84° F Friday, July 28, 2017

Dave DeOme

Lakeway Mayor

Around Lakeway

The “buzz” this month in Lakeway has to be the reopening of the old “Exxon” service station at the corner of Lakeway Boulevard and Lohmans Crossing Road.

It has been almost three years (December 2009) since the station closed at the height of the financial meltdown. Consequently, there were few interested buyers.

None of the buyers who initially approached the city to review permit application procedures had an interest in continuing with the full-service gas station business model.

In fact, the city was repeatedly told that the full-service station model was obsolete and that we needed to be willing to accept alternative models. The most often proposed alternative model was a high-traffic convenience store with high-volume gasoline sales and no automobile maintenance service.

The City Council was concerned that such a high traffic business model would not be appropriate for an “interior” Lakeway location. Such a proposal would have required a special use permit from the city.

The city was never willing to grant a permit for such an intense use. One company actually moved its application through the process and made a presentation to the Zoning and Planning Commission. The business plan presented by the applicant called for one vehicle to be either entering or leaving the business every 45 seconds. ZAPCO voted the proposal down.

The property has recently been bought by a family-owned company and will soon be reopened as Lakeway Texaco. Ross Newberry will be running the station. The family also runs two other neighborhood service stations in Austin. One is in Tarrytown and the other is on Bee Cave Road.

The station had been closed so long that Lakeway’s ordinances required Ross to reapply for permission to operate a gasoline station in that neighborhood location. At the public hearings before ZAPCO and City Council, Mr. Newberry outlined his business plan.

The station will be rebranded as a Texaco station. He will be providing a full slate of automobile maintenance services including, if necessary, tire and battery repair at a Lakeway resident’s home.

When was the last time you went to a station with a full-service pump? Well, Mr. Newberry will have a “full-service” pump. You will also be able to pump gas yourself if you wish. Mr. Newberry will also be adding an automated “brushless” car wash.

Over the last three years, the city of Lakeway has encouraged all prospective parties that were interested in purchasing the station to provide a full service similar to that provided by the prior management.

Mr. Newberry is, I believe, committed to providing that same level of unique Lakeway neighborly service.

In fact, when the City Council voted, unanimously, in favor of a special use permit for Lakeway Texaco, the audience erupted in applause. I had never heard applause before for an affirmative vote on a permit application.

The new gasoline tanks were set in the ground Nov. 6, and all the new concrete pads should have been poured by Nov. 19. Mr. Newberry plans to be opened the week after Thanksgiving.

Ross, I think all the residents of Lakeway will join me in wishing you a warm welcome and much success in your new venture.
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