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24 wilcosun.com

©2015 Williamson County Sun

The Sun makes endorsements Who we recommend in primary races Page 8A

Vol. 41 No. 37






FEBRUARY 14, 2016

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Affordable housing ignites debate

More than 200 people pack council chambers for meeting

B y M A T T L O E S C H M A N

Georgetown citizens poured into city coun-

cil chambers Tuesday to debate the pros and

cons of affordable housing.

With three developers looking tobuildwork

force housing along the Williams Drive corri-

dor if they obtain state funding, the George-

town City Council was asked to approve res-

olutions of support allowing the developers

to continue seeking housing credits from the

Texas Department of Housing andCommuni-

ty Affairs.

Following more than two hours of dis-

cussion, the council voted 4-3 to approve the

resolution of support for Kaia Pointe, a poten-

tial 102-unit development near 4800 Williams

Drive. Councilmen Tommy Gonzalez and

Keith Brainard along with Councilwomen

Anna Eby and Rachael Jonrowe voted in fa-

vorwhileCouncilmenJohnHesser, TyGipson

and Steve Fought voted against.

“I’m just wondering why we are seeing this

now with our backs against the wall on the

timeline,” Councilman Gipson said.

Texas law requires the governing body of

communities that have more than twice the

state average of housing tax credit units per

capita to pass a resolution supporting the al-

location of housing tax credits to a proposed


Georgetown Housing Coordinator Jennifer

Bills, who provided background information

on all three potential developments, said the

rules for this round of funding did not come

out until December, leaving developers scram-

bling before the March 1 deadline to apply for

state funding.

And even with council’s blessing, final ap-

proval on each of the three projects rests with

the state-level board.Georgetowncouldendup

withnone, one, two or all three of the projects,

although Ms. Bills said getting even two ap-

provalswouldbe “virtually impossible” based

on thenumber of projects proposedacross the


The other twopotential projects—LiveOak

Apartments (108 units) at 4121 Williams Drive

and Merritt Heritage Apartments (220 senior

units) alongWilliams nearWoodlake Drive—

got 5-2 approvals of support from the council.

Only Councilman Hesser changed his vote

compared to the Kaia Pointe agenda item.

The resolution approvals give added points

to the developers’ applications for state fund-

ing. The TDHCAwill decide on funding recip-

ients later in the year.

Megan Lasch of Kaia Pointe Development

told attendees that residents of their proposed

community would be required to go through

background checks before living there. Offi-

cials with the company believe the addition

of 102 units would add 678 average daily trips

along theWilliams corridor.

“The question is whether Georgetown

wants affordable housing,” Ms. Lasch said.

Time to vote

The primary election is here.

Residents have the chance

to select who they want

as their Republican and

Democratic nominees in

national, state and local races.

Early voting starts Tuesday and

runs through February 26. The

primary election day is March 1.

Prepare for visiting the

ballot box by reading the

candidates’ answers to why

you should vote for them on

pages 3A, 4A and 5A. More

candidate questionnaires will

be published Wednesday. Also,

check out who we endorse on

page 8A.

To find an early voting

location, visit the county’s


www.wilco.org, or

call 512-943-1630. Election Day

for the general election is

November 8.

Governor Greg Abbott takes the stage Tuesday evening at the Reagan Dinner,

the Williamson County Republican Club’s major fund raiser of the year.

Joyce May

The chase is on!

Children take off in the Kids’ Fun Run in downtown Georgetown during the Cupid’s Chase event February 6. The Fun Run, which began at 7:30 a.m., preceded the main event, a 5K road race. This year’s Cupid’s Chase drew more than 600 participants. The race began on the Square and finished at the Bark Park on Holly Street. See more photos on 6A.

Andy Sharp

Zika virus

scare sparks


B y J O Y C E M A Y

TheWilliamson County and Cities

Health District altered its “Fight the

Bite” mosquito awareness initiative

because, unlike the species that car-

ries the deadly West Nile virus, the

insects that carry the Zika and chi-

kungunya viruses are likely to strike

any time of day.

“The mosquito that carries West

Nile is primarily a dawn and dusk

biter,” Deborah Marlow, director of

environmental health services for

the health district saidMonday.

But “the mosquito that carries the

Zika and chikungunya, they bite all

day long,” she said.

The Zika virus has been making

headlines after an outbreak in Brazil

sparked concerns of a potential link

with a serious birth defect called mi-

crocephaly and cases of Zika began

popping up in the United States.

Thirty-five travel-related cases

had been reported in the U.S. as

of Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for

Governor headlines GOP’s big night

B y J O Y C E M A Y

Before a full house of Williamson

County Republicans Tuesday, Gover-

nor Greg Abbott applauded what he

labeled “the most successful and the

most conservative legislative session

ever” and laid out his plan for the


GovernorAbbott delivered thekey-

note address to a sold-out crowd of

500 people gathered in the Sun City

Ballroom for this year’s Reagan Din-

ner, which pays tribute to President

Ronald Reagan.

The event serves as theWilliamson

County Republican Party’s major

fundraiser each year. Proceeds pay

for headquarter operations and voter

outreach efforts.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don

Willett emceed the event and drew

strong parallels between the nation’s

40th president and Texas’ 48th gover-


“Like Ronald Reagan, Greg Abbott

is a happy warrior who believes un-

shakably in constitutionally limited

government,” JusticeWillett said.

“Governor Abbott understands

that the most sure-fired way to make

America great again is to make

America more like Texas.”

The governor attributed Texas’

strong economic standing in the

country to its “focusing on pocket-

book issues.”

“We knewduring the course of the

session a year ago what was coming

down the pipe-waywith regard to the

decrease in the price of oil,” the gov-

ernor said.

“So wisely, we put aside $10 billion

in a rainy day fund and another $4

billion in our checking account so

that we would be able to weather the

short-term downturn in oil, which

we have seen in every single decade

of my life.”

Comparing crumbling infrastruc-

ture seen elsewhere across America,

Governor Abbott praised lawmakers

for what he called a strategic invest-

ment in transportation.

“If you were born in Williamson

County, therewas construction going

on I-35. When you pass away, there

will be constructiongoing on I-35,”he

said, drawing laughter and applause

from the crowd.

He also touted new measures

passed last session to step up border

security as well as victories for gun

rights advocates and the de-funding

of Planned Parenthood.

The governor laid out his vision

for the next legislative session, which

begins in January 2017. Among the

measures he plans to push are a ban

on so-called sanctuary cities in Texas

and a ban on the sale of fetal tissue.

Calling out 83, 80, 80 and 78, Jus-

tice Willett quizzed attendees on the

numbers’ significance before reveal-

ing that they are the ages of the U.S.

Supreme Court’s four oldest justices.

His point was to underscore what

is riding on this year’s presidential


No confirmed

cases in WilCo

Continued on 10A


he question is

whether Georgetown wants

affordable housing.”

Megan Lasch

Kaia Pointe Development representative

Continued on 10A Continued on 11A Girl completes 100 Home Depot projects Page 1B