Lakeway City Council voted Tuesday night to form a committee to address violations at Lakeway Airpark.
The new committee, which will report to council, is being formed in place of a previously proposed panel that would have included Mayor Tom Kilgore and three Airpark representatives.
City Manager Julie Oakley said the previous proposal violated city ordinances because it would have allowed the airpark to choose committee members when responsibility for appointing members rests with the mayor and city council.
Officials said the committee’s goal was to increase safety and end prohibited activities at the airpark, including commercial flights, rentals and primary flight instruction.
According to its website, the Lakeway Airpark is an unmanned facility open seven days a week. Takeoffs and landings are not permitted at night, and commercial operations are not permitted. It is in a residential part of town.
The formation of the committee follows several complaints from residents about alleged violations at the airpark. Violations included the presence of commercial air traffic, flights between sunset and sunrise, set landings and low passes, which have been documented in police reports between 2016 and 2021.
The newly formed committee will have seven members, each nominated by a board member and voted on by the full body. The committee should last indefinitely until violations at the airpark are controlled.
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Board members agreed that tackling airpark violations is a priority, and Kilgore said commercial flights and flight instructions take place every day at Lakeway against regulations.
Community members who spoke at the meeting expressed frustration with the committee structure originally proposed by Kilgore and urged the mayor to stay off this committee in the future.
Others said it’s hard to tell which flights are commercial.
Matt Sherman, a Lakeway resident and pilot, questioned the board’s data and said airpark management was enforcing city orders in accordance with airport statutes and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Mike Torbett, president of Lakeway Airpark, said he supports the idea of a collaborative approach to addressing violations with board members.
“Let’s talk about solving our problems instead of fighting on the internet,” he said. “Most disagreements can be resolved by talking, not by creating things in a vacuum.”
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Council encouraged participants and community members to submit an online application to join the committee as soon as possible on the city’s website. There is no official deadline for volunteer applications, but the board plans to start making decisions on committee members on March 15.
The board also approved a Special Use Permit for XYZ Molecular Diagnostic Lab Consulting at Lake Oak Estates on Cavalier Canyon Drive for cancer research and diagnostics after co-founder Dr. Keqin Gregg answered previous questions. on its management of hazardous waste.
Council members also approved a development agreement for the East Side Landings neighborhood after developers adjusted their engineering plans to make three entrances – Bow Cross Point, Flint Rock Road and Serene Hills Drive – feasible and safe.
At the meeting, Kilgore also officially swore in Lakeway’s new police chief, Glen Koen, who took office in November. He replaces Todd Radford, who resigned in early June.
Koen is a graduate of Round Rock High School and the University of Texas and was valedictorian at West Point Leadership Academy. He has served in a variety of law enforcement positions at UT over the past two decades, including Patrol Officer, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Inspector, and Academy Commander.