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 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 watershed of the property runs directly into Eanes Creek.
The back of the property drains down to Eanes Creek, a direct tributary to the Colorado River (Lake Austin). Many residents use this creek for water and access to the lake. They are concerned about any negative impact to the quality of their water supply in addition to the potential damage that would be caused by the silting of the shallow creek as a result of the massive amount of soil disturbance caused by the razing of the two hilltops.
The creek drains into Lake Austin at a point just above the fresh water intake for the Rob Roy on the Lake subdivision, again causing concern about the negative impact to the quality of the water supply.
This project will consume an inordinate amount of water.
This hilltop site has very thin topsoil covering layers of solid limestone making it much more difficult than typical ball field sites to grow fields of grass.
Growing lush grass for full time sporting use will require an inordinate amount of water and fertilization (resulting in extremely high operating costs). Given the recent severe drought conditions, and the resulting awareness of utilizing water efficiently, EISD recently approved replacing grass fields with artificial turf at two of their school sites located nearby in the hill country.
Area residents are concerned about area well water contamination from ball field fertilization and other chemicals. Many surrounding residents get their water from water wells and are concerned that fertilizers and other chemicals used on the site could contaminate their water supply.