Austin Chronicle, Letter to Editor: Black Market Investments, freedom and responsibility

https://www.austinchronicle.com/feedback/2018-05-08/2215898/

Responsibilities of Freedom

RECEIVED Tue., May 8, 2018

Dear Editor,
[In “‘Til Death Do Us Party,” News, April 27,] Kate [Groetzinger] pointed out Black Market Investments plans to build two 300-person wedding venues next to three long-established residential communities. She did not mention there are also three spiritual communities that will be impacted by this business venture.
A Meditation community and building, a Hindu temple, and a Native American spiritual center each share property lines on three sides with the proposed venues. These spiritual centers have 30- to 40-plus years in this location, many people have built their homes and lives around them, and now we are all concerned our ceremonies and prayers which, in most cases, are practiced on a daily basis, will no longer be possible. The loss of these places of worship should be tangible to everyone. It is difficult for me to imagine anyone taking vows before their creator and beginning the most significant relationship of their lives in such a place knowing they are ruining other families’ homes as well as destroying places of worship.
The property is part of one of the most significant Native American historical sites in Texas, and how it came to be owned by the Blacks has its own story. The longtime owner of the tract, mindful of its historic and cultural importance, as well as the sensitive nature of both its neighbors and geology, sold it to a developer after being promised he would build three or four estate homes there. The developer then flipped it to the Blacks after realizing the land had a 12% impervious cover limit due to being an integral part of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
Lastly, yes, property rights are part of the freedom we enjoy, but freedom requires certain responsibilities, part of which is respect and consideration for each other. Otherwise, none of us can be free.
Thanks,
Bob Logan

Electro Purification is baaaaack in Hays County: proposes to draw 2.5 million gallons of Trinity Aquifer water A DAY

https://tespatexas.org/events/impacts-of-the-ep-permit

Join the Fight to Protect the Wimberley Valley 
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at Blue Hole Pavilion
It is ironic that an area famous for its beautiful rivers, creeks and springs, an area which suffered so much from recent massive flooding, is now seriously threatened by a lack of water.
Save Our Water
In 2014-2015, a company called Electro Purification (EP) attempted a massive water grab from our area’s already declining Trinity Aquifer. In response, hundreds of Save Our Wells signs went up, a true grassroots resistance began and a coalition of groups, including Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD), organized to resist EP. Leading that fight in the legislature was the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) a donation-funded, non-profit association that formed up to resist EP’s get-richer plans.
With everyone working together, including local politicians, churches, businesses and countless individuals, the people of the Wimberley area finally – and narrowly – won a temporary victory in the state legislature. But there were still billions of dollars to be made from our area’s water.
EP is Back
In truth, it never went away. EP now has a pending permit application to the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) to pump 2.5 million gallons of Trinity Aquifer water A DAY. That’s about 912 MILLION gallons a year. The Trinity is the aquifer that supplies the water to Wimberley area wells, Wimberley area springs and Wimberley area water companies.
TESPA is hosting a public information meeting on “Impacts of the EP Permit” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 15 at the Pavilion in Blue Hole Regional Park. The Pavilion is located across from the Playscape on the park’s loop drive. Admission to the park and meeting is free.
Representatives of TESPA will present information on the damage to property owners’ wells and the Trinity Aquifer that could occur if the EP request is not blocked or greatly modified.
“TESPA has serious concerns about the unknown consequences (the EP) project will have on the long-term sustainability of the Trinity Aquifer,” said TESPA Executive Director Vanessa Puig-Williams.
And Don’t Forget Needmore
TESPA – and CARD – are also very concerned about the pending groundwater production permit application to BSEACD by the aptly named Needmore Ranch, right next to Wimberley on the east. TESPA is actively fighting that application.
Needmore aims to pump water out of the Middle Trinity at the rate of about 791,780 gallons a day. That’s 289 MILLION gallons more a year! Aquifer level modeling by the BSEACD predicts that – if Needmore is allowed to do this – there will be a 140-foot water level drawdown in just seven years. No one can say for sure how badly that will affect local springs, but it will sure affect nearby wells, and rapidly speed the draining of the Trinity.
Together EP and Needmore are proposing to suck a potential 1.2 billion gallons of water per year out of our much-stressed Trinity aquifer. Most of the EP water is already earmarked for development outside Hays County, and will be carried away by massive pipelines. Needmore says it wants its water for “agricultural” purposes, but imagine if water-enriched Needmore was sold to developers for thousands of home sites.
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development urges every Wimberley Valley and Wimberley area citizen who cares about the vitality of our water and all the springs, creeks, wells, plants, trees and people that water nourishes, to attend Tuesday’s TESPA meeting to learn more about how to stop this threat.
– CARD Steering Committee

Hays Free Press: Development over recharge zone draws concern

https://haysfreepress.com/2018/04/25/development-over-recharge-zone-draws-concern/

Anxieties over the impact a proposed masterplanned development along FM 967 near Buda could have on neighbors and the Edwards Aquifer is steadily rising. 

According to community organizers, the development, located in Dripping Springs’ extraterritorial jurisdiction, calls for 1,200 homes to be built out on almost 800 acres of land. The development is located over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. 

However, variance requests outlined in the proposed development agreement with Dripping Springs have left neighbors concerned about what the growth could mean for them.

Jannine Inbody, who lives downhill from the proposed development site, organized a town hall meeting April 19 at Southern Hills Church of Christ in Buda, where about 60 of her fellow neighbors discussed their concerns and the actions they can take….

Read more…

Austin Chronicle: True Love and Lawsuits in the Wedding Capital of Texas ‘Til death do us party

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2018-04-27/true-love-and-lawsuits-in-the-wedding-capital-of-texas/

All Gregory George wanted was some peace and quiet. In 2013, the 41-year-old former Texas General Land Office agent and his wife Staci bought a 10.8-acre plot just outside of Dripping Springs, in a development protected by residential-only deed restrictions. Their plan was to build their dream home and start a family. But that dream turned into a nightmare, George said, when his neighbors decided to open up a wedding venue right next to his new home. Now, he spends his days meeting with lawyers, and nights canvassing his property line with a sound meter.

According to George, his neighbor Jani Saliga came over three days before he poured the foundation for his house and told him she was planning to turn her existing home into a wedding venue. George was surprised: His property came with a neighborhood covenant that prohibited commercial business, and he was told by his real estate agent and his title company that it applied to the properties on both sides of his lot. Saliga, however, says she was unaware of any deed restrictions on her property. George went ahead and built his home adjacent to Saliga’s, on the highest point on his lot, sure the covenant would work. Saliga and her husband also proceeded with their plan, turning their home into what is now the Garden Grove Wedding and Event Venue.

When they began to host weddings in April of 2016, tensions escalated between the Georges and the Saligas. The weddings, which George claims sometimes include live bands that play until midnight, occur about 250 feet from his back porch. George and the neighbors who live on the opposite side of the Saligas’ property filed a lawsuit against them and Garden Grove to enforce the residential-only covenant in June of 2016.

Read more…

North Rutherford Development: ~1100+ houses proposed for 781 acres in the recharge zone

Meeting to discuss North Rutherford Development Project
Thursday, April 19, 7:00pm
Southern Hills Church of Christ
3740 RR 967
Buda, TX 78610

Organizer: Jeannine Inbody <jeannine@inbody.net>

From our northern Hays County neighbor Ryan Krause:

And from our northern Hays County neighbor Mark Strauss re: this same project, a petition:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/rutherford-ranch-north?source=s.fwd&r_by=20000074

Notice of Proposed Rutherford North Development Agreement

A Concept Plan Presentation will be made by the Rutherford North Owner’s Representative during the April 24, 2018 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting at 6:30pm at City Hall located at 511 Mercer Street, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620. A Public Hearing will follow the presentation, during which time all interested persons have the opportunity to be heard regarding the proposed Rutherford North Development Agreement. No action will be taken during this meeting. The subject property is approximately 781.23 acres of land located southeast of the city limits in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, north RR 967 and west of Oak Forest Drive.

The proposed development will be a master-planned residential community with open space and environmental preservation areas. The proposed Development Agreement will include several provisions, including but not limited to the following: provision of housing; provision of parks, open space, and recreation; environmental and water quality protection; maximum density and impervious cover; outdoor lighting; and signage. The proposed project includes, but is not limited to, the following proposed variances/alternative standards: building setbacks; maximum impervious cover; lot widths and depths; minimum lot area; sidewalks; street standards; and cuts and fills.

The draft Development Agreement is available for public inspection during regular business hours at City Hall. If you have any questions or comments, please contact City Hall in writing at P.O. Box 384, Dripping Springs, TX 78620, by telephone at (512) 858-4725, or by email to acunningham@cityofdrippingsprings.com.

 

Three tracts combine to form the proposed project site, all of it sited in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

Additional documentation:
NorthRutherford_300ftbuffer_map+City_notificationletter RutherfordRanch_DevelopmtAgreemt_PublicCopyDRAFT

KXAN (NBC, Austin): Neighbors sue each other over wedding venue in Hays County

http://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/neighbors-sue-each-other-over-wedding-venue-in-hays-county/1124606849

By Chris Davis

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – The owners of more than 12 acres of land in Hays County, who were recently sued by their neighbors over their occasional use of the house they built as a wedding venue, filed a lawsuit of their own this month against those same neighbors.

A judge ruled last October that Jani and Shon Saliga were allowed to keep renting out their home between Buda and Dripping Springs to host weddings. The couple filed a lawsuit this month against the neighboring property owners who sued them, alleging the neighbors are intentionally disrupting weddings held there.

Jani Saliga told KXAN she originally bought the land and built the home for her and her husband to retire to, and it wasn’t until real estate agents suggested it could be a venue that the pair turned it into Garden Grove.  Read more…

Dallas News: Nothing funny about carpetbaggers trying to run Dallas Comedy House out of Deep Ellum

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/04/13/nothing-funny-carpetbaggers-trying-run-dallas-comedy-house-deep-ellum

by  Robert Wilonsky, City Columnist, Dallas News

…. Frank had attached a lengthy Facebook post from Amanda Austin, owner of the Dallas Comedy House on Main Street, in which she detailed how the comedy club and improv workshop was getting the boot from her Deep Ellum digs by a carpetbagging landlord — Black Market Investments, out of Lockhart — wanting to sink yet another barbecue joint in the neighborhood. Austin would tell me later that she tried to keep the whole thing a secret, hoping it would be resolved to everyone’s benefit, till it became painfully clear her days were numbered….

Austin, who has two years left on her lease, has known for three months that her days on Main could be winding down. In mid-January she discovered her building had been bought by something called Black Market Investments — so named for Terry Black, a Lockhart CPA, and his children Christina, Michael and Mark Black. Michael and Mark also own Terry Black’s Barbecue in Austin, so named for their dad after a legal tussle with their uncle Ken left them unable to use the original Black’s Barbecue moniker made famous by their grandfather Edgar Clarence Black Jr.

The lengthy letter alleged she was violating the lease by holding shows there. And by hosting classes and workshops. And by serving food and drink. And so on. The new landlords also alleged the building was one giant code violation. Kane’s letter said Austin had 10 days to fix everything or else. And so began the back-and-forth between Black Market’s attorneys and Austin’s lawyers.

On March 2, J. Michael Ellis, who reps Austin, told Kane that Black Market might want to reconsider its attempts to oust Dallas Comedy House for a barbecue restaurant. Ellis wrote that the Lockhartites’ “contrived efforts to remove Dallas’s largest and longest continually-active comedy theater from its space are unlawful, in violation of the Lease and represent a malicious scheme that will certainly interest the Dallas courts, local publications and the Dallas community.” Read more…

ABC News, Dallas: Black Market Investments trying to push out Dallas comedy club (Deep Ellum neighborhood)

http://www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/dallas-comedy-house-owner-says-she-wont-be-bullied-by-company-trying-to-push-her-out/287-537709346

Dallas Comedy House owner says she ‘won’t be bullied’ by company trying to push her out

Dallas Comedy House owner Amanda Austin said the new landlord has been looking for alleged defaults in her lease for months, and she is now facing a termination of tenancy notice.

DALLAS – A Lockhart, Texas-based investment company is trying to push out a local comedy club from the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, according to the comedy club’s owner.

Black Market Investments, the group behind Terry Black’s BBQ in Austin, bought the 6,800-square-foot space on Main Street in January, records show.  Read more…

 

 

KVUE-Austin: Local wedding venue, neighbors in legal battle

‘I’m hostage on my own land’ | Local wedding venue, neighbors in legal battle

“I’m just waiting to be served any day,” said the homeowner.
Controversy has filled the air in the wedding capital of Texas.
Homeowners in Dripping Springs are fighting a back-and-forth legal battle with a well-known wedding venue off FM 967.

Read the rest…