The Ranches at Blackbuck Ridge is a 3-year-old subdivision on Burnet County Road 108 just south of the Lampasas County line. Homeowners association members recently asked Burnet County to delay releasing a road bond to the builders because of bad road conditions. Commissioners released the $396,140.14 bond at their meeting Dec. 7. Courtesy photo
Burnet County released a road bond for $396,140.14 to Lone Star Land Partners at the Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7. The bond had been held by the county since May because of complaints about subdivision road conditions by members of The Ranches at Blackbuck Ridge Homeowners Association.
“Our roads should not be falling apart in less than three years,” subdivision resident Christine Lorence told commissioners at a Nov. 30 meeting. “Things don’t look right, they don’t feel right. The initial base material is suspect.”
At that meeting, the group asked commissioners to delay releasing the bond a little longer while they had a forensic engineer study road conditions and determine if they met county standards.
Lorence told DailyTrib.com the day after the Dec. 7 meeting they were still waiting for information that their engineer needed to complete his study. Herb Darling, head of Burnet County Development Services, was to send that information, she said.
“I think it’s unfortunate they released the bond,” Lorence continued. “Yes, we are surprised, considering we don’t have resolution on if the roads were built to the county’s standards.”
Darling and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther said the subdivision roads met county road building regulations. The roads were not built by the county and are not under the county’s jurisdiction for maintenance.
“The developer has repaired the issues we had with the roads,” Luther said.
Darling, who said he mailed the data requested by the homeowners earlier this week, gave three reasons for why he recommended commissioners release the bond.
“Number one, the bond was due,” he said, noting that the county had held it for six months. “Number two, the developer had repaired all minor repairs we asked them to repair. And number three, we had delayed releasing the bond trying to meet with the property owners association up there to have them show us their areas of concern. It never happened. They’ve had plenty of time to get that done.”
Darling said he and Luther made several trips to the subdivision together and separately.
“We were on every road in there,” he said. “The roads appear to be in fine shape, especially given the amount of construction and an ice storm in the past year. That’s a pretty good field test for roads.”
Lorence and the other homeowners intend to see “if the county can produce the testing information that should have been performed associated with the roads.” The forensic engineer they hired can then make his own determination as to the state of the roads.
“Then, we will discuss with the (homeowners) board how we want to proceed with the county,” Lorence said. “The county is responsible for setting standards for the building of the roads. They have set standards, but as of this date, we’re still trying to figure out if (Lone Star Land Partners) built it to the right standards.”