Buildings along Mormon Mill Road just south of Burnet caused concern because of rumors they are barracks built to house immigrants. They are actually condominiums built in a European-cluster style, soon for sale to a target market of first-time homebuyers, teachers, and retirees. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley
A row of buildings at 1811 County Road 340 (Mormon Mill Road), about 2 miles southeast of the Burnet County Courthouse, are not barracks being built for immigrants, County Development Director Herb Darling told the Commissioners Court at its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22.
He spoke as part of his departmental update but also in response to a question asked of the commissioners during the public comment section of the meeting.
“A number of people have heard (these buildings) are going to house illegal aliens,” said M.J. Love, who identified herself as a taxpayer and property owner in Burnet County representing dozens of people curious about the structures. “We would like to be informed about what you know.”
Darling was called to the microphone to address the issue about which he gets calls and emails multiple times a day.
“In regards to the public comment just given, I’m kind of embarrassed to say I’m from Burnet County,” he began. “We’ve made several trips out there, and they are really quite nice.”
The buildings are actually condominiums that soon will be for sale to a target market of first-time homebuyers, teachers, and retirees, he continued.
“The development is a European concept, a cluster development with the positioning of the homes separated for maximum efficiency,” Darling said.
The steel-frame structures are energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
“The only wood is wafer board on the decking of the roofs,” he continued. “They are two- and three-bedroom units built to stand up to any type of weather, including tornadoes.”
Each building will have a spot to park a boat or an RV.
“It’s a neat place for a retiree,” Darling said.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley said he’s also received questions about the buildings and asked Darling to address the county’s role in regulating developments outside of city limits.
“Texas is a property rights state,” Darling said. “Even if (the owner) were building ‘barracks’ to house immigrants, there’s nothing we could do except make sure the septic tanks were done properly.”
The development will use groundwater but will not qualify as a public water supply until 14 connections have been made or 25 people are being served, Darling explained.
“I would invite anybody in the community, instead of speaking rumors, to go out there and talk to the owner,” Darling said. “Jorge Sanchez-Gutierrez is a nice man. Go out there and ask him.”
The condominiums are not on the market just yet, but people are already showing an interest, Darling said.