Naked City

Bulldozers Come to Bee Cave

Photos taken by activist Stefan Wray document the tree removal.
Photos taken by activist Stefan Wray document the tree removal.

Just as Save Our Springs Alliance leaders headed to a court hearing last week involving a temporary restraining order against a development project in the Village of Bee Cave, bulldozers began rolling across the tract that's at the heart of the legal dispute.

Environmentalists and area residents are trying to stop the retail project, to be anchored by a Lowe's big-box store, because of its proximity to Little Barton Creek, a tributary of Barton Creek and contributor of flows to Barton Springs. The SOS Alliance argues that the development would pollute the waterways with construction runoff and increased traffic. They had succeeded in winning a TRO early last week but took some time in raising the court-required $100,000 bond to cover the cost of construction delays in the event SOS lost its case. Ultimately, the group was able to post bond Thursday, which brought bulldozing activities to a stop, at least temporarily. A subsequent hearing on a preliminary injunction took place Wednesday as the Chronicle went to press.

In arguing against the TRO, Chris Milam, the developer, said the halt in construction activities would cost him more than $120,000 per week, and, if he loses tenants or financing as a result of the order, his business entity would be out several million dollars.

Following last week's court appearance, SOS spokesman Colin Clark said he went out to survey the Bee Cave tract. "They had already knocked down a good many trees, but the 88 acres were mostly intact," he said.

Milam turned his attention to this project, located on Texas 71 between RR 620 and RM 2244, after his larger planned mall project across the street, the Hill Country Galleria, failed to attract upscale department store anchors. The current endeavor won the Village of Bee Cave's final approval Feb. 10, despite a city engineer's misgivings about the site plan. That engineer was promptly replaced with another who signed off on the plan.

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Save Our Springs Alliance, SOS, Little Barton Creek, Chris Milam, Village of Bee Cave

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