EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
MARBLE FALLS — The city of Marble Falls is considering annexing approximately 1,200 acres southwest of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection, including a parcel of a ranch where a proposed rock crusher has drawn the ire of nearby residents.
During its regular Sept. 19 meeting, the Marble Falls City Council approved a measure to begin the process to annex the land. The council also approved a resolution opposing Asphalt Inc.’s plan to build a rock crusher near Flat Rock Road and U.S. 281, which, according to the document, falls within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel said the proposed annexation would include approximately 40-50 percent of the 281 Creighton Ranch, where the rock crusher would be built.
The annexation, which has several steps still ahead of it, would allow Marble Falls to restrict use of the affected land as to not conflict with city plans for the surrounding area.
“A lot of the plan for that area includes residential and housing,” Kraenzel said.
Other uses could directly conflict with the residential concept or future residential development. The plan presented to the council shows future use of a large portion of the proposed annexation would be “neighborhood residential.”
Gregg Ranch — a large-scale, masterplanned community planned southwest of the 281-71 intersection — is already within the city limits. The development lies just north of the proposed rock crusher and east of the proposed annexation. An official with the development as well as several other people voiced their support of the planned annexation of the adjacent land during the council meeting.
Under the intent to annex plan, city officials sent letters to affected landowners. The city will hold the first of two public hearings on the proposed annexation at noon Tuesday, Oct. 24, at City Hall. A second one would come about a week later with a possible vote on annexation occurring Nov. 21.
Kraenzel added that the affected land might not fall under the city’s auspices right away, even if the council eventually moves to annex it.
“If the land is ag exempt, (property owners) can opt out of the annexation with the city for a set period of time,” he said. “But if they begin to develop the property, then it would be annexed.”
One of the misconceptions of annexation, Kraenzel pointed out, is the extent to which the city would have to offer city services, particularly regarding infrastructure. While Marble Falls would provide fire, police, building inspection, code enforcement, and animal control, annexation doesn’t mean the city would have to build roads or establish waterlines on the 1,200-plus acres.
“What the city has to do is provide utilities to the property in the condition that it was annexed,” he said. “So if there are two ranch houses on the land, then the city is only obligated to provide utility services for those two houses.”
Even then, the city wouldn’t have to immediately provide those utilities upon annexation.
If a property owner or developer decides to develop the land and build more homes, they are responsible for building out the necessary infrastructure.
Kraenzel pointed out that Gregg Ranch developers have already agreed to extend utility connections to the edges of that property, which would allow any developments outside of it to tap on to those connections.
In August, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality deemed Asphalt Inc.’s air-quality permit for the proposed rock crusher plant “technically complete” and began a state-mandated, 30-day public comment period, which will be followed by a 30-day TCEQ review period. An error on a publicly posted sign regarding the proposed rock crusher extended the public committing period until Oct. 9.
Along with the city of Marble Falls, the city of Horseshoe Bay also adopted a resolution during its Sept. 19 meeting voicing its opposition to the proposed rock crusher. The Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay resolutions request the TCEQ hold a contested hearing on the case.