Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement: "To promote and support positive growth in the Dripping Springs community."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Keep informed

Want to get the latest updates on the Cypress Creek at Ledgestone apartment complex?

Email Teresa at tscott@gretx.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I know we have not heard much about Cypress Creek at Ledgestone in the recent months, but I have new information and wanted to send everyone an update.

The good news is that this legislative session, Rep. Jason Isaac was successful in passing legislation that would require all developers to obtain a resolution from the city, county, or both (in an ETJ) before they are eligible to receive 4% tax credits from the state for low income housing. The city/county MUST hold a public hearing and take public comment on the proposed development before passing a resolution, and the developer CANNOT receive the tax credits unless they are able to obtain these resolutions. This is a huge win for the whole state because local residents will now have direct input into the process and what happens with our own tax dollars in our own community. Please thank Rep. Isaac <mailto:jason.isaac@house.state.tx.us> for all of his hard work on this issue and for standing up for us throughout this process.

The bad news is that this legislation will not take effect until September 1st, and Stuart Shaw is continuing to move forward with his development. He is pushing to try and get it done before that date.

WE CAN STILL HAVE AN IMPACT IN THIS PROCESS! There are a couple of ways that we can make a difference, and I will be sending out more information in the coming days on what you can do to help. 
Please share this email with friends in the community and ask them to send me an email if they would like to be included in the updates...it is VERY important to get the support going strong before July 25th.
Thank you for continuing to be invested in what happens in our neighborhood!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Looks like a done deal

Here is the official notice that CAHFC has stepped back in to supply he bonds to Stuart Shaw and his complex. With the support of the city and the recommendation by Whisenant it is looking like the City and Stuart will get the complex they want.
It would be good to show up at the meeting on Nov. 14th as an expression of our stand regardless of it doing any good or not. If this complex ends up being a good thing for us then I will be the first to admit I was wrong. Let's hope and pray for the best for all of the DS community. Thank you for all the support over the past few months.

CAPITAL AREA HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING In accordance with Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, notice is hereby given that the Capital Area Housing Finance Corporation (the "Corporation") will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at Dripping Springs High School, Lecture Hall, 940 Highway 290 West, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620. The Corporation's designated hearing officer will conduct the hearing on behalf of the Texas Counties of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Williamson and the Texas City of San Marcos (the "Sponsoring Political Subdivisions"). The purpose of the hearing is to provide residents of the Sponsoring Political Subdivisions an opportunity to comment on the proposed issuance by the Corporation of its Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to be issued in one or more series (the "Bonds") in an aggregate face amount of not more than $20,000,000. The Bonds will be issued for the benefit of Cypress Creek Ledge Stone Ltd., or an affiliate thereof (the "Borrower"), in connection with the construction of a 252-unit multifamily development located at the 13000 block of Highway 290 West, Dripping Springs, Hays County, Texas 78737 (the "Development"). The Borrower will own the Development. It is anticipated that a wholly owned affiliate of the Corporation will own the land on which the Development is to be constructed and lease it to the Borrower. Further, a wholly owned affiliate of the Corporation is the general partner of the Borrower. The Bonds will be limited obligations of the Corporation, payable solely from the revenues, receipts and resources of the Corporation pledged to their payment. The Bonds will not constitute an indebtedness or obligation of any of the Sponsoring Political Subdivisions (or any other city, county or other municipal or political corporation or subdivision of the State of Texas) or of the State of Texas, or a loan of credit of any of them, within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory provision. All interested persons are invited to attend the hearing and present written or oral comments on the proposed issuance of the Bonds. Questions or written comments prior to the date of the hearing may be directed to the Capital Area Housing Finance Corporation, 4101 Parkstone Heights Drive, Suite 280, Austin, Texas 78746, Attention: Jim Shaw at (512) 347-9953.
First Date Published: 30-Oct-12

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It’s been quite a while since we updated our blog and many have asked, what is happening with the Cypress Creek at Ledgestone Apartment complex?  Is it a done deal? 

Please know that just because things have been very quiet does not mean we have given up or that this complex is a done deal.  We are in a holding pattern until Stuart Shaw completes his application with TDHCA.

We do have information that we’ve struggled to verify, for instance, has Stuart purchased the land already?  One reputable source has said yes, another has said no.  Of course it is most beneficial to those in opposition if he has not purchased the land and we are working to get a definite answer.

Jim Shaw of CAHFC spoke with me and told me that at this time they will not be issuing the bonds to Stuart Shaw and therefore will have no involvement in the project.  He said that Judge Cobb refuses to sign a form that was necessary for the tax exemption and thus they will no longer be a general partner in this project. 

In speaking with TDHCA, Teresa Morales said that Stuart can obtain bonds from other sources but he would be liable for property taxes the same as everyone else.  Teresa also mentioned that Stuart’s application with TDHCA was still incomplete and that there was no deadline for him to complete it.  Another member of TDHCA told one of our community members that Stuart Shaw has pulled way back from his application.  We don’t know what this means.  I don’t think we should be too hopeful that he is having second thoughts, but more likely he is regrouping to get his financials in order since the loss of CAHFC. 

According to one city official he felt that Stuart Shaw was still moving forward with this complex.  Even though Stuart said many times to our city and state officials, as well as to the general public, that he will not build where he is not wanted, it is clear that he is not a man of his word and he has shown every intention of building whether we want him or not.  I believe there are some city officials that do think a complex like this will be beneficial to our community.  However, others feel it is not the right location and/or size for Dripping Springs.  It is clear that those who oppose this complex outweigh the few who are supporting it by a landslide.

The city did grant some variances to Stuart and confirmed that the development agreement has been signed.  However, the PILOT has been referred to the county and the school district and the mayor is withholding the TDHCA home letter pending resolution with the county and DSISD.

There has been some disgruntled talk that a PILOT will not happen thanks to the opposition who stopped the tax exempt status.  “Now our schools will not get any money!”  Some have been heard to complain.

 I see it a little differently.  ETJ land is not subject to city taxes, only to county property tax.  If Stuart were to get the 100% tax exemption that he was working towards, the county would not receive any monetary benefit from his complex. However, the county would still be required to provide support for the complex. This support would require the use of our county tax dollars.  In summary, if Stuart were tax exempt, he would not be paying for the services that he would surely receive from Hays County. 

The city, on the other hand, might benefit from a PILOT agreement. Although a PILOT agreement might be better than nothing for the city, a PILOT agreement would have other drawbacks.

By forcing him to pay traditional taxes, we now have guaranteed money to our taxing entities and we don’t have to file a law suit to enforce it as we would have had to do with a PILOT.  True, we are a chapter 41 district, or Robin Hood district and this means that our schools only receive a portion of the property taxes collected for our area.  But I believe the PILOT benefit has been highly overrated by Mr. Shaw.

At this time, without a PILOT, we understand that our schools will get additional students and no extra tax dollars.  However, Dr. Gearing mentioned that Robin Hood is challenged every year in the courts and there is always the possibility that Robin Hood will be abolished.  There is also the possibility each year to have it lifted due to the growth we are experiencing.

 If we were no longer a chapter 41 district, we would certainly be better off collecting traditional property taxes year after year from the complex rather than hoping to get money from Mr. Shaw through a PILOT agreement.  In addition, the schools would receive all of the school tax money which would be more lucrative and beneficial. 

The land in the ETJ was originally designated for business’s that would generate sales tax revenue to the city since there is no city property tax on the land.   The city approved this complex knowing full well that it would not produce sales tax revenue.   Overall, I think the best use of the land would be a business that is liable for full property taxes and would provide money to the city via sales tax revenue without adding to the congestion of our overloaded schools.

The restrictions are limited that the city can place on land in its ETJ.  A variance is one way to work with a builder.  For example, the city may grant a variance that is conditional on an acceptable PILOT agreement. We believe that greater benefit can accrue for our community, and for both the city and the county, if traditional ad valorem taxes are paid. Stuart will be paying traditional taxes now, but if he wants a variance from the city, then let him pay for it.  It doesn’t have to be called a PILOT and it would be a way for the city to benefit from the loss of sales tax revenue and or a PILOT. 

What can we do?  It is hard to know exactly at this time.  We need to stay aware of the progress Stuart Shaw is making with TDHCA and continue to let our officials know that we do not support this apartment complex. 

The best chance to stop this is to be on top of the progress and step in as soon as there is an opportunity. 

Please keep your eyes and ears out and relay any information you come across to all on the blog or you can email me directly at tscott@goldwasserrealestate.com 

Thank you for your continued interest and concern.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

 An Open Letter to all business Members of the Dripping Springs Chamber

My wife and I reside in Ledge Stone and we strongly oppose the proposed Cypress Creek at Ledge Stone apartment project.  At the Dripping Springs city council meeting on Tuesday, August 14th, your spokesperson stated to the council that nearly 100% of the chamber business members support the proposed project and the official position of the Chamber of Commerce is total support.

The city council patiently listened to hours of testimony from both sides of this very significant and contentious issue.  Opposition to the project was represented by a city hall packed with area residents, numerous personal statements, statements of opposition from our county commissioner and our state representative, and 1900 signatures of opposition.  And remember, for every one signature on a petition, there are often as many as nine others who share the same opinion.

The council then discussed the issue at length.  Most of the discussion concerned money, in the form of how much the developer may or may not pay and how much business the project would generate.  The council then unanimously voted to approve.

We are both highly insulted.  This vote essentially means the city council deems that possible (but unverified and un-quantified) dollars are much more important than the many valid concerns of the citizens.  You, as businesses who are members of the Chamber of Council, implicitly agree.

Therefore, my wife and I have resolved to no longer patronize any business who is a member of this organization.  We have no ill feelings for any business, but since it appears that possible future business from this income restricted project is more important to you than the established business of 1900 current residents, then we will take all of our business where it is appreciated.  Furthermore, we urge all who signed the petitions, plus any and all others who oppose, to consider doing likewise.
-Posted by Mark & Kathy

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The following article is from State Representative District 45, Jason Issac in Thursday August 9, 2012, The News-Dispatch.

Taxation without representation

Guest Editorial:  By State Representative District 45, Jason Isaac

As the Dripping Springs area continues to grow, a troubling trend is emerging. While only 1,500 people live inside the city limits, the extraterritorial jurisdiction. (ETJ) is home to more than 20,000 residents. With thousands of single-family homes, many children in public schools, and a lot of money spent in local businesses, the population in the ETJ makes up almost the city's entire tax base.

Yet, because these citizens do not live within the city limits, they are unable to vote in the city elections that have a huge impact on the future of their community. In fact, less than seven percent of the area's population is eligible to vote. This means that our City Council members, and the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission (whom the City Council appoints), are only held accountable to this small group of citizens.

This discrepancy has never been more apparent than it was in the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting held on July 24th. The Commission considered granting a variance for a large, low-income apartment complex proposed for the Dripping Springs ETJ. This development is heavily opposed by those who will be most affected by it, the residents of Ledge Stone, Heritage Oaks, Highpointe, and Belterra.

By my estimation, there were about 300 people who signed up or spoke in opposition of the complex, and petitions with thousands of signatures were also presented. The Commission sat through hours of testimony from residents with valid concerns about the strain that this complex could place on our schools and county services.

Despite the overwhelming opposition, the Commission approved the variance. One of the commissioners went so far as to berate the citizens in attendance who had taken time out of their evening to voice their opposition to a project that will greatly alter the community in which they live. I can't help but wonder whether or not this approval would have been granted if the many residents who are seriously concerned about this issue were able to vote in city elections.

Public input is an integral part of our democratic republic. One of the greatest things about our country is our ability to make our voices heard, whether it's through testimony at a public hearing or by exercising our right to vote for the elected officials who best represent our beliefs. In the case of Dripping Springs, I worry that the ability of the minority to control the majority translates into taxation without representation.

The decision has now been passed on to the City Council, who will meet on August 14th at 7:00 p.m. to consider the matter. Regardless of your stance on this issue, I encourage you to attend this meeting and contribute to the discussion.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Contact the City Council prior to the Aug. 14th meeting!!

I have received so many emails and phone calls from residents after the Tuesday meeting with the P&Z which were all of similar voice. I've included some of the email excerpts below. I firmly believe we can stop this if our governing entities will step up and say no. We've got to step up the message so they know how we feel.
We need emails, letters, phone calls and visits to our City Council prior to the next community MUST ATTEND meeting on August 14th at city hall with the City Council members. *mark your calendar and you and all your neighbors plan on attending!
Here are the current member of the Dripping Springs City Council:
Mayor Todd Purcell
Mayor Pro Tem Foulds
Councilman Busbey
Councilman Alba
Councilman Kroll
Councilman King
These officials can be contacted in one of two ways:
US Mail City of DrippingSprings
PO Box 384
Dripping Springs, Texas 78620
EMail jtouchstone@cityofdrippingsprings.com
(Jo Ann Touchstone will then forward the emails to the council members)
*I would suggest that this information be sent to everyone who is on our email lists. I would also suggest that individual letters (or emails to Jo Ann) should be directed to each member.
"in many of our minds his comments were totally out of place"
I would go as far to say that his comments would even be deemed inappropriate and offensive.
The idiot who admonished and demeaned our group was Ted Lehr
I was quite surprised with Mr. Lehr's conduct. He should be ashamed, but for some reason I doubt he is so he should go for sure.
As for Mr. Lehr - I am not quite sure exactly what he was trying to convey - his tone, his disdainful attitude towards the crowd, and some of his points of criticism were way off base in my opinion - it was as if he was preaching to a bunch of young kids who had not quite performed the way he would have seen fit.
Before I finally tuned him out so I wouldn't get more upset and possibly arrested, Lehr was spouting off about the single-family home developments that have gone in recently around the same location as the proposed apartments. I think all he was doing was piggy-backing on another residents points regarding how people opposed these communities as well prior to being built. In my opinion I think he was in favor of the apartments all along, and was just spewing his biased opinion in contrary to all of the valid points all that were opposed provided earlier in the evening and was ignorantly using the one opposing attendee as a crutch of sorts despite the overwhelming facts.
I am in Seattle right now and I have had a few days to cool down. I spent most of my life as a Police Officer and I am proud to say that. The other night when the Deputy Sheriff from Williamson County got up to speak in favor of Shaw, in uniform, I just about lost it. Using the color of his position is the worst thing he could do. Then I found out that he is getting "free" rent for living there. That was the last straw. If I can help let me know how. Shaw has to pay his supporters it seems. Who else is he paying
We are absolutely APPALLED at the outcome of last Tues.'s meeting.... Are these men receiving a "pay-off" by voting for this to go through????
Seriously, could you send out to everyone a list of ALL the important e-mail addresses of the City Council Members and ANYONE else that we should write our opposition to.... will definitely be at the Aug. 14th meeting and spread the word here around Belterra how VERY IMPORTANT it is for ALL of our neighbors to be in attendance that night.
Thanks to everyone who continues to fight this battle with us!