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DS denies variance request for property

By Megan Wehring

DRIPPING SPRINGS – Upon recommendations from the city staff and Planning & Zoning Commission, a request for a pool on a property in the extraterritorial jurisdiction was turned down by the Dripping Springs Board of Adjustment.

The property owner submitted a variance request, with a permit for a pool, for a single-family 8,750 square-foot property in the Headwaters Development at Barton Creek. The applicant applied for and was granted an administrative pool encroachment variance to allow the pool to be within the building setback. 

This property is subject to the Headwaters Development Agreement – limiting the impervious cover to be 50% (4,375 square feet) on residential lots yet the applicant requested 52% (4,620 square feet) impervious cover. This is a 2.8% deficit (approximately 245 square feet). 

“The applicant can reduce the pool size by about 39% and still meet the impervious cover requirement,” said Tory Carpenter, Senior Planner. “In fact, we have some pools in the area of smaller size that people were able to build and still meet the impervious cover requirement.”

Impervious covers include all man-made improvements which prevent the infiltration of water into the natural soil, or prevent the migration of the infiltration as base flow, according to the Dripping Springs Code of Ordinance. This can include roads, driveways, parkways, buildings, sidewalks and swimming pool water surface areas. 

“While it is a modest increase that they are requesting,” said Mim James, P&Z Chair, “I think we have to be really careful because we are probably going to see more requests for these pool installations in high-density areas.”

The applicant was not present at the board of adjustment/city council and P&Z meetings. But, they did provide a description of the reason for their request.

• A pool is a reasonable accessory for a single-family residence and common development in the city of Dripping Springs. 

• The property has ample room in the backyard to hold a swimming pool/spa and there is an existing wall that can act as an erosion control to protect the surrounding land. 

• The extra 2% of impervious cover caused by surface water will not affect the property. 

• The pool and spa will be enclosed in the backyard, protected from the public by existing wood fencing and retaining walls. 

• We are not proposing to alter any existing structures. 

• The construction of the pool within this area would simply change the use of the portion of the lot, from a grass surface to a pool.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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