Marble Falls, Burnet, Kingsland, Llano, Spicewood, Horseshoe Bay, and ALL of the Highland Lakes
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A gas station proposed for Phase 1A of Legacy Crossing, a new master-planned community at the southeast corner of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection in Marble Falls. Screen-captured image
Nine residents of the Gregg Ranch and Foxwood subdivisions unsuccessfully lobbied the Marble Falls City Council to stop the construction of a gas station planned for Legacy Crossing, a proposed development near the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection.
The residents expressed concerns over crime and health risks during the Oct. 3 council meeting.
“I cannot ignore the call from my heart, my conscience, and I feel like I must do this as a mother,” said Foxwood resident Christine Maxey. “I and 65 of my neighbors signed a petition opposing the gas station within 500 feet of our homes within 24 hours. That’s how much we’re concerned.”
Marble Falls Mayor Dave Rhodes explained the city’s position, citing the U.S. Constitution.
“What you’re asking us to potentially do borders on unconstitutional at this point,” he said. “You could make the case.”
Legacy Crossing developers have been working their way through city building and permitting processes since 2015, he continued.
“If in fact we go back and undo the bow, it’s taking (from someone),” Rhodes said. “If I’m the owner of that and I put money in developing it, I’m going to sue you.”
The master-planned subdivision includes 100 acres of commercial space, more than 1,000 single-family homes, 264 multi-family units, 150 mixed-use townhome units, six public parks, more than 3 miles of interconnected walking trails, and space for a new fire station for Marble Falls Fire Rescue. The development surrounds Foxwood subdivision and is across U.S. 281 from Gregg Ranch.
At the City Council meeting, residents lined up to speak against the station’s construction and ask for a continuance on the item.
“To be clear, we’re not saying no to a gas station,” Maxey said. “We’re asking that it be built somewhere else.”
Chris Duran, a native of the Chicago suburbs, talked about his past experience with crime at gas stations before moving to Central Texas three years ago.
“There’s a thing in the Chicagoland suburbs that refers to gas stations that are so close to a highway and so easy to get in and out of. They call them ‘spots,’” he said. “They’re not spots for doing good things. These are things I have seen.”
Charlotte Cooper of Gregg Ranch shared similar concerns.
“I just looked forward to living in a beautiful place for the next 20 or so years that would be a safe, residential neighborhood,” she said. “I have nothing against gas stations or convenience stores — we all need them — I just would rather not have that right across the street from where I live. It will cause me to lose sleep, seriously.”
Councilor Karlee Cauble defended the safeness of Marble Falls.
“I wouldn’t raise my son here if I thought it was unsafe at all,” she said. “Our police department and fire department are amazing people. That should give you some reassurance. That’s what gives me my reassurance.”
Another resident, Allison Baker of Gregg Ranch, spoke to potential health issues caused by living in close proximity to a gas station.
“With my husband and I getting ready to bring our first child into the world and with our aging parents visiting frequently to enjoy Marble Falls with us, I worry about the impacts the gas station’s emissions will have on us with the proposed placement about 500 feet from our home,” she said. “There is scientific research and backing linking these emissions to cancer risk and other health concerns. Our quality of life will be at risk in our own backyard.”
Rhodes responded that it was not the city’s responsibility to tell a property owner they could not build on their land.
“This is a free market economy and they get to build what they want to build within reason,” he said.
Following the over 1½-hour public hearing, the City Council voted 5-0 to approve the updated plans for the subdivision, which include the gas station. Councilors Griff Morris and Bryan Walker were absent from the meeting.
“We’re not doing it in spite, I assure you,” Rhodes said. “We are bound by legalities.”