The Upper Onion Creek project area is located in the Onion Creek Neighborhood near Pinehurst Drive and Wild Dunes Drive. A feasibility study completed in 2017 recommended buyouts for 138 houses in this area.
We have divided the houses into three groups.
First is the Recovery Buyout group. In 2017, the Austin City Council directed us to offer buyouts to 10 homeowners. The houses were selected based on flood risk and date of ownership. We have completed these buyouts with nine homeowners choosing to participate. All nine houses have been demolished.
The remaining houses are divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2 based on flood risk. Phase 1 consists of 50 houses and was approved by the Austin City Council on March 22, 2018. We have contacted all the property owners to begin the buyout process. As of December 3, 2018, we have made 44 offers and 37 have been accepted. We have closed on 18 of those properties and demolished five.
Phase 2 consists of approximately 78 houses and has not yet been fully approved by the Austin City Council. We plan to budget funds each year, beginning in 2019, for these buyouts. In addition, we are currently working on a plan to determine the amount of funding from the 2018 bond that could be allocated to Phase 2 of the project.
Participation in these buyouts is optional.
Note that Upper Onion Creek is a bit of a misnomer. The area is the upstream area of Onion Creek within the City of Austin. However, when looking at the entirety of Onion Creek watershed, the area is in the lower third of the creek. This is partly why the area is subject to severe flooding, given a heavy enough rainfall.
The maps below show the Phase 1 buyouts in reds and the Phase 2 buyouts in blues. The top map shows the Pinehurst Drive area and the bottom map shows the Wild Dunes area.
The City of Austin will test the houses for asbestos, abate any asbestos found and then demolish them. We will remove the foundations, walkways and driveways to the edge of the right of way. We leave the driveway approaches in places. Utility connections will be terminated and capped. The lots will be regraded and revegetated.
What Happens to the Buyout Area
The land will be designated for open space in perpetuity. In the short-term, we will add the properties to our vegetation control schedule and mow them six times a year during the growing season. Long-term, we will work with the neighborhood to develop options and plans for the future. The options may include nature trails, community gardens, wildflower meadows and open space for the neighborhood to enjoy.