Group works to break up rock-crushing operation south of Gregg Ranch

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

A rock-crushing operation is proposed just southwest of the fledgeling Gregg Ranch development at the intersection of U.S. 281 and Texas 71 in southern Burnet County. Google Maps

A rock-crushing operation is proposed just southwest of the fledgeling Gregg Ranch development at the intersection of U.S. 281 and Texas 71 in southern Burnet County. Google Maps

MARBLE FALLS —A beautification group and community leaders have launched a battle against a proposed rock-crushing operation just south of the U.S. 281 and Texas 71 intersection in southern Burnet County.

Officials and nearby residents have expressed concerns about Asphalt Inc.’s pending air-quality permit application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which was deemed “technically complete” by the state agency on Aug. 21.

The Austin-based company now awaits a state-mandated, 30-day public comment period followed by another 30-day review period by the TCEQ executive director for final approval.

According to the air-quality permit application, the rock-crushing operation will be located a couple of miles south of Texas 71 on the westside of U.S. 281, 90 feet from Flat Rock Road in Burnet County.

The location is just south of the fledgling 700-home Gregg Ranch development, a proposed 240-acre residential project just southwest of the highway intersection.

Soc Gonzalez of the Gateway to the Hill Country Beautification Project said the specter of the rock-crushing operation casts a shadow on an effort Sept. 9 to begin beautification efforts on 10 acres at the highway intersection.

“We’re (wildflower) seeding this weekend, doing it all day Saturday,” Gonzales said. “(A rock-crushing operation) puts a totally different environment into that part of the county. It industrializes it.”

Gonzalez has started distributing leaflets to nearby residents and community leaders to alert them about the organization’s concerns.

“It’s a bad thing for the long-term benefits of the Marble Falls and Burnet County community because it industrializes an area that should be zoned for commercial and residential development,” Gonzales said. “There’s truck traffic, air pollution because of the dust, vibration of the ground because of all the dynamiting they do to break up the rock, the dark skies will be gone.

“All we can do is inform the public that has a voice in Burnet County,” Gonzalez added.

The area in question is located outside the city limits south of Marble Falls and north of the Round Mountain city limits.

For the past several years, both cities have worked to annex southward and northward to expand residential development opportunities and control such activities; however, the location of the proposed rock-crushing operation falls just outside of either city’s jurisdiction.

“The county has no land-use authority for situations like this,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “I empathize with the adjacent property owners that have to deal with what they deem is undesirable land use.”

If approved, Asphalt Inc. might need to work with the Texas Department of Transportation on entryway requirements.

“TxDOT is going to have to be involved. We know it’s going to have heavy truck traffic,” Oakley added. “We hope TxDOT will utilize its rules and regulations to ensure that a responsible entrance with acceleration and deceleration lanes and, hopefully, center-turn lanes are included with the permitting of the project.”

As many as a half-dozen rock-crushing operations and quarries currently operate in Burnet County, including three on the U.S. 281 corridor between Marble Falls and Burnet.

Several gravel operations, including another belonging to Asphalt Inc., have surfaced on Texas 71 between Marble Falls and the unincorporated Spicewood area, east of the U.S. 281 intersection.

“It’s unfortunate the communities allowed this to happen without much planning,” Gonzalez said.

A public comment period connected to the air-quality application is underway.

Written comments may be submitted to the Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087, or online HERE.

“For those who already have houses, they never dreamed of having a rock quarry beside them,” Oakley said. “It’s certainly understandable for those who live in the area or have residential development plans that it may not be favorable to have a rock quarry in the vicinity.”

Attempts to get comments from Asphalt Inc. were unsuccessful.

connie@thepicayune.com

18 Responses to “Group works to break up rock-crushing operation south of Gregg Ranch”

  1. steve says:

    Hmm. The people who are planning on building the Gregg ranch sure do need their crushed rock materials and asphalt for their development. You would think they would welcome a supplier close by. Sounds like another case of nimby. Put it in someone else’s neighborhood.

    • landowner says:

      No Steve, the land owners near by and potential homeowners DO NOT want rock dust, air pollution, and major truck traffic/debris damaged vehicles. There are PLENTY of suppliers down the road on 71, we DONT need or want one next door bringing the value of our area down. We bought land here because we wanted to be AWAY from industry, not NEXT to it, not the mention the AMAZING aquifer recharge zone that will be a mile from this site. STOP degrading our natural resources in the name of money. Find another location where businesses alike have already been established! This will be sickening if this is allowed.

      • steve says:

        Oh i,m pretty sure most of the owners do not want it and I don’t really blame them especially those who were already in the area. Have you asked the owner of the land where this operation is going why they are allowing it or has asphalt Inc already bought the land? Are they leasing the land?

  2. Candice says:

    IS THIS A JOKE ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME????????? Because our speed limit was just RAISED to 75 (after a fatality might I add), can’t even turn onto 403 as it is, now there will be even more traffic and noise among a million other negatives? What a wonderful way to attract Austinites wanting to move away from the city. WOW. I’m speechless!

  3. Monique says:

    I am so tired of people moving into my County, and trying to tell us they don’t like an industry going in. If you don’t like it, move out of Burnet County. This Gonzales person needs to be quiet this is my home and as far as I am concerned you are invited to leave.

    • Angie says:

      “Monique” I am going to take a wild guess that while you live in Burnet County you are no where near the affected area. This company already has two similar plants nearby that caused devaluation of the surrounding area. They don’t “need” another plant in the area – it’s pure greed. Every where they put in a plant it changes the character of the area from residential or retail potential to industry. It will be followed by numerous other similar businesses once that door is opened and the character of that community is gone forever. There are hundreds of residents whose entrance to their homes is 90 feet away from the entrance to this proposed facility. Their values will plummet, their air will be full of dust as will their yards and there will be blasting, noise and vibration constantly not to mention the constant parade of large trucks going in and out causing more chaos, noise and road hazard. Meanwhile, the company’s product will benefit cities and towns who don’t have to put up with the devaluation of their property and loss of their quiet enjoyment of their property — undoubtedly, people like you. These residents have lived in the area for GENERATIONS so, until you have first hand experience with your area being directly impacted by a company that sees no need to preserve the character of the area and instead sneaks in before anyone can stop them — CAN IT!

      • Monique says:

        Angie, I live in Cottonwood so yes, I am effected. I was raised in an area, McCullough County, Brady and we had sand mines that went to the glass factories in Dallas and the oilfields Nobody complained as they wanted the jobs.

        • Ltempltn says:

          If you are in cottonwood you WILL NOT be affected as those of us who live across the road from the proposed plant so I say you are welcome to leave if you don’t like those of us who will be affected voicing our opinion…..

    • steve says:

      Are you sure it is in Burnet county? Could it possibly encompasse burnet and blanco. I have been viewing burnet cad maps but only see individual names on the various tracts. None say asphalt inc.

    • Sarah says:

      I will be happy to move if you will buy my land for what I paid for it before there was a quarry next door. Please make it certified funds. IM me for my account & routing information.

  4. Reep what you sow... says:

    How hypocritical. You plan a development that requires infrastructure like this, locate the development over property suited for rock crushing, and then oppose the operation. Where will your building materials come from Gregg Ranch?

    • Angie says:

      While I’m not Gregg Ranch I can answer your question — from the two other damned facilities within a few miles that this same company has already put in that destroyed the lives of lifelong residents of those two areas.

      Moreover, the area in question is no more suited for rock crushing than any open space elsewhere in central Texas. It’s ranch land, just like a lot of areas in and near Austin who would NEVER allow this to happen. they only benefit from the product being produced.

  5. mike says:

    hmmm… I use gasoline for my truck that doesn’t mean I want an oil refinery right next door to my house. Also sounds like you don’t live near where that’s going to be steve, maybe we could put it next to where you live or where you own property. Let’s put it in your neighborhood and see what your comments are. I usually agree with a lot of your comments but not this one.

    • steve says:

      Mike I know all about things going in my neighborhood whether I liked them or not. I have seen the nimby attitude on many subjects as well. I have been told so many times that if I don’t like what’s going next to me I can always sell and move. The folks in that area will be hearing the same things.

  6. Quarry neighbor says:

    I have lived in the Cedar Park area for almost 20 years. On one side of the rock quarry for two years and the other for 18. The only affects I ever recall being a nuisance were the 10 and 2 blast – these are very small; you can’t even feel them, your windows don’t shake or anything. The only dust I have ever encountered was on the road immediately adjacent to the quarry that the trucks come in and out of. Change is never easy for anyone but companies like this are helping your infrastructure by building and maintaining our busy roadways.

  7. mike says:

    quarry neighbor, I think you mean quarry owner. The dust doesn’t just sit on the road adjacent to the quarry. That’s hilarious, just look at the trees on the other side of the road by doublehorn, they are white from the dust. I’m sure breathing in this dust cannot be good for our lungs as well.

  8. Steve says:

    The worst part is the traffic, turing on CR 403 is dangerous enough with all the left lane drivers that don’t pay attention! My kids and grandkids, myself, my wife have almost been rear ended numerous times, we have just been lucky!

  9. Richard says:

    I think Steve works for this outfit. Steve, rock crusher is a bad idea.

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