Marble Falls rubbing shoulders with Round Mountain

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

As Marble Falls moves along a path to annex new property south of current city limits, it may have to negotiate extraterritorial jurisdiction territory with Round Mountain.

The Marble Falls City Council held public hearings on the annexation of 1,290 acres of land on Oct. 24 and Oct. 30 and it was at that second meeting that considerations about Round Mountain came to the agenda. This Tuesday night, Nov. 7, a second executive session will look at the boundaries of their most southerly neighbor.

Round Mountain got its U.S. Post Office in 1857, but it never incorporated until 1989, when it declared boundaries that, in most places, amount to US 281 right of way north and south of a center at the intersection of the highway and Ranch to Market Road 962 in Blanco County. It includes the the historic home of founder Joseph Bird and a few businesses that make up an oasis for north-south travelers and around 100 residents.

It's limits are 12 miles north of Johnson City and 11 miles south of Marble Falls. Extraterritorial jurisdiction for a General Law city the size of Round Mountain extends half a mile and, for Home Rule city of Marble Falls size, for a mile. The two may be overlapping and that would require the kind of realignment Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals and Marble Falls went through some years back.

Clearly, Marble Falls wants to know more.

At their Tuesday night executive session, the council could be discussing response to a letter the city directed to Round Mountain City Secretary Ingrid Moursund on Oct. 2. The Public Information request asks for:

  • all public notices, notices to property owners or third parties, and city council agendas;

  • all ordinances, orders, and/or resolutions relating to incorporation and annexation;

  • any maps or other back ground information related thereto;

  •  copies of any related surveys and/or renderings; and

  • all emails and other written communication between council members and/or city staff related to the requested information.

Although some stakeholders were in the audience, the first hearing on annexation of new southern property passed without public comment at a noon meeting of the Marble Falls City Council Oct. 24.

The city acted quickly to begin the annexation proceedings that should conclude Nov. 21, when it of a state permit application by the company Asphalt, Inc. for quarrying and a rock and asphalt crushing plant near parts of the city developing around Baylor Scott & White hospital.

Additional annexation would at least place more of the proposed project within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and amply a local government voice in such an operation.

Valerie Kreger, director of Development Services, who referred to the property as 1,290 acres, told the council a more recent and slightly smaller acreage determination would be attached to documentation for the second hearing set for noon Oct. 30.

The subject area proposed to be annexed is southwest of the current City Limit boundary, inclusive of the abutting US 281 and Texas 71 Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) right of way. The eastern portion abuts the west property line of the Gregg Ranch development annexed into the city in 2015.

The tracts already within the city that abut the new property include zonings of Agriculture District (AG) and Planned Development District (PDD), with base zoning districts of Single Family Residential (R-1) and Mixed Use (MU-1). The new property will be zoned an Agriculture District until owners file for rezoning, but the Marble Falls Comprehensive Plan foresees zoning as predominately Neighborhood Residential (NR) with some area closer to major roadways being Corridor Commercial (CC) and Transitional Residential (TR), Kreger explained.

“The primary purpose for municipal annexation is so cities have the ability to regulate future development within new lands abutting the City Limit consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan,” said Kreger. “The City of Marble Falls, area landowners and business owners have become aware of a permit application submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

for a potential rock crushing facility and associated supporting activities (quarrying, mining and trucking) within the city's ETJ on one of the tracts within the subject area. Due to concerns regarding the incompatibility of this proposed land use with the residential neighborhoods already planned and/or constructed on adjacent properties, as well as the predominate future land use of Neighborhood Residential planned for this area, city staff wanted to present the city council the opportunity to pursue land use authority of this area.

“The entire span of this annexation area is within the City of Marble Falls one-mile extraterritorial

jurisdiction.”

Kreger said the four individual land owners within the proposed area had been notified of their option to enter into development agreements that would postpone for five years annexation of property appraised for agriculture, wildlife management or timber production. Any other use of the land would be subject to voluntary annexation.

That option was taken only by Henry Hohenberger, responding for Hohenberger and Kreger said the agreement was being drafted for presentation also at the Nov. 21 council meeting.

“When one of these development agreements is approved by the city, the City Limit may 'leap frog' the subject property; the property on the other side of the subject property is considered to be abutting the City Limit for purposes of annexation,” Kreger explained.

Lewis Dowd, who previously had expressed reservations had sent correspondence opposing annexation of the Dowd Ranch, LLC property, according to Kreger.

“The staff has also received inquiries from owners of properties outside the annexation area, some in support of the annexation and some with concerns regarding expansion of the City’s ETJ and regulations in this area,” said the development director.

No council vote is required in the case of hearings, but they were opportunities for public comment. The vote on annexation will come Nov. 21.

 

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