PRESS RELEASE October 31, 2002

PRESS RELEASE

October 31, 2002
Dripping Springs, Texas

The Friendship Alliance to File Suit against City of Dripping Springs for faulty Development Agreements
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PRESS CONFERENCE

Where: Dripping Springs City Council Offices
When: Friday, November 1, 2002 3PM

The Action: Seeking Declaratory and Injunctive Relief from the City of Dripping Springs to overturn two Development Agreements considered illegal in the opinion of The Friendship Alliance.

The Development Agreements: The Rutherford-Cypress and Foster-Belterra Development Agreements which cover two major developments encompassing 4300 acres in the city’s 120 square mile Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), one of the largest ETJs in the State of Texas.

The Reasons:

  1. Lack of open and inclusive government
  2. Lack of City engineering oversight
  3. Violation of State Statutes and DS Planning and Zoning rules in creation of the Agreements
  4. 25 year term and transferability of the Agreements

The Impacts:

  1. Schools and taxes were not considered
  2. Roads, their safety and taxes were not considered
  3. 25 year terms illegally binding on future city governments
  4. Degradation of the rural character and quality of life
  5. Water availability, water quality, and run-off impacts
  6. Incompatibility with the CAMPO/Hays County Road Plan

During the past 18 months the City has approved new developments that will nearly double the existing population of the ETJ without the aid of a professional planner. Because of this, The Friendship Alliance seeks both short and long term solutions.

Short Term Goals

  1. The two development agreements declared null and void and then renegotiated before further work could be performed.
  2. A development moratorium on further plats.

Longer Term Goals

  1. Creation of a Regional Plan for the Dripping Springs area and integration of this with the Envision Central Texas plan.
  2. Upgrade the governance capability of Dripping Springs regarding the administration its 75,000 acre ETJ.
  3. Suitable planning and engineering capability enacted to fulfill the requirements of and ensure the conformance with future development rules.
  4. Compliance with the Austin Interlocal Agreement
  5. Elimination of conflicts of interest within the City Gov’t.
  6. Protection of the rural character of Dripping Springs
  7. Ample and connected open spaces
  8. Protection of the quality of our air and aquifers
  9. A safe and effective transportation system with planning that includes the county
  10. Continued excellent schools, but with comprehensive school planning in conjunction with the DSISD
  11. Reasonable and expected property tax rates
  12. Housing plans compatible with the rural character and transportation infrastructure
  13. Support for preservation of a viable agricultural sector
  14. Creating the ability to vote for residents of the ETJ in matters that affect their future

The City of Dripping Springs needs to complete the changes that will ensure the establishment of a comprehensive planning process. A process that includes broad citizen input, including those living in, and affected by the ETJ growth. DS should do so before continuing the negotiation and implementation of any more of these broad Development Agreements that will adversely affect the safety, health and welfare of these citizens.



Other information related to this headline:

Dripping Springs Sued Over Deals – Austin American Statesman – 11.2.2002


Other News below >>

Cypress Realty and Makar Development pull a fast one – maybe

Two developers were drinking champagne one evening in Austin. The first developer turns to the second and says, “George, I have a confession to make. I’m having an affair.” The friend just stares at him for a second or two, mouth wide open, before he can stutter out the words, “Oh my god. So tell me, who’s catering?” The first developer points towards the west, and exclaims – “Why, the City of Dripping Springs, of course.”

Does this joke sound too unrealistic? Can a City Attorney find love and happiness with two developers? According to the City of Dripping Springs and two questionable development agreements, it was possible.



Plans call for thousands of homes in Hays County

Mary Alice Piasecki Austin Business Journal Staff

The City of Dripping Springs has approved two separate development agreements that envision bringing thousands of homes as well as commercial development to more than 4,000 acres in northern Hays County.

Complete story in the Austin Business Journal.

An Alliance of Friends

by Amy Smith
(Original story at: Austin Chronicle on September 21, 2001)

A Baptist church, a Transcendental Meditation colony, and a Hindu temple are all landmarks within a few miles of one another along a stretch of roadway that cuts across the rolling countryside of northern Hays County. It’s peaceful here, but not as peaceful, certainly, as it was when Rae Smith was growing up in the Thirties. She learned the three R’s in the one-room wooden schoolhouse that served on Sundays as the Friendship Baptist Church. Back then, Bear Creek, a natural spring, ran year-round alongside the church, and parishioners would stand on the grassy banks singing, “We Shall Gather at the River” when one of their own was baptized in the clear, cold water. The creek is dry now, dammed by new subdivisions further upstream, and the Rev. Sam Shurtleff — Brother Sam, as he is called — relies on old-fashioned tap water to baptize folks, indoors, in a newer version of the church built in the late Sixties.

Like her spiritual neighbors, Smith, also lives along FM 1826, on the same land her father worked from morning to night. She is a lifelong member of Friendship Baptist. Until about 10 years ago, Smith could sit on her front porch without having to raise her voice to be heard above the constant whoosh of pickups and Suburbans. Even property-rights advocates like Smith long for the rural hominess that existed before a Central Texas explosion of growth began pock-marking the hilly landscape[….

Go to the full story:
http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001-09-21/pols_feature3.html