The public had a chance to hear from both Austin City Council and representatives from Circuit of The Americas on Oct. 11 during the first of two public hearings about the annexation of the Circuit of The Americas area.
“It's pretty standard. It's time to come in [to join the City of Austin],” said Richard Suttle, attorney for Circuit of The Americas.
The tract of land for annexation is about 1,584 acres located about a half mile east of the intersection of Pearce Lane and Ross Road. According to a financial analysis conducted by city staff, the taxable assessed value on the property is about $200 million once the F1 track is completed and would generate an estimated $120,000 annually in sales tax revenue. During the next 25 years, city officials expect the parcel of land to add about $16.2 million in revenue to the city.
Officials from Circuit of The Americas said there are still a lot of details to work out regarding the annexation.
Councilwomen Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo raised questions about annexation of the track, including emergency services, road improvements and noise.
“I just want to know if we're going to be on the hook for big investments in road improvements,” Morrison said. “The financial analysis they did didn't include any accounting for that, and there's been so much talk about what kind of transportation improvements are going to be needed.”
Suttle said he doesn't believe the city would have to support major road improvements because of the annexation.
“The road network is basically there, now,” Suttle said. “As people develop around [the track], the county's normal development rules would take care of new infrastructure that goes out there as a result of the track.”
Another prominent concern about the track annexation is the emergency service district and the city's emergency service. Upon annexation, the city will provide full municipal services, including emergency services. In a letter to Assistant City Manager Sue Edwards from Ken Bailey, Travis County Fire Rescue chief, Bailey asks that ESD No. 11 not be de-annexed because the track would “enhance the ability of the district to provide fire suppression and EMS first response service” to that area.
“We need to make sure that we don't just act like a big bully and really get in the way of the survival of the ESD being able to continue,” Morrison said.
The ESD also has a fire station close to the track.
For noise issues from the track, city staff said they would look into whether the city's amplified sound ordinance would apply to the track and amphitheater. Suttle said he believes that the city and Circuit of the Americas will come to an agreement on the noise issue.
“I can't imagine our city wanting to annex and shut down a facility that is going to be bringing what this facility is going to be bringing to us,” Suttle said.
The second public hearing on the topic is scheduled for Oct. 18 with final action expected in November.