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Only some people could vote to remove their neighborhoods from Austin. Here's why.

A "vote here" sign is seen on the floor as the feet of people standing in line to vote are seen off to the side.
Gabriel C. Pérez
KUT News

Three neighborhoods voted in the May 4 election to be removed, or disannexed, from Austin’s city limits. That includes Lost Creek in West Austin, land near Blue Goose Road in Northeast Austin and a portion of land in River Place in West Austin.

Voters in three other neighborhoods also had disannexation on the ballot, but the measures didn't pass.

About 3,000 registered voters live in the Lost Creek neighborhood – the largest area to be impacted. Only about half cast a ballot in the election, and the majority – 91.29% – voted in favor of Proposition A to disannex.

For the River Place proposition, a single vote determined the outcome – to disannex 212 acres of land. That voter was the only registered voter in the area, however, according to voter registration data.

For the proposition to disannex Blue Goose Road, just three votes were cast – all in favor of disannexing. There are 57 people registered to vote in the neighborhood. So just 5% of voters determined the outcome, county data shows.

Results also show voters in the Lennar at Malone neighborhood in South Austin (Proposition D) were strongly against leaving Austin, with 98.21% votes cast against disannexing. The 110 residents who voted make up about 40% of the 274 voters registered in that neighborhood.

Not a single vote was cast for either Proposition B, the Mooreland addition in South Austin, or Proposition E, the Wildhorse/Webb Tract in Northeast Austin. But there was just one voter in each of those neighborhoods who could cast a ballot.

Only voters registered in a particular area could vote on the issue. Why is that, and why were only some parts of neighborhoods included?

Understanding the new state law

State lawmakers passed a bill in 2023 that forced the state’s largest cities to allow some neighborhoods to decide on whether to leave the city limits.

But there were some parameters. The area must have been annexed between March 3, 2015, and Dec. 1, 2017. That’s when a handful of places were annexed just before a law was passed that could have stopped their annexation.

Sara Groff, a principal planner for the City of Austin, said the area that was annexed also had to have a population of at least one resident on the date it was annexed.

In some cases, that could mean only one or two people live in that neighborhood, she said.

Eligibility to vote

Only voters registered in the area were eligible to vote on the issue, which is why only some voters in these six neighborhoods saw a proposition on their ballots.

Groff said because some neighborhoods were annexed at different times, some of those areas might not have been eligible for the election.

For example, the River Place ballot proposition included about 212 acres of land in the West Austin neighborhood. A majority of that land is wild, although some residents live there. That limited who was actually eligible to vote.

She said the election did not include the neighborhood as a whole because of its annexation date – Dec. 15, 2017.

“The neighborhood we know of as River Place was not subject to this bill because it was annexed outside of the dates in the bill,” Groff said. “And therefore the residents that live in the neighborhood part of River Place were not able to participate in this election, and they remain in Austin’s full purpose jurisdiction.”

In Lost Creek’s case, the entire neighborhood was annexed in December 2015, so all of the residents who were registered to vote could weigh in.

What happens next?

Groff said nothing will change for residents in the neighborhoods that voted not to disannex or had no votes cast at all. They will continue to be part of the City of Austin.

For areas that voted to leave, the city will formally begin the process of disannexing, Groff said, which may include a public notice, public hearing and an ordinance to disannex. The entire process will have to go through the Austin City Council. Those areas will also have to pay city taxes until their share of city debt – as outlined in the election ordinance – is paid off. The state law says the city is allowed to recoup the investments, like street maintenance, it made in those areas, according to Groff.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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