Subdivisions are platted (planned & drawn-out) to ensure they are in compliance with Texas state law. A recent story in the Advertiser by Brandon Mulder drew interest because it revealed that significant changes had been made to a nearby subdivision from what was the original, generous plan.


Double Eagle Ranch on Old 71 in Cedar Creek was a beautiful 680 acres of woods and scenery between the road and the Colorado River. Two other subdivisions are also on Old 71: Colorado Crossing and The Forest at Colorado Crossing. (Seems as though crossings are very popular these days.) The former’s lots sizes vary but are generally upwards of 2-4 acres, while the latter has 2-acre lots.


Double Eagle Ranch was proposed as a 2-acre lot subdivision, but that has obviously changed. The lots at the entrance of Double Eagle Ranch are large, but are apparent that the lot size average has become much smaller.


If one reviews the changes made to the original plat that was approved some time ago, every subsequent change made reduces the size of individual lots, thus generating more revenue for the developer.


This seems to be a common occurrence in each section of Double Eagle Ranch, however, in this latest proposal more than 1,000 lots are planned for the 680 acres. Taking out necessary land for roads and infrastructure, if every lot were the same size, every lot will be under 2/3 of an acre. If the lots right off Old 71 are between 1-2 acres, then the lots in the back of the development will likely be less than a half-acre. Reducing the size of the lots and creating more of them, makes more money for the developers.


The lot sizes on the plat map for the area at the farthest reach of this latest section of Double Eagle Ranch currently before the County Commissioner’s Court are small indeed. This seems to be common occurrence for each section of Double Eagle Ranch as changes are made.


How will this high-density development affect the rest of the Old 71 neighborhood? How will this high-density development affect the taxpayers of Bastrop County? The tax revenue is very enticing, but what are the costs in schools, traffic, water usage and our general quality of life?


It is already clear that the traffic onto and off Texas 71 from either end of Old 71 is problematic, especially during rush hour. Drivers who are trying to enter Texas 71 heading to Austin in the morning face a solid rush of traffic with few breaks for entry onto the highway. For the driver wishing to turn left toward Bastrop, good luck getting through that speeding river of vehicles. Toss in a few construction vehicles and cement trucks traveling at 70 mph and the mess gets even larger.


So, how many homes will be built as part of this recent development? In addition to those already planned and under construction, the county is considering approval of another thousand.


Old 71 cannot handle the number of traffic movements this population will produce. For planning purposes the Institute of Traffic Engineers uses 10 trips per day per single family home. That’s more than 10,000 trips per day at the two precarious unsignaled intersections with Texas 71.


It seems odd that Judge Paul Pape would express such enthusiasm for the tax revenue brought by the added homes as if that alone is the goal. Quote from the Advertiser’s story: “This is a new opportunity for Bastrop County. I think all of us are aware that the school district announced a significant bond issue that will be voted on in May,” Pape said, referring to the $140 million bond proposition the school district announced last month.


The gross tax revenue is the least important part of this story. Much more important is the stress to infrastructure, costs to school and county services, as well as the degradation of our quality of life, not to mention the loss of our rural lifestyle.