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Concrete Batch Plant Archive: Wessale's Letter to TCEQ


 

Chairman Shaw:

We are writing to make you aware of a potential problem that has existed for eight months.  Precedence indicates the normal process will create a problem which will then require litigation.  We are suggesting a reasonable and legal solution which those on distribution should support.

Application for air permit #109839 was submitted on April 25, 2013 by Westward Environmental on behalf of Tex-Mix for a concrete batch plant on the east side of US 281 approximately ½ mile south of Rebecca Creek Road.  This property is in an unincorporated area of Comal County north of Bulverde and is not under any zoning or deed restrictions. 

Unfortunately, the property is contiguous to a residential subdivision that has been in place for over 25 years, and directly across US 281 from a family ranch of fourth generation Comal County settlers. This subdivision and ranch are surrounded by additional subdivisions, residences, and ranches.  When TCEQ held the required public meeting, we mailed a notice to 2065 residential addresses, a subset of the surrounding residences, to ensure public participation in the TCEQ decision making process. Over 180 people attended to voice their opposition.  In the comment period, 290 comments in opposition were registered on the TCEQ website.  The comment period has closed and we are waiting written responses to our questions and comments.

One of our members has been diagnosed as a COPD sufferer, and their home lies within the legal impact zone from the offending equipment.  He has formally requested a Public Hearing in the event the Air Permit is issued.  We have retained the legal firm of Duggins Wren Mann & Romero, LLP to represent this resident at the contested case hearing.

We have organized as the Neighbors of Spring Branch to oppose this intrusion:

Website www.neighborsofspringbranch.org,

Facebook Neighbors of Spring Branch

Twitter @nosb78070

The easy TCEQ action is to award permit #109839, but the laws don’t require that it be awarded.  I believe awarding permit #109839 would be in violation of TCEQ’s Mission Statement and Agency Philosophy.

The TCEQ Mission Statement states in part, “consistent with sustainable economic development”.  Does this mean that permits must be awarded so that expansion in the concrete industry and housing trade continues unimpeded, or does it mean that a permit should only be awarded if the resulting concrete plant does not cause a net decline in the area’s economic value?  In this case, I feel it’s the latter.  I have found that most concrete plants are located in rural areas where the adjacent land is either a field or another industry, not a neighborhood.  Adding a concrete plant adjacent to a field or industrial park does not necessarily negatively impact their economic value.

In the case of permit #109839, the proposed concrete plant would be surrounded by existing residential neighborhoods.   There are no other industries within several miles of the proposed location, only commercial and retail businesses to service the residents.  Awarding a permit at the proposed location would immediately lower the surrounding property values and consign the area to future industrial intrusions, negatively impacting the resident’s quality of life.  We feel awarding the permit would benefit the owners of Tex-Mix at the expense of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Therefore, we don’t believe awarding permit #109839 would be “consistent with sustainable economic development”.

TCEQ’s Agency Philosophy seeks “meaningful public participation in the decision-making process”.  We believe the neighbors of spring branch have demonstrated meaningful public participation, and it is overwhelmingly negative. 

Please decide to NOT award permit #109839 since it would violate sustainable economic development and is supported by meaningful and overwhelmingly negative public participation.

Thank you.

Sincerely,