According to an exasperated and apologetic City of Austin public works official who was just out here by my house, the new owners of the Featherlite tract shouldn't have taken down a huge Cottonwood tree near our property, and they should have known that before they started tearing everything up.
It turns out this was no unreasonable request by environmentalists, though for aesthetic reasons my wife had requested the tree be saved. The previous landowner actually told us they'd adjsted their plans to accomodate it. Then he sold the property and the new landowner started mowing down everything in sight.
Now we discover what City officials already knew - the tree's roots were wrapped inextricably around the drainage pipe that takes in all the water flowing downhill from the whole neighborhood at the end of E. 14th street, which dead ends into the Featherlite tract.
Now, after just a moderate rain, the end of 14th is flooded and backed up into my neighbor's yard. (The damn batteries are out in my camera or I'd have gotten pics.) The drainage pipe is broken, said the frustrated city worker, at this point probably filled in with dirt.
Dellionaire Tom Meredith recently sold the portion of the property between 14th and 16th streets to a partnership between Momark Development (Terry Mitchell) and Benchmark Development (Dave Mahn). They're developing 64 condos on the southern section of the lot where it narrows along Boggy Creek next to the train tracks.
Apparently Momark and Benchmark didn't know about, or care about, any agreement to preserve the tree, the trunk of which is currently laying about 100 feet behind my house beside its giant, upended root system. From a distance, two X's marking it for destruction resemble a smiley face.
More and more I think there will be big drainage problems with the Featherlite, as I've feared from day one. IMO, anyone buying residential property on the southern end of that tract should probably be required to purchase federal flood insurance. The whole neighborhood's drainage used to dissipate into the Featherlite tract or flow down into Boggy Creek. Turn much of it into impervious cover and that seems like a near-certain recipe for flooding.
I'll write more about this subject later as things develop.