Naked City

Pflugerville Pflays the Pfonies?

Gov. Rick Perry's answer to school finance – slot machines – may have died in the House, but a horseracing outfit that lobbied for the proposal is nevertheless proceeding with plans to build a racetrack in Pflugerville. And the City Council couldn't be happier. On Tuesday, the council unanimously endorsed the track following a public hearing that drew a standing-room only crowd of predominantly anti-gambling citizens. But if a newly organized opposition group, aptly named Pflugerville Pfamilies Pfirst, has its way, the Austin Jockey Club won't be laying stakes anywhere near the city, much less at its proposed site at the future intersection of SH 130 and SH 45.

With the council's blessing, the matter now goes to the state Racing Commission. The Jockey Club already holds a state license but needs the agency's blessing to move from its initial site in Southeast Austin, where it got shot down by Montopolis neighbors in 2000. The Jockey Club has already submitted a development plan to be considered by the city's Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday. The 200-acre property, owned by the prominent Timmerman family, is east of downtown Pflugerville in the city's extra-territorial jurisdiction; the city is in the process of annexing the site in preparation for SH 130.

Meanwhile, if Perry ever succeeds in pushing through his slot machine proposal, despite suffering one embarrassing defeat already, the Jockey Club would be able to add "video lottery terminals" to its gambling options. It's uncertain how, or if, state Rep. Jack Stick's support of the Perry plan will impact his re-election efforts in Pflugerville, a portion of which (including the Jockey Club site) falls within District 50 boundaries.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Pflugerville, Rick Perry, Pflugerville Pfamilies Pfirst, Jack Stick, Racing Commission, Austin Jockey Club, Timmerman

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