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District still seeking answers about developer’s plans for water service

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham

The mystery surrounding plans for a Hays County development by Jeremiah Venture continues to cause consternation among members of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEAD) board. The major concern is the apparent differences between what the developers may have told Buda officials about their plans and what is contained in papers filed with the state.


At last week’s BSEACD Board meeting, General Manager Kirk Holland said State Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) had filed a request With the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality for a public meeting on the development. The comment period is automatically extended to the time of the public meeting. No date for the meeting has been released.


At issue was the apparent discrepancies between what BSEACD Pct. 1 Director  Mary Stone had understood to be the development plans and what was filed in the recent application for a Texas Land Application Permit.


Holland said, “My understanding is that Jeremiah Venture made a presentation to the Buda planning and zoning department and in that there was representations made that Mary came away with that were not consistent with what was being depicted in the grant permits graphics and descriptions there.”  Stone was not present during the district meeting.


Environmental Permit Specialist John Dupnik told the board he had recently asked the engineer for Jeremiah Development where the water was going to come from and was told the developers “still don’t know.” There is speculation that it could be either from Hays-Trinity wells or piped in from Buda. Holland said that some of the developers with Jeremiah Ventures had been a part of the controversial Garlic Creek development in Buda.


Holland said there could be valid reasons for the changes in the plan, “if that’s the case in how this project evolved and developed over time…. But it just brings up the question, what is the real plan here?” A meeting between Stone and the developers is scheduled for today.


Holland also said that an unidentified group had also filed a request for a public hearing, in addition to the one Rose requested. “I’ve been presuming it was one of the local Austin environmental groups but they said they didn’t do it, so I’m not sure who did,” he said.

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