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‘Barracks’ actually condos targeting first-time buyers, retirees

Mormon Mill Road condos

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. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com 

9 thoughts on “‘Barracks’ actually condos targeting first-time buyers, retirees

  1. This could have been nipped in the bud had Burnet County come clean back several months ago. In early December these were not “condos” so said Burnet County officials. As these weak County answers festered and more information on the barracks and those involved in this site were uncovered, wary yet solid Burnet County citizens demanded the TRUTH.
    When it was discovered that the same folks busted by the Texas Attorney General in 2012-2013 for posing as immigration “consultants” and they were fined $500,000 were now involved in the project on CR340 here in Burnet, people rightfully demanded more information. Here is the 2013 link:

    https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/attorney-generals-office-shuts-down-unauthorized-austin-based-immigration-consultant

    About the time we were told these were “condos” by a post on Facebook by our County Judge, he then posted on FB that these “condos” were being marketed by Keller-Williams. I asked a Keller-Williams realtor if she was aware of these condos she said no.

    Mr. Darling, who said in Commissioners Court that he is embarrassed to say he is from Burnet County, should be embarrassed alright. He stood there and told us that now these condos have morphed again into something called “European Condos”. When you go to the “condo” website they are called “villas”. Do you now understand why some are skeptical of the continuing line coming out of Burnet County officials? Do you understand why law abiding Burnet County citizens are concerned to find out that the same people shut down in 2013 by the Texas AG have a major part of these barracks/condos/European Condos/Villas?

    When building condos I’ve been told you must file a condo plat with the County before construction begins. Last week when I talked to the County there was no such plat filed.

    “The development is a European concept, a cluster development with the positioning of the homes separated for maximum efficiency,” Darling said. “They are two- and three-bedroom units built to stand up to any type of weather, including tornadoes.”

    Separated by about 10 feet is maximum efficiency? Stand up to tornadoes? Do you now understand why so many Burnet County folks are concerned?

  2. Why have you not posted my comment? This is not the first time you have censored a comment from me. I am simply expressing a view that you apparently don’t like? I’m not violating any of the items you list as a reason to disallow posting it.

  3. It seems to me a simple sign indicating what the buildings are intended for would have saved someone a lot of time dealing with phone calls and people a lot of worry. I mean, how are people supposed to know they will be for sale?

    1. What does it matter? If this is going through the proper motions and is on private land, following code, etc., why do they have to have a sign? Don’t assume the worst…or go ask the owner rather than create false rumors that do more harm than good.

  4. “I’m kind of embarrassed to say I’m from Burnet County…”

    This sums it up for me sometimes.

    People need to pull their head out of wherever and realize just how susceptible they are to buying into rumors and fears. “Illegal aliens” are individual people with names, birthdays, and more often than not, very unfortunate situations that led them here. Doing things the “right way” is important, yes. However, it’s not always that cut and dry. Look at a lot of folks who have European-descent ancestors – not all of them were very forthcoming in their entries to the U.S. either.

    That said, the fact that this development has zero to do with that topic would be funny if these people weren’t so darn judgmental and quick with their tongues.

    1. European concept?

      It isn’t judgmental to want to know the truth. And you are right, illegal immigrants are people with names, etc. But it’s well-known that many of the ~2 million that have entered our country have brought deadly drugs, are human-traffickers, and have been unattended children to fend for themselves.

      I’m not embarrassed of Burnet County. I’m proud to be living where people care enough to ask questions, to want to preserve our community’s safety, economy and integrity.

    2. I couldn’t agree more, Bob. I wonder how this kind of malicious rumor gets started. It surely says something about so many citizens of this county that they assume the worst and buy in to such outlandish speculation and lies.

      1. No, pragmatic more than anything. The fact of the matter is that people were stirring up controversy in a hyper-judgmental way and they were proven to be fools. And hypocrites.

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