STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — City officials are expected to delay the annexation of more than 500 acres of land, initially part of a plan to deflect mining operations in southern Burnet County, but another swath is still on the agenda for annexation.
The 500-plus acre tract known as the Hohenberger tract was among approximately 1,200 acres of land eyed for an annexation vote Nov. 21. The area is located west and southwest of the Texas 71 and U.S. 281 intersection.
Annexing the land would incorporate an area where Austin-based Asphalt Inc. wants to build a rock crushing facility.
Opponents believe Asphalt Inc.’s plans on the property where the rock crusher is intended to be built threaten air and water quality as well as pose a threat to residential development and highway safety.
“Originally, we wanted to annex the ‘intent area,’ the whole 1,200 acres,” Marble Falls Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel said. “We’re required to give landowners who have an agriculture exemption on land to opt out of annexation, so he’s exercising his right to a development agreement to opt out for five years.”
As long as the Hohenberger estate maintains its so-called “ag exemption,” the city will not initiate annexation until 2023.
In the fall, Marble Falls city officials launched annexation plans to protect long-term development projects, including the fledgling Gregg Ranch with its hundreds of homes.
By annexing several tracts, city leaders intend “to try to establish zoning and city regulation for the development that’s proposed (by Asphalt Inc.) because it conflicts with future (residential) land use plans for the area,” Kraenzel said.
The city conducted two public hearings in October as a precursor to the final annexation vote.
The vote is scheduled for 8 a.m. Nov. 21 at City Hall, 800 Third St. in Marble Falls.
Property remaining for annexation are 242 acres on Creighton Ranch and 272 acres of the Schieffer Hunter tract.
“We are also annexing a sliver of 281 and 71 right-of-way on the southeast side,” Kraenzel said.
Annexing the state-owned right-of-way on the opposite side of the highway would act as a precursor to potential future annexation by properties on the east side of the highway, he explained.
The move is also expected to extend the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) farther east and south.
An ETJ involves land a mile outside a municipality’s city limits, in which cities have the option to exercise sign, subdivision, and runoff city code regulation.
However, staff also excluded approximately 100 acres (Dowd Ranch) from the annexation plan due to its proximity to the city of Round Mountain ETJ just south of Marble Falls along U.S. 281.
“We’ve not been able to get the boundary agreement with (Round Mountain), so we cut that piece out on the south end,” Kraenzel said. “It’s clearly a situation where Marble Falls grew that direction, but neither city saw it coming together so quickly.”