Austin gives land to Dripping Springs

OK, maybe the headline is misleading. What it really should have been is, “Austin gives potential of future land to Dripping Springs.”

Anyhow, what this shows is that, contrary to the narrative fed by Greg Abbot, the city of Austin does not seek to annex all of Central Texas. Item 20 on Thursday’s Council agenda offers proof:

Approve an ordinance authorizing the negotiation and execution of an interlocal agreement regarding the release of approximately 33 acres of extraterritorial jurisdiction (‘ETJ’) to the City of Dripping Springs.

The two parcels in question are 2.5 miles away from the Austin city limits. So they’re not part of the city, but neither are they are a part of any other city, which makes them part of our Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. That means they’re eventual candidates for annexation, although a state law passed last year would require residents of that area to consent to annexation via referendum.

Anyway, Dripping Springs for some reason requested the parcels to become part of its ETJ and the city of Austin said sure. A lengthy staff memo explains why the city is happy to give the land away, including that Austin is unlikely to annex it in the near future and Dripping Springs has similar environmental regulations. But what is not clear is why Dripping Springs wanted the land.

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 1.03.35 AM
The light blue is Austin’s ETJ. The light green is Dripping Springs’ ETJ. The parcels are in red.

Now that Don Zimmerman is gone, there is no longer a dedicated anti-annexation warrior on Council, although Ora Houston has on occasion voiced vague concerns about the city overextending itself. Will there be any Council members who feel strongly about the city foreclosing on the possibility of annexation? Considering how far away the land is from the city, I doubt it.

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