacuation. One neighbors aid the roads are all two-lane highways, around 19 feet wide. An addition of 80 mobile RVs would clog up the thoroughfare.

“We recognized quickly that it would produce a queue approximately half a mile long, and prevent the 250 Stagecoach Ranch residents from being able to exit. So we are very concerned with how that works and the mechanics of that,” said Chris Stewart, who lives at Stagecoach Ranch.

“We’re not just a bunch of angry neighbors. We’re also very committed to the future of this part of Travis County and really our mission has always been keeping Hamilton pool in the safest and cleanest environment that I can possibly be.”

Chris Stewart, Stagecoach Ranch Neighbor

Terry Irion, the attorney representing the Bentree RV resort, said the applicant promises to be a good neighbor to all and is cooperating with every condition the county is requiring of them.

“We’ve worked cooperatively to come up with reasonable standards that we would accept as additional conditions for issuance of a permit,” Irion said. “We are trying to be as cooperative as we can.”

The commissioner’s court will take up the agenda item again on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

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