Crushing plant plans to be Beautification Project neighbor

Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

According to a notice published in The Highlander Friday, Sept. 1, the southernmost edge of the City of Marble Falls is to be the site of a new rock and concrete crushing plant.

Asphalt, Inc., the company against which the Spicewood Community was unsuccessful in its attempts to block a hot mix plant, has applied for an air permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Citizens have just 30 days to submit comments in the process.

The notice comes just as Central Texas-Gateway to the Hill Country Beautification Project has set Saturday, Sept. 9 as the seeding of the intersection of US 281 and Texas 71. Members of that non-profit organization have been working closely with the new Gregg Ranch development.

Both of them are expressing concern already.

The TCEQ is in what they are calling “hurricane response mode.” Calls for assistance and information are stacking up and the engineer in charge was unavailable Friday afternoon. However the company consulting on the application was able to be a little more specific than the published notice.

The notice refers to an intersection of Flat Rock Road and US 281 as the site.

“Flat Rock Road appears to be is County Road 403,” said Eric Shelander, environmental specialist with Westward Environmental. “The entrance is to be 90 feet west of US 281 and the site is approximately 2.6 miles south of the intersection of Texas 71.”

As the crow flies, that would place the plant very near the new Baylor Scott & White Hospital, as well.

“It is not in the Marble Falls City Limits, but we are still trying to determine if it might be in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction,” said Caleb Kraenzel, assistant city manager and director of development.

“Typically, opposition to rock plants is unsuccessful,” said Herb Darling, director of Burnet County Environmental Services. “We have contested a few because of our roads, but even if an area was covered in dust, the particles were found to be larger that what was considered to be bad.

“In Texas you can build a beautiful new home and a rock crusher can build next door.”

That is exactly the complaint Burnet County and others have expressed in unsuccessful attempts to gain zoning or development permitting authority.

“The important thing is the deadline,” said Fernando Hinojosa of the TCEQ Public Education Program. “Comments or requests for informational meetings must be received by the deadline. In this case, because 30 days from publication of the notice falls on a weekend, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. will be the deadline.

“When comments are received they are stamped with a date, so they must be received by Oct. 2.”

Written public comments about the application may be submitted to: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-1-5, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087, or electronically at www.tceq.texas.gov/about/comments.html.

Meetings that result from requests are not hearings on a project, but more on the order of question and answer gatherings. Such a meeting would be based on the number of requests received, Hinojosa said.

No less than 30 days after the comment period a decision is made. At some point after the comment period closes, the executive director of TCEQ sends out a written response to all “relevant comments” and the decision on the application will be mailed to everyone who submits a comment and requests to be added to a mailing list.

Most applications, such as one pending for a Collier Materials, Inc. crushing plant on Farm to Market Road 1850 are available in local libraries. Comments on that application are due Sept. 17, according to the notice published in The Highlander on Aug. 18.

In the case of the proposed new Asphalt, Inc. plant, the only source location listed is the TCEQ Central Office at 121 Park 34 Circle, Building A, Room 179, Austin. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The TCEQ Public Education Program office can be reached at 1-800-687-4040 and Shelander's office number is 830-249-8284. This Internet shortcut should take you to a copy of the notice: http://bit.ly/2gqj2ht

Rate this article: 
No votes yet