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A site development plan for Mark Black's Wedding Venues (now "Black Ranch") in the Goldenwood, Goldenwood West, Radiance neighborhoods (and for individual landowners along Crystal Hills Drive) is pending approval with City of Dripping Springs Planning & Zoning on January 23rd, 6:30pm at Dripping Springs City Hall.

YOU MUST ACT NOW TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY VALUES AND WAY OF LIFE
  1. 300 cars per day (estimated) on Friday-Sunday on Crystal Hill Drive. Traffic will back up similar to holiday traffic at the Hindu temple on RR1826. There is no legal requirement for county to widen Crystal Hills Drive to deal with this added traffic.
  2. Huge commercial operation with loud, amplified music impacting our neighborhoods and families, including at night.
  3. Proposal is for two large wedding venues with a total capacity of 600 people, with vehicles and busses clogging our two-lane county road. Many wedding venues typically run more than one wedding per day. Black Market Investments LLC has millions of dollars in loans to pay back. Do the math.
  4. A TABC application is planned to serve alcohol at both commercial venues
  5. The developer will not commit to City of Dripping Springs' official International Dark Sky Community guidelines.
  6. No consideration is being afforded to your reduced property values.
  7. No consideration for additional traffic load during an emergency evacuation of residents using Crystal Hills Drive in the event of wildfires: all of this is entirely legal. Fire Chief Scott Collard of North Hays County Fire and Rescue has literally signed off on this project. Chief Collard recommends "sheltering in place" if you can't get out.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Join the Friendship Alliance's opposition

Attend the City of Dripping Springs Public Hearings on January 23rd, and February 13th--tell city officials what you think. Speak with Black Market Investments LLC. Help us forge a written commitment by the developer to be 'good neighbors' as part of a contract with our HOAs/POAs and The Friendship Alliance.

Some facts at a glance:

Who: BLACK MARKET INVESTMENTS LLC
208 North Main St.
Lockhart, TX 78644

Members: Terry Black, -------------, Mark Black, Michael Black

Where: MARK BLACK WEDDING VENUE (also called Black Market Wedding Venue)

Proposed for: 130 West Concord Circle, Austin, TX 78737, impacting Goldenwood, Goldenwood West, Radiance, and other neighborhoods

What: 2 event buildings capable of hosting 300 guests each for a maximum total of 600 people onsite
+ assorted staff (caterers, setup and breakdown crews, office support)
+ 3000+ square foot commercial kitchen
+ administrative office building
+ 1 well
+ 1 On-site Sewage Facility
+ 2 parking lots: approximately 153 parking spaces at Venue A and 136 at Venue B, and since one venue alone may accommodate up to 300 guests and up to 300 cars. Thus overflow parking can be expected on naturally vegetated areas affecting filter strips and fire lanes.
+ Wedding DJ music (noise)
+ Live bands (more noise)
+ Aerial Fireworks (noise/fire hazard and no commitment not to use)
+ Reduced property values

City of Dripping Springs has two public hearings scheduled:

23 January 2018: Dripping Springs City Hall Planning & Zoning Public Hearing (hearing starts at 6:30pm, City says get there early)

13 February 2018: Dripping Springs City Hall City Council Public Hearing (hearing starts at 6:30pm, City says get there early)

____________________________________

Rebuttals to common misconceptions about the Black's proposed project, including rebuttal to "it could be much worse."

"The Blacks say they have been meeting with neighbors and are responding to neighbor concerns."

Answer:
The Blacks showed a presentation to some neighbors at the Driftwood Volunteer Fire House on 27 July 2017, informing attendees of this project. Neighbors voiced concerns after the presentation. These concerns still stand--they are neither addressed nor resolved. There have been zero productive meetings resulting in commitments in writing. Concerned homeowners and property owners sharing common boundaries with the Black's parcel have been repeatedly told to speak to the Black's lawyers.

"Be happy it's not a 200-house residential development."

Answer:
Superficially plausible but actually wrong and in fact illegal. The entire 64-acre parcel lies either in the Barton Springs Contributing Zone or Recharge Zone (even more stringent rules). The maximum density for any residential development on the Black's land would be 10-15 houses by law: 10% impervious cover for the entire tract, or about 6.4 "paved acres" is the maximum allowed.

"Be happy it's not a cement factory or pig farm--it's only an event venue."

Answer:
Superficially plausible but actually wrong. The amount of engineering required to keep everything on 6.4 paved acres and observe water protection rules (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) would make a pig farm or cement factory economically unfeasible to operate. No banker in his or her right mind would loan money on a business plan with those parameters; the return on such an investment would be far too long. And the project itself has two buildings at 300 guests each (600 total), each building could easily be used for several events per day.

"You can't do anything. The laws aren't on your side. Just give up."

Answer:
We have been doing things from 27 July 2017 up to this point, and the Blacks do not have their permits yet. Those could have been had August 2017. We have found multiple flaws in their processes (engineering, public notification, etc.), all along the way. We have all legal means at our disposal to register our dissent with this project. All we have been asking for, from July 2017 to this moment, is face to face productive dialogue between the members of Black Market Investments LLC (members of the Black family) and all affected, concerned property owners. We are asking for good neighbors. We need good neighbors. Our neighborhoods have been here for over 30 years. Thirty! We have paid our taxes, taken care of our family, friends, neighbors and property. We will not stop now. We must not stop now.

"I like barbecue."

Answer:
Do you like the possibility of drunk drivers close to your home and family and pets? Like the idea of escalated wear and tear on our narrow county-maintained road? Do you go for a walk (maybe with your dog) outside in your neighborhood with no sidewalks? Are you sensitive about property values? Thinking about additional fire hazards? Emergency evacuation complications? The Black's have applied to TABC for a liquor license for their 600-guest event venue. You will undoubtedly be sharing your neighborhood and its roads and connectors with people who have had alcohol to drink.

"I am too busy to deal with all this."

Answer:
The lives and property and value you can protect are your own. What are those truly worth to you? We have been advised, and now we do need as many people as possible for public participation on the evenings of 23 January and 13 February to show up at Dripping Springs City Hall. Make a party of it, like a tailgate party. Bring a neighbor you know can't drive at night. Bring your kids or the neighbor's kids, and show them what civil engagement and public participation in our great nation's political process looks like. It's Civics Class 101 only real.

"Roy and Penny Williams run Chapel Dulcinea wedding venue, and everything is fine so far. What do you have against wedding venues?"

Answer: Roy and Penny Williams are conscientious. Model citizens.

Talk to our neighbors (some with infant children) affected by the Garden Grove Wedding Venue who can't even sleep in their own houses with the doors and windows shut--every single weekend--because of fireworks, live bands, wedding DJ music and more. These affected homeowners lost their first lawsuit and are now on appeal. We all need good neighbors. We need livable neighborhoods. We need homes that feel like homes, and not, as one neighbor said recently about Garden Grove, feel "like a warzone."

"I need more information. There's too much to know. This is hard."

Answer: Please come learn more about our neighbors, our neighborhood, and our future together.


Friendship Alliance community organizing meetings are hosted by Radiance Foundation, a 501(c)3 Texas nonprofit directly affected by its proximity to the Black's Wedding Venue project. Its building, the Radiance Dome, has been the home of silent meditation for more than 30 years. As you can guess, silence and wedding DJ music and live bands and fireworks definitely are not compatible. We are grateful for their donation of meeting space.