Tuesday, January 31, 2006


When we moved in a year ago, if I remember correctly, we were told SBC didn't have access to S.O. We went with Time Warner and RoadRunner. We didn't have a choice. But now I wonder if anything has changed in the new partnership?

Does anyone have hard wired multi-lines? Or service from some other company?

I DO have both fax and phone on the same Roadrunner line - it took some doing, but it works fine. A resident has raised the question anew so let me put it out there for all - are we forced into phones with Time Warner or is there another option now?

(Of course there's always cell service, but that doesn't work for Fax, does it?)

Monday, January 30, 2006


This is the Preserve - the one across 71, not the Barton Creek Preserve at the back of the east end of S.O.

From: Lori Bailes [mailto:lbailes@Austin.rr.com]


Early Friday evening, a white male in a car attempted to abduct Ben Savrick between Marilyn and Bill Stephens' house and John Borek's house on Texas Wildlife Trail. The man told Benjamin that his father had been injured and that Benjamin had to go with him. Ben knew this man was up to no good and shouted "No" to the man and ran home to tell his parents. Thank heavens Ben knew exactly what to do.


Comment: This was initially confusing due to the name-alike Barton Creek Preserve. Still, with the influx of small children into S.O. as new families join us, we all should be aware of who we see on our grounds. Hopefully our guards will do their part is helping preserve the safety and security of our slice of life.


Maybe there are layers of approval necessary. Maybe the printer ran out of ink. Our newsletter, anticipated to mail Friday, has not yet arrived at the wasp-nest mailboxes.

I am amazed at the bad job of communication Discovery Land is doing. Since communication is, in its own way, the most 'visible' form of their stewardship, wouldn't you think that would work best for them?

Why not use this blog? No printing, no mailing, no design necessary. An open avenue of communication: to supplement or compliment what we have now, or what is in the works.

Now, with even more anticipation, the newsletter will have to live up to some pretty high expectations.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Texas Snowman

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I count more than a dozen homes on the east side close to being finished. If you find yourself with new neighbors, you might mention this blog to them.

At some point we are going to have to deal with driving slower, too, as more kids and dogs take to the streets. There is at least one bad blind spot on Paraiso as it crosses Musket Rim.


The quarterly newsletter is imminent. Watch for it in your mail.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lori Bales comments

SO has agreed to allow a resident on the board. Look for newsletter.

Although, most of our energy was put into voicing our frustrations... did you see what they had planned in regards to the swimming hole/pool. In 18 months, I feel certain that we are all going to be glad that we choose Spanish Oaks.

Security is a huge expense, please take the time to report on them. Let Pam know if you notice working hours not be adhered to, construction workers coming in through the resident gate, etc. Stop and tell the guard if someone is trying to slip in behind you. Let the guards know you are watching them. If you see one of them going above and beyond, report it. Let us not just become a bunch of complainers.

HOA is not paying for the landscape improvements, only the maintanence.

They are working on irrigation issues.

Hopefully with someone on the board we can be assured that the reserve is being used properly and not covering costs that should be developing costs.

They would not commit to a ceiling on the assessments. You have to give them credit for not giving us the answer we wanted -- I can assure you that 6 months ago we would have gotten an answer.

If you have a concern please let it be heard.

... Lori Bales


If you have any, we would love to include them in letters to our state reps. Please e me at rwood24@Austin.rr.com and include them. Thanks!

Friday, January 13, 2006


Re: Spanish Oaks Club Boulevard at 71 - we don't want to see anyone hurt there in this dangerous intersection. It will take all our efforts to motivate the politicians to help us.

Districts for ZIP Code 78738

Texas U.S. Representative

Phone: (202) 225-4236
State District Offices

E mail Lamar Smith

5608 Parkcrest Dr., Ste. 260
Austin, TX 78731
(512) 402-9743

Texas State Senator

Capitol Office: CAP 3E.18
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0114
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
District Address: P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711
District Phone: (512) 463-0114
State District Offices


Texas State Representative

Capitol Office: EXT E2.212
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0652
District Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Phone: (512) 463-0652


Thursday, January 12, 2006


Pre-meet socialization.

A good turnout - standing room only. 3 of the 4 directors plus Pam Chandler (HOA manager) were present, a quorum. One director was missing due to a new baby in the house. Home and lot owners were represented.

Last year's unaudited numbers were reviewed.

Questions were raised about the increased cost of the security line. That was attributed to increased "coverage" - more hours of duty, plus the roving guard who is charged with overseeing construction workers on site, and helping to insure they leave on schedule at day's end.

There will soon be E mail availability to both guard shacks and also Pam (and she'll also see all E mails to the guards.) Several homeowners felt the guards were too lax. Others felt they had improved over the last set, which were workers from the golf club and not part of a security company. Pam asked that when someone sees a problem or is dissatisfied with the security that they contact her.

Forms were handed out to list regular visitors so they can tighten the flow at the gate.

Some discussion took place about the raised assessment with no representation on the board. The board won't be handed over to be run by residents till the last lot is sold (projection: 4 years. About 260 to go.) A point was raised that there is nothing to prohibit the board from including a homeowner representative.

The dangerous intersection at the east entrance and 71 was discussed. It was said the best thing we can all do is contact our legislators and let them know our concerns. Within a few days I will post the contacts here. Discovery is trying to figure out other possible configurations.

Issues to hurdle: speed limit, rear ender possibilities coming east over the hill (possibly hitting the rearmost car waiting for a new light to turn.) Barton creek bridge apparently cannot be widened due to environmental concerns.

There will be apartments built (not affiliated with S.O. between Lowes and the east entrance.) 293 units. I believe ground is about to break on that.

The rear road WITHIN Spanish Oaks, connecting the East and West portions will be closed till construction is complete - about a year and a half... Liabilities preclude its use till complete, so both sides' gates will be locked. When completed, it will also access a "fishing camp" and S.O. swimming pool (for all residents) and pavilion, fire pits and amenities, approximately halfway along the east-west road on a beautiful point overlooking the preserve.

The new west Guard gate will be complete in about 90 days and will be placed AFTER the Tennis Academy. Further, construction traffic will be halted and processed farther back, so residents won't have to wait for it to clear.

The sales office will move to the west side in February and will be outside the west gate.

There is no plan yet to offer social memberships to the Golf Club (I understand it is a requirement for new buy-ins.) It is being considered.

Terri raised the point of heretofore weak communication from Discovery Land and I later offered this blog as a mechanism by which they could communicate beyond the quarterly newsletters (one of which is imminent.)

Discovery revealed some of the plans for the various parks within the development and pledged that we'll soon see increased landscaping in the public areas.
Lori Bailes writes:

The 4 Main Points of last nights meeting seemed to be:

1) We need to have a resident on the board. It seemed like the board was open to possibly allowing this.

2) The safety at East entrance. There is not going to be a quick fix for this. We need to make noise to our local Representatives, the Environmentalists and anybody else that could possibly help us with this situation. Please don't be misled into believing there will be a light there, chances are there will never be a light at "that" East entrance. The best we are going to do anytime in the near-term (3 years) is to get the speed limit reduced. Because of the hill, putting a light there could cause more accidents. In order to get a turn lane we would need to fight the environmentalists on allowing the bridge over the creek to be widened. Even if they allowed that to happen, it would be 2 years before we would see the end result. We may have better luck getting Spanish Oaks to relocate the East entrance.

3) Security represents 47% of our total expenditures. The security personnel need to know that we are watching them. They are accustomed to answering mostly to the sales office and it is all of our responsibility to make sure they realize that the residents are who they are here for. Any problems or concerns need to be brought to Pam Chandler's attention.

4) Costs of water represented 18% of our total costs last year. This cost is only going to go up with the addition of more landscaping. Evaluating our options on how/where to get the irrigation water in the future could save us huge amounts of money down the road.

Please think about what issues are most important to you and how you might want to get involved.

Lori Bailes

If you think of it, let your neighbors know about this blog! It gets a good number of hits every day, but I'd hate to have some new folks miss it for keeping up on what affects our community.

This is YOUR blog. You may contribute two ways - post a comment. Or E mail me to POST a post at rwood24@Austin.rr.com (more visible.) As administrator I must approve and input your contribution to keep inappropriate comments out.

Notice the links on the right column to Bee Cave news, weather, etc.

Bob Wood


The annual meeting is tonight, January 12th, at 7PM in unit #4 of Verde Trails... across from the office.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Lori and Greg Bailes
16009 Pontevedra Place
Austin, TX 78738

January 11, 2006

Dear Spanish Oaks Owners’ Association:

It took us a year to settle on what neighborhood we would raise our family in. I cannot tell you how many days we spent driving around, analyzing things and talking to people. What drew us to Spanish Oaks, and ultimately convinced us to settle here, was the idea of an upscale neighborhood where quality was more important than quantity. We liked the idea of homes having “a quiet, orderly, low scale presence and character, that blends into the landscape.” We liked the idea of buffers between homes, that would allow us to have privacy, and to enjoy nature.

Some of our vision has already been lost through the years as the “guidelines” were sacrificed for the sake of making sales. Even though the square footage maximums have been greatly increased, we are hoping that some of the other things that were going to make this a unique neighborhood will prevail.

When we moved in, in July of 2003, we still believed that the hike and bike trail would be completed soon, the park on Celanova was going to be more than just an open area, and yes the back road to the club would be opening any day – after all they did tell us that it would be open before anyone moved in and we did just move in. We even thought the now “Loews” shopping center was going to be cobblestone streets with boutique style shopping and dining with some professional offices above them. We’ve had our rude awakening and life goes on.

In regards to the letter dated January 3, 2006, please note the following questions and comments:

1) Who is on the Board of Directors? When will there be re-elections? How are our “the homeowners” best interests being kept in mind?

2) The increase in assessments to $2,400/year, represents a 267% increase from our original assessments of $900/year. Although we realized they would inevitably go up, we thought that we would see some benefits as they increased. Our idea of benefits would be community areas such as parks, pools or anything else that would make us a “real” community.

3) The last increase was said to have been mostly for the “gate-keeper.” That did not add much benefit for us homeowners as we were just paying for someone to open the gate and let whomever in. This should have been a “sales” expense as the gate-keeper was obviously here more to pinpoint potential buyers.

4) We appreciate the improvement in the access control to Spanish Oaks. However, unless the security guards are willing to stay off their bottoms, it is still very easy for someone to slip in behind a resident.

5) The roving patrol is a great idea for keeping the construction workers in line. However, when out walking children in the street, beware of the speeding roving patrol officer. They’ve also been known to “burn rubber.” Perhaps that cost should be absorbed by either the developer or the builders since it is just to keep the construction workers in line.

6) We are assuming that the increase in assessments is to cover the maintenance on the landscape improvements – not the actual improvements themselves? The letter was a little misleading. Typically landscape improvements would either be a development cost or a special assessment that was voted on.

7) An area that the new declarant can cut back on is water costs. For years, I have complained about the sprinkler system being on in one zone or another for hours on end. I have repeatedly been told that it was a very sophisticated system and that they were working on it. I hope that it has been resolved. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your money getting… washed away. Then having to watch the grass turn an ugly pale shade of yellow from being over watered.

8) In regards to the reserve, hopefully we will not be paying for the damage caused by and the wear and tear from the construction workers.

9) What is going to be the ceiling on our assessments?

It is great that all these wonderful things are “going” to happen in this neighborhood, but please don’t tell me how they are going to increase our property value. Our intentions were to settle here for good, not just make an investment. We’ve got a lot more invested here than just money.


Lori and Greg Bailes

Note: Lori asked that I post this.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Just received my first letter from the Declarant, Spanish Oaks, L.P. aka Discovery Land Company. It's no longer a rumor. Check your wallet. Guess they had to make the announcement before the annual meeting. I'm sure they will walk us through the numbers on the 12th Of Never.

Do you now feel more secure by having a roving patrol officer around the development during construction hours? Who is this serving? What is his job description? Who and what is he protecting?

Landscaping improvements: Isn't this a developer responsibility?. If the original landscaping wasn't good enough to begin with why does the association have to ante up?

Looks like the developer has deeded all the common areas to the association. Repairs: Who is responsible for damage and wear to the streets caused by construction vehicles? Check the roundabout curbing and trenched landscaping.

No reserve established for as long as the association has been created.........Well Hello!!!!!!!! Has anyone bothered to ask for the Annual Report?

Declarant will contribute to the reserve fund in 2006 in either funds and or repair to the Common Areas........ Why do they feel compelled to do so? What will be the amount of their contribution? Make the contribution cash to the reserve not in kind services.

These surely are exciting times.

--- Anonymous homeowner


It will be interesting to see how much participation in the association's business Discovery Land will give its dues paying HOA members.

The association will have a developer controlled board until they decide to turn it over to the association members. That usually comes soon after the last lot is sold. What interest does DL maintain with their other properties on an on going basis?

The developer should begin preparing the residents to be in the position to manage the association when that time comes by having trained and competent residents on the board. The resident members must have representatives with strong financial and legal backgrounds. Running an association is a business first with social requirements a distant second.

We need to determine how DL has handled the association structure with their other properties.

Comparing other DL properties is not necessarily an accurate comparison. DL should have a long range plan that shows what projected association expenses will be 3-5 years out.

We need to learn when the common areas including the roads, gate house and other amenities are deeded over to the association.

Developers have taken it on themselves to quit claim their responsibilities to the association without notice. For example roads: It is apparent that the existing roads will need repair as the result of poor initial installation, damage caused by construction traffic, and the addition of excavation to upgrade utilities. Will the developer take the responsibility of turning the roads over to the association in good condition?

The association needs resident representation. Currently we have taxation without representation.

The developer has elected to provide 24 hour guard service at two entrances. This expense is one of the largest expense items for the association. Is this a self serving marketing ploy? Is the developer covering his portion of the costs?

The developer has elected to plant a drought tolerant grass that is being watered and mowed to excess. If one hasn't reviewed the past plan and actual expense for water you may be surprised.

--- This homeowner has chosen to remain anonymous.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Tim Sabo (homeowner) writes:

What's up with the homeowner's association raising the monthly fee $50/month?
Let's get some chatter going about this on the site so we can address as a group at the 1/12 meeting.

Shouldn't this be discussed/voted on before they do it?
Is there a homeowner on the committee?

We need to find out what DISCOVERY LAND charges homeowners at other facilities. (VAQUERO in Dallas,etc)

My concern is: they will raise this fee proportional with the number of houses in the community, i.e...40 houses = $2400/year but when community is complete.....400 houses = $24,000/year.

Some of these upscale communities charge rates in this zone.

Tim reports:
-----Original Message-----
From: Phoebe Dill [mailto:pdill@discoverylandco.com]
Sent: Sun 1/8/2006 11:28 AM
To: Tim Sabo
Subject: Vaquero HOA dues

Dear Tim,

In answer to your question, Vaquero Homeowners dues are $1340 paid
semi-annually for all homeowners. People who live in the Village Homes pay
an additional $3600 a year.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.


Phoebe Dill
Vaquero - Discovery Land Company
1405 Fountain Grass Court
Westlake, TX 76262
(817) 430-6600
FAX (817) 430-6601

Thursday, January 05, 2006


The meeting was to discuss plans for 71 between 2244 (Bee caves Road) and 620. As such, there was no inclusion of our East entrance traffic light (possibility.)

One element that was especially interesting to see was the proposed bypass between 2244 and 620, which would go from approximately the Tire Store on 2244 to approximately Busters/VFW on 620. This bypass should help relieve the traffic at the intersections of 2244 and 620 at 71. It would include signals at both ends. I took some pictures of the map and if they are usable will post tomorrow.

That bypass will front the new shopping center to be built back there.

From tonight's meeting:

The proposed improvements (Summer 2006 to Spring 2007) on SH71 would include the addition of one through lane in each direction, deceleration lanes, turn lanes, a raised median from 620 to 2244, and correction of the vertical curve on 71 and 620 to meet the 45 mph design speed. One raised median opening on 71 is proposed within the project limits that would provide access to the central entrance drive to the Hill Country Galleria north of 71, and the central entrance drive to the Shops at the Galleria located south of 71. The raised median opening on 71 is roughly equidistant from 2244 and 620, and is located at a signalized intersection. Turn lane and shoulder additions are proposed on 620 and 2244. Additionally, curb and gutter would be added to 620 within the proposed project limits.

Above shows BOTH shopping centers if you look carefully, on the south (now) and north (soon) sides of 71 - Note the bypass toward the top of the north shopping center! It goes from 2244 to 620

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


You should receive your letter today, January 4th. The meeting is as listed below.