Historic decision made in landmark designation


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

For the first time anyone can recall, a Historic Landmark designation has been removed in Lockhart.

Ben and Lauren Siegel of Austin were granted an ordinance because of what Councilmember John Lairsen said were “unfortunate missteps” from many involved, although the ordinance passed by only a 4-3 vote.

The house, built in 1907 at 703 W. San Antonio St., did not have a box checked as a Historic Landmark, nor did the designation appear in the sale’s written disclosure, according to Ben Siegel, who said he personally asked about it and was told it was not. However, during painting of the brick in September, he was advised that the house did indeed fall under the city’s Historic Landmark designation. The Siegels purchased the home in 2022.

“We bought it because we wanted an old house,” Ben Siegel said. “It’s not like we wanted to tear it down and build a bunch of apartments there. We wouldn’t have purchased it if it had been (listed as a) Historic Landmark.

“The law says it’s reversable. I think our intent is to have a wedding or event venue.”

Multiple people spoke in favor of the Siegels, who operate a restaurant in Austin.

“Ben was a consultant at Mill Scale (Metalworks),” said Matthew Johnson. “His restaurant in Austin is immaculate. Lockhart would be very lucky to have them here.”

Robert Steinbomer added, “I can’t believe you would drive people away from investing in the city.”

In other business:

The City Council denied Shiva Shankar of Paradise Engineers’ (of San Antonio) application for a Specific Use Permit to allow a Multifamily Residential Development Type 2 (MF-2) on 13.1 acres at 1000 Valdez St. and 1325 Blackjack St. (FM 20).

While the developer said drainage and traffic in the area would actually improve with the proposed 216-unit complex, there were multiple citizens speaking against the development.

“You’re coming into these neighborhoods and building a pretty intrusive apartment complex,” Mayor Lew White said. “We would be crying uncle to TxDOT with the traffic at 183 and FM 20.”

The denial of the project was unanimous.

Travis Hughes, Director of Parks and Recreation, gave an update on the proposed new aquatics facility. He noted that the current one is now 50-years-old and has reached the end of its serviceable life. “It is currently in an unrepairable condition,” Hughes said.

The Council approved a resolution to evaluate three possible locations for a future aquatics facility.

Evening with the Authors presented the Dr. Eugene Clark Library a check for $10,000. Library staff and Mayor Lew White excepted the check from several representatives of Evening with the Authors, which is in its 21st year.

Sally Daniel and Alfredo Munoz were appointed to the Caldwell County Appraisal District.

Carl Cisneros was appointed to the unexpired term (through Jan. 1, 2024) of Yolanda Strey as well as an additional three years (Jan. 1, 2024-Dec. 31, 2026).

Mayor White and Councilmember Jeffry Michelson will again represent the City of Lockhart on the Capital Area Council of Government’s (CAPCOG) General Assembly.

At the Nov.20 Special City Council meeting canvassed the recent General Election and administered the Oath of Office to Mayor Lew White, who was re-elected; Councilmember District 3 John Lairsen, who won the seat when Kara McGregor chose to not run for re-election; and District 4 Councilmember Jeffry Michaelson, who ran unopposed.

McGregor has lived in Lockhart for 21 years and spent six years on the City Council.

“During her time on council, she has provided her financial expertise,” Mayor White said of McGregor. “She’s given us her perspective from a business owner’s standpoint. She’s represented District 3 in an outstanding manner. Kara has just been a joy to work with and has made outstanding contributions.”

McGregor added, “I’m still here. I’m so invested in Lockhart, emotionally and every other way. I plan to die here.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to pass the torch to someone like John Lairsen. He will serve well and wisely.”


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