Planning Commission Denies Approval of Grounds Improvements

Tuesday night, the full Planning Commission voted to deny City staff’s recommendation for the variances and SOS amendments necessary to complete the Grounds Improvements. Only two commissioners, Chair Dave Anderson and Commissioner Myron Smith, did not join the motion to deny and spoke against it.  FBSP is very disappointed with their action of the Commission.

They did not reject the plans because they don’t support the Grounds Improvements – in fact, they discussed how necessary almost all of the projects are to control erosion, improve water quality, improve accessibility, and care for the trees and lawn.

However, they had reservations about the expansion of the parking lot, and wanted to see more options from City staff that did not expand, or even reduced the parking lot size and impervious cover, and increased bike parking even more than the current 40 spaces.  They also did not support the ADA path to the historic marker.

In effect, the Commission denied their approval, and put at risk four years of work on the plan, in order to send a message to City staff that they were serious in their objections to a few aspects of the plan.

What’s next? This does not stop the Grounds Improvements – they will go to the City Council on March 7, where the Council will likely set the public hearing on them for March 28.  All other Boards and Commissions have approved the plans, so this is only one rejection, but it is an important commission, and the could be used as a way to derail the entire project.

That’s why we will need you more than ever in the next month!  We will need members and supporters to call, send emails, and attend the Council meetings in support of the plans. Please stay tuned for alerts and updates from us.  Like our Facebook page, if you haven’t already.  And please email the City Council, and let them know you support the Grounds Improvements, and plan to attend the City Council meeting on March 28.

We can’t let this setback put a stop to our years of hard work on this project, and these vital improvements to our beloved pool!

Email and Attend Planning Commission Tues., Feb. 26!

Today, Tuesday, February 26, please email the Planning Commission and ask them to support the General Grounds Improvements to the Pool.  The Planning Commission will consider the plans and decide on a recommendation to City Council.

Their emails are listed below.

Two informative background documents:

After you email, please plan to attend the meeting and sign up in support! The meeting will be at 6:00 pm at City Hall, 301 W. 2nd Street, in City Council Chambers.  Free parking is provided in the underground lot on Lavaca.

Last week, the Codes and Ordinances subcommittee of the Planning Commission voted to move the plan forward to the full Planning Commission, with the condition that City staff come back with options to implement the projects without increasing impervious cover due to the paving and expansion of the parking lot.

The next day, the Environmental Board voted to approve the projects, also with the condition that it not increase impervious cover – suggesting that parking or other impervious cover be removed elsewhere in the Barton Springs Zone.

FBSP strongly supports the idea of no net increase in impervious cover in the Barton Springs Zone.  We urge the Planning Commission to recommend in favor of the plan, with conditions regarding the impervious cover if they deem it necessary.

Thanks for your support!

Dave Anderson (Chair):

Danette Chimenti  (Vice Chair):

Jean Stevens:

Richard Hatfield:

Alfonso Hernandez:

Jeff Jack:

James Norton:

Stephen Oliver:

Brian Roark:

Myron Smith:

Environmental Board Approves Grounds Improvements!

THANK YOU to everyone who emailed the Environmental Board and came to the meeting last night! After extensive presentations from staff to answer questions posed at the last meeting, the Board approved the amendments and variances necessary to do the improvement work at the pool, with a few directions to staff (for example, not to increase impervious cover).

Please join us at the Planning Commission next Tuesday, then it will be on to the City Council on March 28! Stay tuned…

Please Attend Environmental Board Meeting TONIGHT!

Tonight, Wednesday, February 20, is very important in the progress of the General Grounds Improvements to the Pool.  The Environmental Board will give final consideration to the plans, and make a recommendation to City Council.

Please email the members of the Environmental Board TODAY and ask them to recommend the Grounds Improvements for approval. Their emails are listed below.

Equally important: please attend the meeting tonight and sign your name in support of the plan. You don’t have to sign up to speak but please do!

The meeting will take place:

  • 6:00 pm in City Council Chambers
  • City Hall, 301 W. 2nd Street
  • Free parking in City garage on Lavaca

The Board will allow public testimony, and will vote on the plan tonight.  A summary of the proposed improvements can be found here (pdf): Grounds Improvement Project Memo.

FBSP supports the passage of the full plan, but the plan is not all or nothing!

In the interest of letting the much-needed improvements go forward (irrigation and cleaning measures, safe and shady ADA path down to the pool, etc.), we would urge the Environmental Board to recommend that the plan proceed if necessary without the most controversial projects: paving of the South parking lot, and the path to the historical marker.

So whether you only email the Board, or attend the meeting as well, please ask the Board members to:

  • Recommend approval of the Grounds Improvements to City Council, OR
  • Recommend approval of the plans minus the most objected-to projects.

Thanks for your support!

Plan Moving Forward, We Still Need Your Help!

Friends, the General Grounds Improvements are moving forward but we still need your help!  The plan went before the Waterfront Planning Advisory Board on Monday, February 11, and passed with flying colors.  The Board members were very enthusiastic about the upcoming improvements to the pool!

But we need your support at the next stop – the Environmental Board meeting this Wednesday, February 20 (6:00 pm in City Council Chambers).  The Board has already heard testimony and public input, but had a few questions for City staff, and will vote on the plan this week.

Please be there to sign up in support!

If you can’t make it to the meeting, or even if you can, please email the Board members and let them know you support the Grounds Improvements going forward.  For a rundown on the projects involved, click on the following link (pdf):  Grounds Improvement Project Memo.

One of the proposed projects will be a renovation of the Tree Court at the main entrance, removing the barren crushed granite surface, aerating the roots of the heritage trees, adding walkways to direct foot traffic away from critical root zones and planting native plants and flowers.  The Tree Court as it currently looks is in the picture above; the Tree Court as it could be is in the adjacent picture.

These much-needed projects will make the pool more accessible, beautiful, safe and sustainable!  Please email the Environmental Board members below and let them know you want them to vote YES on the Grounds Improvements!

Help Us Help the Pool – Urgent

Friends, the General Grounds Improvements, as approved in the Master Plan, have been delayed by two years, but are finally in the home stretch for approval.  We need your help to get them over the last hurdle!  PLEASE ATTEND as many of the following meetings as you can:

Waterfront Planning Advisory Board
6:00 pm Monday, February 11
Boards and Commissions Room, City Hall
301 W. 2nd Street

Codes and Ordinances Committee
6:00 pm Tuesday, February 19
Location TBA

Environmental Board
6:00 pm Wednesday, February 20
Council Chambers, City Hall
301 W. 2nd Street

Planning Commission
6:00 pm Tuesday, February 26th
Council Chambers, City Hall
301 W. 2nd Street

The Grounds Improvement projects are so important!  Among the work to be done:

  • Planting of over 100 trees
  • An improved irrigation system to keep grass and trees alive
  • A pump to supply water from Barton Springs for irrigation and to clean the pool
  • Run-off control to prevent sediment from polluting salamander habitat
  • ADA access from the south parking lot to the pool for the first time
  • An improved parking area (no more dust bowl!)

For a more detailed description of the projects, click this link to download a PDF: Grounds Improvement Project Memo

The design emphasizes the natural beauty of the pool, using native species and younger trees to preserve the shade canopy as older trees die out.  We can’t let these much-needed projects be delayed any longer!  To find out more about how you can help, email