Heritage Tree slows approval of road project

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Getting around traffic in Central Texas can be tough, but you may be surprised to find out an old tree is causing a hold up for a road extension project in South Austin.

The development code requires that a tree be dead before it can be removed, but a heritage tree between Aldwyche Drive and Lightsey Road is neither dead nor dying. However, the city is arguing the tree is in the way of an important road construction project and needs to go.

Neighbors say they were never notified about the tree being removed and have concerns that chopping down the trees will impact drainage and safety in the area. The city, however, maintains that clearing the tree will actually benefit neighbors and that they will see faster response times in case of an emergency.

The planning commission approved the project about two months ago but neighbors in Barton Oaks hoped they would reconsider that decision. Instead, the commission Tuesday approved moving forward with the plan to remove the tree.

“If they put a road through there, not only is it going to destroy the safety of our neighborhood and impact the safety of the South Lamar neighborhood,” one neighbor said, “it’s just decimating this beautiful natural habitat that’s down there.”

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