FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Austin, Texas – April 15, 2013 – The Westlake Neighborhood Alliance (WNA) announced today that a group of area neighbors has filed suit against Western Hills Little League (WHLL) over its proposed development of the River Hills Sports Complex.
Bill Moriarty, President of WNA says, “We represent nearly 1,000 area residents and our organization has complained to WHLL about issues with the league’s land lease with Eanes Independent School District (EISD) for over two years. In addition to issues with the lease, we have voiced our strong concerns about traffic safety issues, environmental issues, adult usage of the “Youth” complex, light and noise issues, and the for-profit nature of parts of the project.
WNA supports this legal action by this group of residents as we believe it is in the best interest of our neighborhoods and in the best interest of “community safety”. EISD, the owner of the 50-acre school site that is being leased to WHLL, is also named in the suit. The suit alleges that WHLL and EISD did not comply with applicable statutes when entering into the lease, and it should therefore be declared void.
Two years ago EISD, granted a controversial 50-year lease to Western Hills Little League to develop a 50-acre Sports Complex on land that was being held by the district as a potential school site. The property is located 1.1 miles into a quiet western Travis County neighborhood with no nearby commercial development. River Hills Rd. is the only access road to the tract, and it is a narrow, two-lane road with no shoulders in most areas, and many blind 90-degree curves. The intersection leading to the site does not have a traffic signal and is dangerous because of the speed of traffic on Bee Caves Rd. and a nearby hilltop that blocks the view of the intersection.
Mr. Moriarty explains “WNA has commissioned a traffic study to analyze the traffic from the sports complex, and it projects that traffic back-ups will exceed one mile, block emergency services to residents, and cause the throngs of sports visitors to be exposed to a dangerous turn at an un-signalized intersection. We have asked for a full traffic signal at this intersection, and it is our understanding that this intersection is extremely problematic, and that even if a signal can be made to work safely there, it will be at least 4 years before it could be installed.”
Mr. Moriarty goes on to add, “This project is huge, and it’s not in the right location. To place twelve active sports fields and a 60,000 square foot indoor complex, with a parking lot equivalent in size to that of a Wal-Mart’s, on property with extreme access issues is irresponsible. Most regional sized complexes like this one are located next to major road corridors to safely handle the traffic.”
Ed MacInerney, an area resident, says “Residents in our neighborhoods have been very supportive of youth sports over the years, however, this proposed development has too many issues. The Sports Complex will create huge traffic safety issues as well as environmental and water quality issues. Just last week, there was a serious accident when a car and a motorcycle collided on one of the blind curves near the proposed sports complex site. This is a dangerous road and will only be made worse if the complex is built at this location. We have asked the developer to provide solutions, and we simply haven’t gotten any.”
Norbert Wangnick, a resident of Seven Oaks agrees adding that “There are over a dozen nearby subdivisions that will be negatively impacted if this development goes in. Other neighborhoods, even off of Loop 360 and the other side of the lake, are starting to realize the significant impact that comes from putting a huge sports complex with bright ball field lights and loudspeakers on a hilltop. People don’t realize this site is only hundreds of yards away from Lake Austin and is across from Emma Long Park (City Park). We have voiced our concerns about light and noise pollution to WHLL for over 2 years and were told last week that they have not even studied the issue”.
Much better alternative locations are available. Lewis Talbert, another area resident says, “Western Hills challenged us to find an alternate site for their fields, and we have done that. We have recommended that they consider another EISD property, the Baldwin Tract, which is just a couple of minutes west on Bee Caves Rd. It’s larger, with better topography and is located next to a commercial area that has excellent access making it much, much safer for families going to and from the complex. The School District has indicated a willingness to consider this site. Our residents are committed to working with the various youth organizations in hopes of finding a better solution that works for the entire Westlake Community.”
About the Westlake Neighborhood Alliance:
The Westlake Neighborhood Alliance (WNA) is an association of nearly one thousand nearby residents who are actively opposing the Commercial-Sized, For-Profit Complex known as the River Hills Sports Park. Neighborhoods include River Hills, Canyon Oaks, Seven Oaks, Rob Roy on the Lake, Sec 2, and WoodIsland.
For more information visit: www.nottherightsite.com
Download/View the legal petition (PDF): http://nottherightsite.com/whll.lawsuit.pdf
Westlake Neighborhood Alliance
William Moriarty, President
400 N. Lowell Lane
Austin, Texas, 78733
For information about this project please click here to see our website or click here to send an email to request more information from the Westlake Neighborhood Alliance (Note: this will create a new email message).