Mayor Tom Kilgore was initially contacted in September 2021 by representatives of two airpark neighbors. Around that time, Mayor Kilgore received a detailed report on ordinance violations dating back to 2016. The report was compiled from public records and indicated that there were multiple violations of the prohibition on operations between sunset and sunrise.
The City of Lakeway (City) began due diligence of the airpark, it’s operations, and community complaints. The result of this work was a determination that while the sunset to sunrise provision was violated, the violations were not predictable, sporadic and difficult to enforce under the standards.
To the surprise of the mayor and staff, there were a number of observed activities at the airpark which were clear violations of 2010 District AV zoning. Primary Flight Instruction was being offered. Airplanes were available for rent. Commercial air traffic (Charter Flight) was routinely occurring at the airpark. Each of these activities introduces incremental risk factors to the airpark and community. None of these activities are permitted under the current ordinance, approved in 2010. In addition to these commercial activities, City officials observed the airpark's fueling operations and reviewed its environmental controls. Staff discovered that multiple environmental permits had lapsed or were missing.
On November 23, 2021, Mayor Kilgore personally observed an aircraft violating the operational prohibition on landings after sunset. This information was sent to the Airpark Board President with a request to understand how the airpark would deal with a clear violation. Over the next several days, information was exchanged in a number of cordial emails. The bottom line was that the airpark responded that enforcement was solely a city responsibility. Due to the airpark's refusal to assist in addressing clear violations of the reasonable and necessary restriction on take-offs and landings once the sun has set, the City began exploring other methods of enforcement that do not directly involve Lakeway Police Department or Code Compliance officers trying to deliver citations to pilots who violate the Ordinance.
Based on the Airpark’s response, the City began drafting an update to the 2010 AV Zoning district. The goal of the draft was to increase the safety of the community, the protection of the environment, and to maintain the airpark for its residents and local pilots. The draft would explicitly end commercial flights, rentals and primary flight instruction.
The draft was published to the community on December 30, 2021 for a meeting scheduled on January 4, 2022. The item was postponed at the request of the mayor and staff over an unresolved legal question. The City of Lakeway Zoning and Planning Commission was scheduled to review Section 30.03.016 District AV (Aviation) today, February 2, 2022. This review was postponed due to an omission in our notification process. Mayor Kilgore requested the delay in order to assure all interested parties had the opportunity to participate in the process.
“Our concerns are solely for the safety of the community, the protection of the environment, and maintaining the property rights of the airpark residents and local pilot community,” said Mayor Kilgore. “As mayor, I am grateful for the delay. It gives us time to work with the community. Since the December 30, 2021 publication of the draft, we have received hundreds of comments and emails on the issue. As a result of that citizen input we were prepared to make four clarifications to the draft. Drafting ordinances or other legislation is an open process in this administration, nothing is predetermined in advance of a public hearing with citizen input.”
Therefore, Mayor Kilgore is asking the community (airpark, pilots, neighbors, any interested party) to work with the City on improving the draft with the goal of enhancing safety, ending violations, and operating in accordance with the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. You can come to city hall, or the staff and mayor will travel to meet with you. Join us and be a part of the solution.
Finally, with so much misinformation circulating, we encourage all interested parties to review the facts, confirm any concerns with the city staff or mayor, and develop an informed view.
Mayor Kilgore welcomes your feedback and questions. His email is [email protected] and phone number at city hall is (512) 314-7500.