7:00 p.m. Monday, December 17th
Southwest Church of Christ
Fellowship Hall
8900 Manchaca Rd.
(Rear Entrance)


December brings our Annual Holiday Party. We invite everyone, whether members or not, to come and join us for food and fellowship plus a little business. COVNA will provide the food and beverages, we just ask you to bring lots of Holiday Cheer. Potluck dishes and homemade desserts are always welcome.The Vice President and Delegate to ANC positions are up for election. The office of President is still vacant. Bring your volunteer spirit and throw your hat in the ring.

Please look below to view the choice of gates on the city access road to the detention pond located behind houses on Comburg Drive. At the Holiday Party we will vote on which style the city will use.

12/13/78 - Susan B Anthony Dollar sdopted

12/14/72 - Apollo 17 left moon
(last man on moon)


It is time to show your support for the Castlewood—Oak Valley Neighborhood Association. A membership form is on the inside of the hard copy newsletter. You can print a membership form by clicking here. According to the by-laws, dues shall be payable at or before the February meeting of each calendar year.

Jennifer Rizkalla
Mark Tilley
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Mark Tilley
Vice President (358-1610)
Secretary (280-2572)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (280-2572)

To join the COVNA Email List, click below and
send an email with your name(s) to Doug at
Now 100+ households strong!

Find out the latest neighborhood news and developments.
Receive recommendations for service providers.


February 20th
Spring Fling - April 21st
Neighborhood Picnic - June 23rd
September 17th
November 19th
Holiday Party - December 17th

Advertise in the COVNA Newsletter
Only $10.00/month. Reaches over 400 homes & Online at
Email Hal Ferguson to see if space is available at:


At the Holiday Party we need to vote on which style the city will use.

Comburg Gate List

Option 1 – Composite Wood with Metal Frame

Option 2 – Wood with Metal Frame

Option 3 – Sheet Metal

Option 4 – Color Corrugated Panel Framed

Option 5 – Standard




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In November, many residents received notices from the City of Austin regarding the creation of a new 2-lot subdivision on Toulouse Drive. This caused a significant amount of email traffic regarding the issue. For those who are unaware, an application was submitted to the City of Austin to subdivide the vacant lot located on Toulouse Drive just east of the intersection of Toulouse and Comburg Drive.

Prior to describing the new subdivision, I think it is important to provide a brief history, as we understand it, on the currently vacant property (note this information was gathered from discussions with original residents, previous owners, and research at the county – there may be some errors in dates or minor details – but for the purposes utilized herein, it should provide sufficient information to understand the issues of the land in question). This also involves understanding the mysteries of our public infrastructure as well. Contrary to what my 4-year old thinks, the storm water drains that we see on curbs are not where monsters live, they actually go somewhere and have a functional purpose. In the case of Castlewood Forest, most of the stormwater run-off of at least the north-eastern portion of the neighborhood, drain into a stormwater detention pond located behind the homes on Comburg Drive. The pond is approximately 200 feet deep. This was likely installed by the original developer of Castlewood Forest in the late 1960s, early 1970s. This pond then flows into a long channel which ultimately flows into the river through various other tributaries. From Manchaca, you can see this channel and how it flows behind Tanglewood Forest properties. At that time, the properties on Comburg Drive all backed up to empty, vacant land and/or the detention pond.

In the late 1970s, when Tanglewood Forest began development, the issue of the vacant land surrounding the detention pond arose. The developer had 3 choices: develop this 200 foot strip of property and build houses or duplexes, designate the property as green space, or sell the property to the homeowners located on Comburg Drive. For whatever reason, the developer chose option #3. This may have been a peace offering to property owners who had objected to having duplexes in their back yard; Kempler Drive, which backs to this vacant strip of land and has two-story duplexes.

As a result property owners on Comburg Drive were each offered the opportunity to purchase an approximate 200 foot strip of property located behind their homes. Most homeowners appear to have exercised that opportunity. However, the property owner of 9203 Comburg Drive, did not seem to exercise his option, and the then owner of 9205 Comburg Drive purchased the property extending behind 9205 and 9203. This resulted in an approximate 200X200 foot lot. That lot was never “subdivided” beyond the one tract. The lot was considered an “abstract” lot in the City’s eyes – meaning it wasn’t part of Tanglewood Forest and it wasn’t part of Castlewood Forest. It is important to understand several elements here:

The property was not designated as green space, or a green belt. The developer could have chosen to do so. The result would have been the land would have gone to the City or Tanglewood Forest or another entity and not remain private property.

The developer did not do this: the property continued to be private property. As a result, the property owner of these lots not only paid for the lot itself, they also have paid property taxes on that lot every year.

The lot in question changed ownership through the years, sometimes to the owner of the house located at the corner of Comburg and Toulouse, but not always. As many of you may be aware, we lived at the corner of Comburg and Toulouse from October 2006 through July 2012. We acquired the vacant lot in 2009 (3 years after we bought our house), as we were concerned with some of the things that were happening on the lot at that time. First, we noticed teenagers going back there regularly – we went to investigate and found a campground set up in the trees: complete with a fire pit. There was evidence they were trying to grow something – conjecture would lead me to suspect illegal substances, but I can’t be sure. These same teenagers would also use the lot as an avenue to Manchaca – they’d walk through the lot to the detention pond and then along the drainage channel to Manchaca. The lot was also used for illegal dumping. This was concerning to us as it was basically in our backyard.

As a result, we approached the then owners of the lot and asked to purchase. We bought the property in 2009 as an investment, but also as concerned residents of Castlewood Forest who want to preserve the integrity of the beautiful neighborhood. In 2012, we filed the application with the City to subdivide the lots.

The new “subdivision” will essentially consist of dividing the single lot into two lots. The property is zoned SF-2, which allows only single family housing, and lot sizes of approximately 6,000 square feet. Regardless of the remarkably small lot sizes allowed under SF-2 development, each individual lot is roughly .4 acres in size (approximately, 17,000 square feet). This was done to be consistent in size (and in many cases it’s actually larger in size) with Castlewood Forest lots. We also went to extensive lengths to negotiate with the City of Austin to preserve the many trees on the portion of the property now owned by the City of Austin. We further negotiated with the City to ensure that the City’s new access driveway would be aesthetically pleasing from the street and would include a gate which would provide security to the neighborhood – alleviating the pedestrian traffic through the lot and the channel to Manchaca. Once homes are built and fences built, access from Toulouse Drive to the backyards of the homeowners along Comburg Drive would also be alleviated. We did all of these things in order to preserve the integrity of Castlewood Forest.

Through their review process, the City of Austin performed a thorough examination of the application and the proposed subdivision. They looked at the drainage, traffic, water, fire and safety, as well as many other elements. They ensured that the subdivision complied with all applicable City codes and ordinances. When a property owner goes to build on the lots, that owner will go through an equally detailed permitting process to ensure the property complies with zoning, building codes and other applicable ordinances. Upon construction, the new homes will go through a very thorough inspection process with the City as well.

Our intent at this point in time is to list the lots on the MLS and/or sell the lots to an interested buyer(s). Currently, we do not intend to build on the lots ourselves; we would prefer to sell the lots at this point in time.

We have heard the concerns of some Castlewood residents regarding the development of the lots, and genuinely respect and understand those concerns. This is a change. However, I want to make sure that the neighborhood is aware that we have taken every measure within our control to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood to the greatest extent possible in this effort. We regret that we are no longer able to own and pay taxes on these lots for the benefit of all; but did do everything we could to make sure that if/when something is built on those lots, it is not a duplex, condo, or 6 houses crammed into a small space. While we can’t control what a future owner builds, we have sized the lots to encourage quality housing. Please understand that this is private property, for which the property owner is paying taxes.

We love the neighborhood, and wish you all the best! I hope this provides some clarity on the subject. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dean or me with any questions you may have:

Nelissa Heddin




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Snowy Owl, hunting