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Jeremiah Ventures Has Questions to Answer

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham

Directors of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District have joined State Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) in expressing concerns about a proposed subdivision off FM 967 in Hays County. Director Mary Stone, whose district encompasses the proposed development said, “It’s a development over the recharge and we need to ensure that everybody has access to clean water… In my mind, we need some questions answered.”

 

BSEAD is urging the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to hold a public meeting on the proposed development by Jeremiah Venture before moving forward on approval for a Texas Land Application Permit.

 

According to Stone, Jeremiah Venture’s backers include Lee Weber, who developed the controversial Garlic Creek West and Whispering Hollow subdivisions. Jeremiah Venture’s proposed development off FM 967 in Hays County will be for roughly 1300 homes. Stone told In Fact Daily that she recalled the size being somewhere between 200 and 600 acres.

 

Although the district voted to take no specific action, they discussed a number of concerns they had about the development. Chief among those worries is the impact of the developer’s plan to dispose of up to 333,000 gallons per day of treated domestic sewage via surface irrigation. Also of concern is the source for the development’s water.

 

Although the BSEACD has yet to signal its approval or opposition, additional questions arise from the development. Among the issues that remain unanswered, several are addressed in a letter to TCEQ: creek buffers; land application area soils; proximity to public water supply wells; and emerging contaminants.

 

Other concerns mentioned in the letter include the pollutant monitoring and analysis, which are required by the draft permit though not reported to the TCEQ Region or Headquarters. This later section of the letter addresses the TLAP permit that “seems to have been considered and reviewed by the TCEQ without the benefit of the information related to approved plats or…a Water Pollution Abatement Plan.”

 

Stone told In Fact Daily, “Before this development gets too far along we need to get all the stakeholders at the table.” She said that a meeting has been scheduled for March 19 between the BSEACD, LCRA and representatives of the developer. Additionally, she is working on arranging a sit-down with Jeremiah Venture, the SOS Alliance and the Sierra Club to address any other concerns before they become larger issues.

 

General Manager Kirk Holland told In Fact Daily “There’s a lot of moving parts associated with this development and we don’t really have all the information that we need to be able to judge whether it’s the disposal scheme is going to cause a problem or not. So we expressed our concerns and requested a public meeting…” He said he expects TCEQ will host the meeting in roughly a month to six weeks. 

 

Holland said, “We don’t really know precisely where the land application areas are… our understanding is there is no subdivision plat yet. But what’s presented in the application differs from what we understand had been presented to the Hudson Ranch Fresh Water Supply District.” 

 

Stone concluded, “I’m concerned about it; 1300 homes over the recharge zone is a huge issue.”

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