Plainview Estates to Finally Get Water

County signs off on connecting the 40 homes in low-income subdivision to water service

Travis County commissioners had no problem signing off on $115,000 this week to connect the 40 homes in the low-income Plainview Estates subdivision to water service.

Plainview Estates came to Travis County loaded for bear – with a minister from Austin Interfaith in tow – to plead the case for the water service. Many of the homes, on large-acre lots subdivided just more than 40 years ago, have faced limited well water for months. One well in the subdivision dried up more than six years ago. A number of residents commute into the city weekly to haul water back to their homes, just to be able to flush their toilets.

But even before residents got up on Tuesday to outline their case, County Judge Sam Biscoe noted the court's inclination to fund the water project. As Alfred Krebs, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, pointed out, the county is getting a good deal. The Hornsby Bend Utility Company is willing to pick up most of the $476,000 tab on the water-line extensions down Plainview and Clearview drives. All the county is expected to put up is $115,000, only a quarter of the full cost of the project.

"To be honest, compared to the other water projects we've had, this is a small amount of money," Biscoe said. "At the same time, though, we've done enough of them to know that there are typically other issues that surface before the project is done, and there is no reason to think we won't encounter some of those issues here."

Read that to mean that water service may have to be followed by sewer service out to the small subdivision. Travis County, which has faced such "urban colonia" issues in the past, is used to such problems. Forty years ago, the county had practically no standards for getting subdivision plats approved. That's why people moved out to the country. No taxes and no regulations then, however, equals headaches like Plainview Estates now.

The county has successfully brought water service out to a number of similar subdivisions. In some cases, such as Kennedy Ridge, the path to water and sewer service was somewhat bumpy but worked out once state-grant funding was secured. In others, such as Northridge Acres, it took years to get the neighborhood to offer up the cooperation and sweat equity necessary to complete the rather extensive water and sewer project.

Commissioners approved the initial funding for Plainview Estates unanimously. The only real discussion in the case was which fund the county would use to pay for the project and any eventual septic-line projects that may follow. Community development block grant funds can't be doled out in advance and would not be available until year's end. County health corporation dollars or unallocated funds could fill the gap.

Biscoe said the details of the expenditure – and where future money would come from to deal with any future challenges in Plainview Estates – will be worked out at a future court meeting. Details of the project are likely to come back to court when the county signs a contract with the utility provider.

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    More Pet Food Recalled

    Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy might contain contaminated wheat gluten, some Dingo brand Chick'n Jerky treats contaminated with salmonella

    Federal Family-Planning Honcho Resigns

    Overseer of funds hits road after Medicaid officials initiate action against his private practice

    AMD Not So Clean?

    Sediment-laden runoff spotted flowing from Southwest Austin construction site of company's controversial Lone Star campus
  • Happenings

    April 5, 2007 - Wednesday, April 11

    Media Watch

    Baby Boot Allegations at Clear Channel

    City Gets Street-Smart About Bikes

    Local task force formed at behest of Mayor's Fitness Council and Urban Transportation Commission gets rolling

    Taxi Talk

    Belabored creation of new taxi franchise continues this week as matter comes before council for possible first approval

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Kimberly Reeves
Charter School Approval Sparks More Debate
Charter School Approval Sparks More Debate
Williamson County charter school wins approval, but the charter school issue in general remains contentious

Jan. 9, 2009

Last Goodbye to Aquarena Springs
Last Goodbye to Aquarena Springs
Texas State plans to trade in Aquarena Springs' renowned Fifties kitsch for turn-of-the-century simplicity

Nov. 14, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Plainview Estates, Austin Interfaith, Sam Biscoe, Alfred Krebs, Hornsby Bend Utility Company, urban colonia, subdivision plats, Kennedy Ridge, Northridge Acres

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle