The Westlake Neighborhood Alliances believes that WHLL is trying to force this Sports Complex onto a site where it does not fit.
The sports complex is wrong for this location.
The proposed sports complex is huge. Current drawings show 818 parking spaces making it the approximate equivalent to the parking lots of two Walmarts or three HEBs.
The proposed site is one mile into the middle of a residential area. There are no other nearby commercial businesses. There is only one access road to the site and it is a narrow, curvy road without a shoulder.
Access to the site is grossly inadequate for a facility of this size.
Major Site Development Issues Requiring Governmental/Agenecy Variances & Approvals
Clear-cutting of trees from the site and substantial cuts and fills of the grade may irreparably harm the land’s value for future uses. This property is a significant asset of EISD. The lease agreement anticipates the land returning to the district if EISD needs to sell the property in certain financial situations, or if WHLL defaults on the lease, or at the end of the 50-year lease term.
Should the district sell the property, its value may be dramatically reduced to a potential buyer because of the clearing and leveling of the two hilltops. This reduction in value may be of an amount far greater than the value of the lease payments received from WHLL.
The topography of the site is not conducive to ball fields.
There is a 100-foot cliff along the back edge of the property that will be potentially dangerous to WHLL ballplayers and their families, even if reasonable precautions are taken.
There are 200 feet of grade changes on the property (similar in height to a 20-story building). Cuts and fills over 30 feet for individual ball fields will require significant governmental variances in order to accommodate the large, flat surfaces required by ball fields and parking lots.
The proposed site is habitat for endangered species.
The site is confirmed habitat and breeding ground for endangered bird species. WHLL intends to clear much of the site of trees to build the ball fields, potentially damaging or destroying the habitat.
The proposed site has environmentally sensitive features.
EISD’s engineering reports indicate that this tract is in the Critical Water Quality Zone of the Colorado River. In addition, the tract is within a Water Quality Transition Zone, an Upland Zone, and is in the 100-year floodplain. The topography is indicated as rugged.
Runoff from the land discharges into the Colorado River (Lake Austin), the source of drinking water to numerous water districts including the City of Austin. The property contains environmentally sensitive features that need to be protected.
Several of the proposed fields appear to be drawn in or near areas where these features are located and may need to be moved or eliminated to allow sufficient setback. Due to the critical environmental features on the west side of the site, the report called for the development of school improvements in the center and eastern portions of the property.
The surrounding neighborhoods have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their property.
The proposed site is one mile into the middle of a residential area and there are no other nearby commercial businesses. Nights are currently very dark and very quiet.
The complex is located on two hilltops (one of the higher points in the area) making lights and noise impossible to contain within the boundaries of the property. The surrounding neighborhoods have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their property so any increase in lighting or noise may constitute a legal nuisance.
The MegaSportsComplex model is not right for this site or this community.
The MegaSportsComplex model may work on a relatively flat, suburban or rural tract of land, with great access, located on a major roadway. The River Hills location has none of these attributes.
The Project has been a very divisive issue in the community for over a year.
Simply put, many of our residents don’t understand why any organization, particularly one with the history in the community that WHLL has, would try to force this project on a site where it does not fit, in to an area where it is not welcome, and in a way that will knowingly cause irreparable harm to many.
WHLL is planning to operate 365 days a year from 6 am to 10:30 pm.
WHLL has indicated that the Sports Complex is expected to be open every day of the year, including holidays, and only close for a few hours at night. This schedule is more appropriate for a facility in a commercial area and isn’t appropriate for a site located in a residential neighborhood.