About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
Most Popular Stories
Discover News By District
Travis County to seek City of Austin aid to finish Texas Industries deal
Joe Gieselman, former head of the County’s Transportation and Natural Resources division, is serving as a consultant for the county on the matter. Gieselman told commissioners that his successor, Steve Manilla wrote Austin City Manager Marc Ott to gauge the city’s interest in the deal. Gieselman added that the county received a response from
“The City of
The area contains a swath of land owned by TXI along the Colorado River near the
According to a briefing paper,
In advance of a Tuesday public hearing on the matter, commissioners learned that they had three basic options. A comprehensive agreement could provide a buffer to insulate area residents from the sights and sounds of an ongoing mining operation. It could also, argues the briefing paper, provide “for a more comprehensive set of measures and considerations, such as open space acquisition and donations.”
This option would find the county, TXI, and the City of
The court could also try to buy a 587-acre tract of land from TXI that sits in the middle of its proposed operations. That move would have the effect of cutting off the potential haul road but, according to the briefing paper, mining operations would continue but TXI trucks would now use county roads instead of the haul road. The action would also likely take some form of condemnation for the city to acquire the land. That, according to the paper, could get expensive.
The third option for the county would be for it to do nothing. With that option, TXI would still operate its mines and the county would lose the ability to negotiate for additional buffers or conservation lands.
Developer Jim Carpenter, who is the managing partner for the Webber’s Crossing project, offered the court a fourth option. Carpenter told commissioners that he and his partners had offered to pay for a high-end conveyor belt that would replace TXI’s haul road. He suggested that the move would provide the parties with a more environmentally-friendly option and Carpenter and his colleagues with less dust than would be kicked up by trucks on a haul road.
Gieselman told commissioners that, though he had discussed the county’s take with TXI, they had yet to issue a formal response. “Everything that I have presented today has been presented to TXI. TXI has agreed to none of (it),” he said. “They understand that this goes to the city next so their question to me is ‘what else?’”
In the end, all of Biscoe’s colleagues except Commissioner Ron Davis agreed.
Join Your Friends and Neighbors
We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?