Petition: Designate Texas Ranch-to-Market Roads 1826, 150 and 967 “Scenic Highways”

Here’s what our petition says:

From the wildflowers that Lady Bird Johnson adored, to the dramatic rise and fall of tree-covered limestone hills in the Texas Hill Country, our country roads are a treasure. Texas Ranch to Market Roads 1826, 150 and 967 reward travelers with natural vistas, cool clear creeks, and wide open skies filled with stars, sunrises, and sunsets every day.

We the undersigned want to keep the Texas Hill Country SCENIC.

Central Texas is experiencing explosive growth. Data from The U.S. Census Bureau shows Hays County is the 4th fastest-growing county in the United States (see https://communityimpact.com/austin/san-marcos-buda-kyle/city-county/2018/03/22/hays-county-ranked-4th-fastest-growing-county-country/ ).

The increase in the number of motorists along our Ranch to Market roads has triggered a proliferation of billboards on our roads. Billboards are not mere eyesores: their lighting endangers human health and pollutes the night skies that are iconic to this region of Texas.

Further, healthy Texans are productive Texans. We need our nighttime dark. Light pollution has a direct negative bearing on human health and circadian rhythms:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627884/

Artificial lights at night don’t just affect people. Wildlife is also affected negatively, with impacts on migration and reproduction:
http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/er-2014-0005#.XFxfwdFJnwc

Last but not least, billboards may have a negative impact on property values of nearby homes and neighborhoods.

For these reasons, we ask the Texas Legislature to acknowledge the value of these roads we love by designating Texas Ranch to Market Roads 1826, 150 and 967 as “Scenic Highways” in Hays County.

We ask the 86th Legislature to help preserve the scenic beauty and character of Ranch to Market Roads 1826, 150 and 967 by supporting legislation that keeps the beauty of the Texas Hill Country intact.

The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
May they be so, forever.

If you agree, please sign our petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/texas-house-representative-erin-zwiener-district-45-designate-texas-ranch-to-market-roads-1826-150-and-967-scenic-highways

SM Corridor News: Commissioners Approve Resolution In Support Of Legislation To Prohibit Billboards On Highways In Hays County

https://smcorridornews.com/commissioners-approve-resolution-in-support-of-legislation-to-prohibit-billboards-on-highways-in-hays-county/

….

Commissioners considered and approved the adoption of a resolution in support of Rep. Erin Zwiener’s House Bill 1303, which will add several highways in Hays County to a list of roadways where billboards will be prohibited.

The bill will add FM 1826, RM 150 and RM 967 to Section 391, Subchapter 1, of the Transportation Code, which lists certain state highways in Texas in which limitations on off-premise signage exist. …

 

Austin American Statesman: U.S. Judge rebuffs George P. Bush endangered species de-listing effort

https://www.statesman.com/news/20190207/us-judge-rebuffs-george-p-bush-endangered-species-de-listing-effort

The Golden Cheeked Warbler continues to be a federally protected endangered species.

Here’s a map of Golden Cheeked Warbler habitat in Central Texas:

Figure 1. Map inset shows (in red) the top 100 fastest
growing cities in the U.S. in golden-cheeked warbler
habitat breeding range.
Photo credit: USFWS

source:
https://www.fws.gov/ecological-services/highlights/07252016.html

 

Find out more about this shy migratory bird, and why it’s important:

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=B07W

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Balcones_Canyonlands/GCW.html

 

 

KXAN: Neighbors file suit against Terry Black’s BBQ wedding venue

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/hays/neighbors-file-suit-against-terry-black-s-bbq-wedding-venue/1560956550

 

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — The dispute continues between Hays County residents and one of the biggest names in Texas barbeque.

The Black family, behind Terry Black’s barbeque in Austin, has purchased property near Dripping Springs with the hopes of turning it into a large wedding venue. Neighbors have fought the project before, but now they have filed a lawsuit.

KVUE: Neighborhood bringing lawsuit to meeting about Austin barbecue pit masters’ wedding venue

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/neighborhood-bringing-lawsuit-to-meeting-about-austin-barbecue-pit-masters-wedding-venue/269-609103909

 

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — One day before Mark Black of Terry’s BBQ is reportedly set to appear before the Hays County Commissioners Court to discuss a wastewater permit, a Hays County subdivision is planning to appear to bring its pending lawsuit to light.

The board of trustees with the Radiance subdivision — a community of about 100 people approximately 20 miles southwest of downtown Austin — said they filed a lawsuit on Sept. 26 with the Hays County State District Court in regard to a road called Concord Circle.

Contested Case Hearing Starts Monday, August 20, 2018: SOS Alliance Opposes City of Dripping Springs’ Wastewater Discharge to Onion Creek

Signal boost: Initial hearing is now upon us.
Members of the public are welcome to attend.

9am, Monday, August 20, 2018 in the State Office of Administrative Hearings
300 W 15th Street (the William Clements State Office Building, northwest corner of 15th and Guadalupe)
4th floor
Austin, TX 78701

There’s a bulletin board near the elevators that gives the exact a hearing room.

The backstory from  https://www.sosalliance.org/latest-news/992-dripping-springs-permit-referred-to-contested-case-hearing.html

A state administrative law judge will hear arguments for and against the proposed sewage permit, and issue a recommendation to the TCEQ commissioners, who will make the decision on whether to grant the permit and if so, the permit’s terms. The hearing process is to be completed within six months of the initial hearing.

Environmental groups, well users, and downstream property owners have many concerns about the plan, including pollution of groundwater that would adversely affect drinking water, recreation, and habitat for aquatic species. Earlier this year, a dye trace study revealed that Onion Creek supplies water to domestic wells in the Dripping Springs area, and a report was recently published documenting the presence of Barton Springs Salamanders in Onion Creek.

To show your support for a ban on discharging wastewater into creeks that recharge Barton Springs, sign the petition at nodrippingsewage.org.

 

 

 

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