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Horseshoe Bay OKs zoning for two developments over opposition

Rudd House in Horseshoe Bay

A house at 2803 Bay West Blvd. in Horseshoe Bay that was designed by Mary Agnes Rudd and her late husband, Ronnie, was set to be demolished Thursday, Dec. 8. After hearing that demolition was imminent, city officials negotiated with the current owners of the property, Horseshoe Bay Resort, to postpone any action until after the new year and allow further discussions regarding the house's future. No one currently lives in the home, which is affectionately called the 'Rudd House.' Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Despite heated opposition to two proposed developments, the Horseshoe Bay City Council on Dec. 6 unanimously approved two zoning changes that would pave the way for both sites.

The Thundercloud and Azurite developments planned for west Horseshoe Bay will have 48 homes between them. Fort Worth-based Crescent will design and build the houses, which developers plan to sell for about $1.4 million each, or $700 per square-foot.

More than 100 residents packed City Council chambers during the regular meeting Tuesday to oppose the developments. About 15 of those residents, led by Applehead Property Owners Association President John Colapret, spoke against the projects.

“The overarching concern that many of us have is the precedent it sets to allow a large, commercial developer to come in and take large pieces of land and be able to develop all of that just by themselves,” Colapret said. “I don’t think we’ve had that sort of thing happen in Horseshoe Bay.”

Opponents said they are concerned about increased traffic and noise and the possible impact the new developments would have on the city’s water supply.

“We’re also concerned because there is the major entrance to the (Caprock) golf course and the Caprock clubhouse right there,” Colapret said. “(Horseshoe Bay Resort) guests are coming in and out, and we want them to have a good experience and not be hung up in traffic or, God forbid, an accident.”

Horseshoe Bay Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith addressed the residents, explaining her vote to allow development.

“I have a lot next door to me,” she said. “If 100 percent of the neighbors don’t want them to build on it, it doesn’t matter. The property owner has invested in it and has a legal right to build on it. All we can do is work with them and make them a part of the community. There’s no reason to get mad at the neighbor. He’s just building on his property.”

Many of the residents were also concerned about the future of the so-called “Rudd House,” a beloved home at 2803 Bay West Blvd. near the Thundercloud development. The house was designed by Mary Agnes Rudd and her late husband, Ronnie, in the 1990s. 

The couple hosted yearly Fourth of July parties, which were cherished by neighbors.

“I’ve only lived here for four years but was still able to enjoy a Fourth of July (celebration) on their property,” Colapret said. “They opened it up to the community, and it was understood that everyone had an open invitation to go up there and watch all the fireworks. That’s where a lot of the emotional attachment to the property comes from.”

After her husband’s death in September 2020, Mary Agnes Rudd sold the home to Horseshoe Bay Resort, although she told the council at Tuesday’s meeting she thought she was selling it to another family. 

Clinesmith assured Rudd and others at the meeting that discussions on whether to demolish the house would not happen until after the first of the year. 

“(The resort) had promised me that they would engage in those conversations in the new year,” Clinesmith told DailyTrib.com. “They said there was no rush in making those decisions.”

The following day, Clinesmith was alerted via text message of a change in plans.

“I received a text, in a surprise fashion, that they were demolishing the home (Dec. 8),” she said. “Of course, I freaked out and started calling the resort and leadership.”

After speaking with Horseshoe Bay Resort officials, Clinesmith received a commitment from them to postpone demolition until 2023 and allow more time for discussion among the city, resort, and residents. 

Though the council meeting was sometimes heated, Clinesmith was proud of her community’s dedication to participating in civic affairs.

“If there’s any possible takeaway or silver lining to this, it was just reaffirming how the community stepped up to say that they cared about our community and the people in it,” she said. “I thought it was admirable that, as a community, our folks would do that.”

nathan@thepicayune.com