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Concrete Batch Plant Archive: Tex-Mix meeting on 9/16/2013


 

----  Notes recorded by Bill Wessale ------

The following were in attendance:

Organizers:

Larry Hull - mediator

Sherry Mosier – Bulverde / Spring Branch Economic Development Foundation

Moderator:

Jan Kennady – County Commissioner

Tex-Mix:

Sean Van Delist - Tex-Mix project manager for the proposed plant

Logan Owens – Tex-Mix owner

Dan – Tex-Mix General Manager

NeighborsOfSpringBranch:

Bill & Kris Wessale

Juanita Proffitt

Mike Garvin

John Bianchi

Emory and Annette Gass

Stephen Luman (Gaas' son-in-law)

Rita Aker

Sid & Becky Atkinson

Summary:

Jan Kennady opened the meeting stating that she hoped we could reach an understanding and negotiate an approach that we could accept.  That didn’t happen.  The two parties (Tex-Mix and NeighborsOfSpringBranch) left the meeting as divided as when they entered.  

Tex-Mix made a presentation to address what they had determined were our concerns.  Sean presented how they were going to address air quality, water usage, noise, light, and truck traffic.  They are obviously attempting to address these issues as well as they can.

Tex-Mix mentioned that they have a buyer for the remainder of the property that they don’t need, but would not divulge the buyer.  So the buffer zone between their plant and our homes could be an expanse of parking lot. 

Tex-Mix mentioned they would close in 45 days - Nov 1.

They also mentioned they would have acceleration and deceleration lanes, but they qualified that entire part of the presentation with “probably”, “would be easy for TxDOT to add those to the road construction”.

The NeighborsOfSpringBranch then took turns to very pointedly express why a concrete batch plant is unacceptable in the proposed location.  We stated several times that it appears Tex-Mix is spending a lot of time and money trying to minimize the intrusion, but they are unwilling to remove the 24-hour a day, 7 day-a-week nature of the threat, and we stated that the only solution acceptable to us is Tex-Mix choosing another location.  

Larry Hull and Stephen Luman are both realtors.  Larry mentioned he has been working with Tex-Mix to find a different location, but apparently the Canyon Lake water supply, the selling price, and the access to Hwy 281 are difficult to match.  Larry and Stephen both volunteered to continue looking for alternate locations, but to date all possibilities located would result in even more people (who are less vulnerable) being intruded upon than at this location

The issue of monitoring for continued compliance to regulations was brought up, and Tex-Mix stated that they self police with TCEQ audits of their record keeping (but not the numbers reported) every couple of years.   Sounds like a lack of oversight.

The idea of an Industrial Park within Spring Branch was brought up, where Tex-Mix could locate and other industries could follow, but that idea received no support and was quickly discarded.

Tex-Mix did agree there are closer neighbors than they had thought, and that Tex-Mix did not survey the area or take measurements yet to verify the distances of the residences, but hopefully TCEQ has.

Sherry mentioned that Tex-Mix would bring economic benefits to Spring Branch, but Tex-Mix never answered how we would benefit.  Tex-Mix didn 't even say they would hire out of Spring Branch.

After 2 hours of presentation and discussion, we came to a stalemate and parted agreeing to disagree.  If some event changes the position of either party, we agreed we would reconvene.

We recognize that the permit will probably be granted, so we are preparing for the Contested Case Hearing.

---- Minutes recorded by Larry Hull ----

Attendance:

Jan Kennady, Comal County Commissioner-Precinct# 4

Sherry Mosier, Bulverde Spring Branch Economic Development Foundation

Larry Hull

 Tex-Mix

Logan Owens, Owner, Tex-Mix

Dan Hanrahan, General Manager

Sean Van Delist, Project Manager

Neighbors of Spring Branch

Sid and Becky Atkinson

Bill and Kris Wessale

Juanita Proffitt

Mike Garvin

John Bianchi

Emory and Annette Gass

Stephen Luman

Rita Aker

Commissioner  Kennady opened the meeting and thanked all those who were able to attend. She indicated she hoped the parties might be able to reach an agreement. Larry Hull then asked the parties if it was agreeable if Tex-Mix began with their comments, followed by individual remarks by the neighbors. After initial remarks were completed the floor would be open to questions and comments. Larry further indicated that Sherry Mosier would make some comments. The attendees agreed and Tex-Mix opened with their presentation.

Sean Van Delist gave a presentation that centered around issues involving Air Quality, Water Availability, Noise, Truck traffic, Light and other related issues. His presentation described a “concrete batch plant” and he presented a pictorial display of some of Tex-Mix current operating facilities (there are 7 at this time).

  • He indicated they were planning to place the facility in the northwest portion of the property.  Tex-Mix expected to use about 10 acres and planned to sell the remaining acreage. The acreage would extend from 281 to the property line to the rear in order to maximize any potential buffering.
  • Sean then discussed the issue of air quality and stated Tex-Mix would exceed the standards required by TCEQ. He briefly described how the materials were loaded on the trucks and the use of large air filter system.
  •  Sean then clarified that Tex-Mix has made arrangements to receive water from Canyon Lake Water Supply Company.  He also discussed how they recycle water at their locations.
  • Tex-Mix commented that they intended to reduce noise as much as practical. Sean mentioned the use of “white” noise for the back-up safety beepers, use of berms and other sound barriers, landscaping, etc.
  • Tex-Mix is working with TxDOT in connection with acceleration and deceleration lanes for truck traffic.
  • Sean provided pictorial descriptions of diffused lighting that is intended to minimize light intrusion.

The Neighbors of Spring Branch then commented on their concerns.

  • John Bianchi said he will be able to see the plant from his third floor. He said he did not buy his property to sell.  John stated his number one concern was water usage.
  • Bill Wessale told the group he is trying to do everything possible to force Tex-Mix to locate to another area.
  • Juanita Proffitt mentioned she wanted to preserve a way of life in Spring Branch. She believed there were other residences within 440 yards besides the Gass family. She commented on the possible habitat for the Colden Cheek Warbler. Juanita wanted to know when Tex-Mix was closing on the property.
  • The Gass family (Emory and Annette, Rita Aker and Stephan Luman) told the group they were not in favor of a concrete batch plant. They believe the dust particles will affect Mr. Gass’ COPD.  Rita expressed concerns for her daughter. They are concerned about the run off into their fish pond. Stephan said he believed there were other locations where Tex-Mix could locate.
  • Becky Atkinson indicated there should be a designated industrial park for the consolidation of industries of this nature. She said Tex-Mix was not a fit for Spring Branch. She expressed concerns regarding the plants effect on the honey bees.
  • Sid Atkinson remarked that he did not believe this area was the best place for a concrete batch plant. He mentioned that Thomas Stone and Material had relocated to the south due to the 281 expansion and they were pleased the facility had moved.

 The group then went to a question and answer format. Logan Owens first addressed an estimated closing date on the property and said it would be in about 40 days which would put it around the first of November. Logan also responded to the TCEQ standards by commenting that they are committed to meeting or exceeding those standards and TCEQ does conduct audits. Sean commented they were verifying the 440 yard distances and believed they may be close. Additionally, Logan mentioned they were discussing the possibility of a buyer for the remainder of the property the facility would not need.  There was some discussion regarding the Hutto Plant and traffic. Logan and Sean explained the issue involved public road expansion and was not initiated by Tex-Mix. Logan and Sean were asked where they lived.  Logan responded with Austin and Sean said he resided in New Braunfels. Logan was asked if he planned on running the plant 24 hours a day 7 days a week as the permit requested. Logan said he has never run a 24 hour shift at any of his facilities. He continued by saying he did not anticipate any 24 hour operations in Spring Branch but said there might be an isolated project that was large enough to require continuous operation for a limited period of time. Tex-Mix was asked if they had considered other locations. Sean said that they had been looking for a couple of years before they selected the property. Larry Hull and Stephen Luman (both realtors) offered to continue to search for alternate locations. Larry mentioned that he had already been searching for other locations but has been unable due to the availability of a water supply like the one available from CLWSC, appropriate location and price.

Sherry Mosier told the group she had surveyed the other Tex-Mix locations and did not receive any adverse comments regarding their operations. She also commented on the idea of an industrial park but mentioned that the reality of that was probably years away and might not be a solution for this project.

Sid commented that he appreciated the willingness of the Tex-Mix representatives to attend this meeting. Logan told the group he understood how they felt and appreciated the discussion.

Commissioner Kennady summarized the meeting by commenting that it was apparent that the neighbors did not want the Tex-Mix facility at the location selected and it would be good if another spot was found. She continued by commenting that since another location has not been found it would be good if the neighbors could get the best circumstances possible. She stated that if nothing can be resolved she will continue to be on the team with the residents and offered to help in any way she can. She concluded by expressing her appreciation for the willingness of Tex-Mix to meet with the folks, listen and discuss the issue.

Larry closed the meeting by thanking everyone for attending. He mentioned that he hoped there could be continued dialogue between Tex-Mix and the neighbors. He suggested that any of the parties could contact him or Sherry if they wanted to continue discussions or negotiations.