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Meeting Minutes: November 18, 2013


 

The meeting of Neighbors of Spring Branch (NoSB) was held at the Bulverde/Spring Branch Public Library at 131 Bulverde Crossing Boulevard, Monday, November 18, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Present: Sidney Atkinson, President; Becky Atkinson; Bill Wessale, Vice President; Kris Wessale; Sandra Whitehead, Secretary. Also present: Bill & Debbie Archer; John Bianchi; Robert Butler; Annette Gass; Mike Garvin;  Bobbie Welch;  Jan Kennady, Comal County Commissioner; Kelly Follis, District Case Worker, office of Senator Donna Campbell, M.D.

President Atkinson reported that he, Becky, and Bill & Kris Wessale recently met with the attorney who upon our request, will file documents requesting our contested hearing regarding issuance of the Tex Mix permit. Initial legal cost “guess-estimate” for this service is about $60,000. We anticipate this permit may be issued about early Summer 2014. (With little recourse available at this time, we can also expect this permit will be issued.) It should be noted that TCEQ is required to follow the law regarding issuance of an air control permit. However, the laws governing this procedure do not take into account of how a concrete batch plant located near a neighborhood in an unincorporated area impacts the quality of life for the residents in that area. In short, it places more value on the company requesting the permit than on the citizen’s health and livelihoods that are directly impacted by the company. We are advised that there are two kinds of permits: one that allows for 24/7 operations, (which Tex-Mix favors) and another that calls for normal business hours. It was asked if Tex-Mix would compromise regarding their operation hours and Sid reminded us that it had been brought up at the September 16 meeting with Tex-Mix, and they were not willing to limit their hours of operation under the 24/7 permit.  In the extreme, Tex-Mix may start at 3:00 AM to have concrete delivered to site by 6:00 AM. As a group, we citizens have valid reasons to file a request for a contested hearing. However, we may lose our cause and Tex-Mix may build at this location despite our concerted efforts to convince them to locate elsewhere. The most effective governing form of control of various companies wishing to locate in our area is to become a municipality. This action requires both time (about two years), and money to accomplish. We may even wish to investigate the possibility of being incorporated into the city of Bulverde. Commissioner Kennady stated that land management in an unincorporated area will require a grass roots action from the citizens to effect change and reminded all that it's still two years away before the legislators convene again. She reminded all that the county has only the limited authority that our current state laws allow. She further stated that we need to consider starting soon if we intend to incorporate. Note: To incorporate, one-half of the voters in a geographic area must approve the proposal to incorporate that area into a municipality.

Kelly Follis asked if we had obtained air quality data for other Tex-Mix sites. Trudy Thomas stated that she wrote to TCEQ requesting the air quality reports on the other Tex-Mix locations. President Atkinson said apparently in measuring the air quality control, TCEQ uses modeling (mathematical simulation) instead of actual measurements to determine air quality.

Robert Butler stated that he has requested all documents that TCEQ has on file for Tex-Mix. Based on the data he received, he will write a formal complaint letter stating that TECQ seems to be in a “very comfortable” association with the companies (i.e. Tex-Mix) they serve, versus protecting the rights of the people. Butler will draft a letter that we can send to Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, Senator Donna Campbell, and Congressman Doug Miller.

Our probable best chance will be to fight our cause in the court of public opinion versus the legal system.  To get the proper attention of our state officials, President Atkinson agreed that both letters and post cards must be sent to these Austin officials. We will seek permission from local businesses like Spring Branch Store, Fischer’s, gas station, etc. to set up card tables with donation cans and have available pre-stamped post cards for citizens to fill in their name and address, which we will mail to state representatives in an effort to further our cause. This campaign will take place on Saturday and Sunday over the next three months. He asked for volunteers to man these tables. Interested parties should contact he or Becky regarding the day(s)/hours that they can be available.

It was suggested that we prepare a mail out flier to area residents notifying them of another rally/town hall type meeting to be held soon at GVTC auditorium. Discussion will center on updating information regarding the Tex-Mix plant and instigating letter-writing.  It was agreed that we should postpone the discussion of possible incorporation so we don’t dilute the letter-writing. Date and time for this meeting will be announced.

Bill Archer suggested that to keep our issue on the front burner, we consider reaching out area people and media in San Antonio and Austin, etc., via Facebook and Twitter. He further stated that YouTube is most effective. Jan Kennady stated she has 2000 friends that she would willing to forward our data to. As an example of exploiting YouTube, Bill Archer suggested that we video Tex-Mix operations of what we fear in our neighborhood, and then we can send the YouTube link to our officials and to the media to further generate interest. Becky volunteered to setup Facebook for us.

Mike Garvin asked if it would be feasible for us to buy some fairly accurate air quality monitor equipment to record data and then check this data against TCEQ data on file for comparison. The cost of this equipment is about $200.00.

Bill Archer has agreed to advise and help us get our marketing campaign underway. President Atkinson asked him to be present at our next meeting scheduled for (two weeks) on Monday, December 2, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at the Spring Branch/Bulverde Library. He will also request that Robert Butler bring his letter for all to use to this meeting.

There being no further business, President Atkinson closed this meeting at 7:10 PM.