Sam's Town Point
"...Hays County residents are faced with several issues that will permanently impact the community. The biggest challenge, residents say, is accommodating new development and ensuring that it does not have a devastating impact on their quality of life and pocketbooks...."
"...Hays County Comissioner Jefferson Barton says that when Travis County lost the battle against Elgin Bank, he was forced to approve this colonia-like development. photograph by Jana Birchum A couple of miles east of the interstate, near Kyle, a subdivision called the "I-35 South Ranches" lies on acres of beautiful, rolling Hays County countryside..."
"...Rumblings from Hays County are reaching the state Capitol, reverberating over a groundwater well project that opponents say could draw more water from the Trinity Aquifer than all the currently permitted well production in western Hays County. In recent weeks, citizens who get most of their drinking water from the Aquifer bombarded state representatives with calls and emails..."
"...Three Democrats elected in 2006 – County Judge Liz Sumter, Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Karen Ford – dramatically changed the face of what had long been a GOP-controlled Commissioners Court. "I think the Democrats taking back the court has to be thought of as a positive thing for environmental issues, even though in our county we have many Republicans who are very committed to preservation and environmental health," says Barton..."
"...Hays County residents are waiting to see if a lawsuit or legislation will prevent Electro Purification, LLC, from pumping more than 5 million gallons of water a day from a currently unregulated area of the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County. The Houston-based company is contracting to sell the water to Buda and other cities in the sprawling suburbs of Southwest Austin...."
"...Dear Editor, Several members of the Hays County Commissioners' Court have gotten themselves into a terrible and embarrassing political and legal bind this past year over the Heatherwood subdivision near Dripping Springs. And they're trying desperately to maneuver out of the quagmire they created by supporting this scandalous development..."
"...Hays County is enjoying a memorable election season in the county commissioner races, proving that regardless of whether the Commissioners Court leans red or blue (it flipped to blue two years ago), the political entertainment never disappoints in the hills south of Austin...."
"...Dear Editor, Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley owns Conley Car Wash in San Marcos. Many folks are asking: Who owns Commissioner Will Conley? Since the stunning November loss of a Commissioners Court majority that bulldozed special interest projects through the court at the expense of the average citizen, Conley’s desperate efforts to deliver pre-election commitments have become apparent. Before County Judge-elect Liz Sumter was even seated, Conley was bad-mouthing her in an effort to salvage his special interest Loop 110 segment that will benefit two of Conley’s major campaign contributors, developers Terry Gilmore and Randall Morris and several engineering firms, including Houston-based Dannenbaum Engineering. Conley, who raised more than $75,000 in campaign contributions, primarily from those who stand to benefit from the Loop 110 project in Precinct 1, knows the new court recognizes the folly of saddling county taxpayers with an expensive road to nowhere for the benefit of Conley’s campaign contributors. A portion of the proposed Loop 110 segment lies within the San Marcos city limits, and the whole development area will be annexed in the future, leaving the new road cost for county residents to pay..."
"...Lila Knight, Kyle resident, has been working tirelessly with a loosely organized group of Hays County citizens making calls, sending emails, and attending hearings to get a currently unregulated area, or "white zone," of the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County under the protection of a groundwater conservation district. Last Friday, advocates got some good news..."
"...Early Saturday morning, Hays County water advocates learned that the Texas Senate had passed HB 3405, which provides for regional management of groundwater, including the Trinity and Edwards aquifers. But as citizens began to celebrate the victory, political storm clouds were gathering: SB 2075, a bill that could begin to unravel the protection of the Trinity Aquifer they've worked so hard for, was placed on the calendar for action...."
"...Hays County commissioners, on the last legal day available to them (Aug. 26), unanimously approved ballot language for a $207.1 million road bond election in November..."
"...Surviving attacks from outside the region, Hays County water advocates were victorious in the last hours of the legislative session: House Bill 3405, the bill that gives Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District the authority to regulate the currently unregulated "white zone" of the Trinity Aquifer, passed both the House and Senate. Unless Gov..."
"...Late last month County Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement (ILA) to help handle flood mitigation efforts with Hays County. There'd been a push from the state Legislature to establish a Flood Control District in Central Texas – a separate governmental entity that would coordinate flood mitigation in the area – but County Judge Sarah Eckhardt told the Chronicle she believed that approach wouldn't be sustainable without a clear source of revenue..."
"...2 preservation land acquisition). This year's county bond election could turn out to be a milder, sleepier throwback to those pre-conciliatory days -- and then again, it might not..."
"...Dear Editor, Readers who weren't in Commissioners Court Feb. 3 missed Paul Watkins' announcement that he intends to run for Hays County judge when Jim Powers' term is up..."
"...Dear Editor, Michael King's questioning why Hays County voters would want to spend $172 million for commuter roads is right on, but he mistakenly refers to RR 12, FM 1626, and FM 110 as county roads [“Naked City,” News, May 4]. These are state roads TxDOT is trying to expand with local property taxes now that they have squandered our gasoline taxes..."
"...The most strongly contested Travis County campaign is likely to be the race for Precinct 3 Commissioner, where Republican incumbent Gerald Daugherty is being challenged by Democrat David Holmes, a mediator and crisis communications consultant who has also worked in the Legislature. Precinct 3 has shifted back and forth between Democrats and Republicans in recent elections – Daugherty, first elected in 2002, lost in 2008 to Democrat Karen Huber, but was reelected to his Commissioners Court seat in 2012..."
"...On an unseasonably warm and lovely November day, the kind that glorifies living in Central Texas, some 60 local dignitaries escaped their desk jobs to share a slow, relaxed raft trip along the winding bends of the Colorado River. The five-mile float showcased the 87-mile stretch of free-flowing river that begins at Longhorn Dam, just east of I-35, then twists and turns toward the southeast to the Bastrop County line..."
"...According to County Judge Sam Biscoe, much of the criticism about law enforcement's pay scale had come from AFSCME Local 1624 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which represents rank-and-file county employees. However, commissioners may have assuaged some of those ill feelings by voting for $10 million in pay hikes – including a 3.5% cost-of-living adjustment – for all civilian employees..."
"...The Hill Country Coalition has seen the future, and it isn't pretty. The newly formed four-county brigade of community groups which should soon make its official public debut may be the largest grassroots organization to come along in recent history, and the timing couldn't be better..."
"...Erin Foster has had her share of water problems at her northern Hays County home. One of her wells ran dry, and another gave her son a serious case of dysentery. "That's how I got concerned about water issues," Foster says over a plate of barbecue from the Salt Lick, Hays County's most famous eatery..."
"...As stewards of one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation, Hays County officials in the past half decade took the raging bull of new development by the horns and went to work enacting some of the state's most progressive regulations to protect their rural lifestyle. They pushed the legal limits of their authority with subdivision rules that limit development density to protect well quantity and quality and ensure good roads..."
"...The case has traveled a circuitous path from Travis County, where Janet's then husband Bobby Joe Kennedy, an Austin dermatologist, initiated the proceedings that would end the couple's 32-year marriage, one that had produced five children. He eventually pulled the case and refiled it several months later in Hays County where things got chaotic and nasty, and Janet ended up in jail..."
"...Before dawn on May 24, nine law enforcement officers from three different agencies surrounded Windle's home, a modest duplex in a subdivision a few miles outside the sleepy Hill Country community of Wimberley. Windle's house was one of over a dozen hit that night in and around Wimberley, in the culmination of a four-month undercover marijuana sting conducted by the Hays County Narcotics Task Force..."
"...In one enormous bite, the excavator grabbed the tree, hefted it into the air, and rumbled off to drop it onto the towering fire. The scene was loud and ugly, and it sure looked like evidence of precisely what the kayakers had come to the river to find: that a county-managed river cleanup was progressing more zealously than could possibly be beneficial for its banks...."
"...After years of rapid growth that brought dozens of new subdivisions to the Hill Country, Hays County officials are looking for ways to preserve the few large tracts of land that remain for open space. The Dahlstrom Ranch, a 2,400-acre spot south of Buda, could be the latest conservation easement purchased to maintain the health of the Barton Springs Zone of the Edwards Aquifer..."
"...Good Monday morning, Texas. At 7am, if you are registered to vote, you may begin casting ballots on offices ranging from governor down to county offices, as well as some municipal decisions..."
"...illustration by Jason Stout Driving west out of Austin, it used to be easy enough to tell when you had reached unincorporated Travis County -- the road narrowed to the two-lane farm-to-market variety, white-tail deer and buzzards became the dominant social groups (though they never voted as a bloc), and, of course, you encountered the wavy sea of limestone and cedar trees and the unmistakable smell of the Hill Country breeze blowing through your unbattened hatches. These days, determining whether you're on a county road or a city road -- as you head, for example, out Anderson Mill Road or FM620 -- is more a matter of determining when the endless succession of subdivisions and strip malls switches from incorporated sprawl to unincorporated sprawl, which is no easy task (especially if you're still going by the smell of the breeze)..."
"...UPDATED: With only two working days before filing for the 2012 primaries opens, the three-judge panel in San Antonio has issued interim Congressional redistricting maps that go some of the way to making Travis County whole...."
"...4, 2008: Election Day. Here in Travis County, voters will make selections for county, state, and federal government, including president of the United States..."
"...Cedar Park, and Liberty Hill and China Spring do a 3A Division II-step at Round Rock High's Dragon Stadium. Just over the Travis County line, Pflugerville hosts a pair of 2A Division II games: Lexington and Jarrell at Connally Stadium, and Rogers vs..."
"...This package provides for repair of substandard roads and bridges throughout the county. While county road bond proposals typically set off our "city-subsidized sprawl" alert, this particular proposed money allocation appears soley to improve specific trouble-spots rather than develop new feeder routes to the burbs..."
"...Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett warned Travis County residents last week that he'd heard descriptions of a map to further gerrymander the county into four Congressional districts, even worse than the ridiculous three-way split we currently have. Today, he announced he's seen what may be the actual map and sent out copies (See graphic)...."
"...All precincts not pictured are considered "Rural" except precints 300, 306, 308 and 309, classified as "Southwest." After Jan. 1, 1998, county voters can look forward to some re-aligned precincts, including 14 new ones..."
"...First, they say Gómez does live east of I-35, in the 78747 Zip code. Travis County Appraisal District records say otherwise, but we'll let Gómez and TCAD straighten that one out...."
"...The mound frames a sandy channel cut through the trees along the southern verge of Highway 290 by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Thirty feet wide, the channel runs 14 miles, from Southwest Parkway Storage Tank on the outskirts of Austin to Dripping Springs, the biggest town in northern Hays County..."
"...Mindful of the Maharishi's vision of creating "ideal villages" around the globe, DevCo, as the cooperative called itself, raised funds through personal contributions and others committed to the project. Eventually the cooperative found its Heaven on Earth -- about 900 acres of the old Christal Ranch, off FM 1826 in northwest Hays County..."
"...In December, LCRA had promised to do the EIS to determine whether building the pipeline would spur new development, and thus pollution, of the Edwards Aquifer. "Some things have changed over the past six months in my view," says LCRA general manager Joe Beal. Namely, he says, the Dripping Springs area is suffering from "extreme drought conditions." Furthermore, Beal notes that Hays County has taken the lead in setting up a water and sewer authority that has the power to manage water and wastewater service..."
"...But by how much, and with what consequences? Hays Co. officials have expressed concern that, if the whole county becomes part of CAMPO, a board dominated by Austin officials won't give their interests adequate consideration and might restrict funding for the county's many planned road projects..."
"...Has been cited for disorganized accounting practices by Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services grant monitors. Austin/Travis County funds CEACO's basic needs program..."
"...Will all of Gary Bradley's wheeling and dealing be to no avail? Will Kirk Watson win back the hearts and minds of Austin's eco-conscious? Will Rick Green sprout his first gray hair before the reviled Bradley bill gets another go-round at the Lege? All this and more will be revealed in the next few weeks, as a solidly opposed Austin City Council takes on the Dripping Springs whippersnapper, whose legislation (by all accounts still moving forward in the House) would create a special taxing district for the Bradley-owned Spillar tract in Hays County, where a luxury hotel developer wants to build a hotel and golf course resort...."
"...Area environmentalists were happily surprised by a recent decision to put a water pipeline to Dripping Springs on hold, but they wonder how the move will affect the Hays County development picture as a whole...."
"...9]. As a longtime resident of Hays County, I say yes, I think SOS did matter and continues to matter..."
"...Thanks to Hays County, our growth-centric neighbors to the south, the long-delayed State Highway 45 plan is back on the front burner – a slimmer, cheaper, but no less controversial version of its former self...."
"...In Phase I, interbasin transfer of Colorado River water from the Highland Lakes was listed as a potential solution for water shortages for San Antonio, Williamson County, and the Hill Country. (Also, a pipeline transfer of water from the lower Colorado River near the Gulf was identified as a likely new source for Corpus Christi, and as a possible source for San Antonio.) Concerns along the Highland Lakes about the possibility of a San Antonio pipeline prompted State Representative Susan Combs (R-Austin) to introduce two bills in the legislature that would have tightened rules on interbasin transfers..."
"...Feb.: City's conservation planners submit Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan proposal to regional governments (city, county, LCRA, Texas Parks & Wildlife). BCCP would create a 29,000-acre system of preserves, and potential habitat for two endangered songbirds and five cave invertebrates...."
"...Dripping Springs Rep. Rick Green has worked himself into a veritable lather over the last month, filing not one, not two, but six bills to create special water, road, and development districts in his Hays County legislative district..."
"...But a mile into her drive, Alicia noticed that a Hays County Sheriff's deputy had pulled someone over. It caught her eye because the vehicle, she told the Chronicle, looked like her father's truck..."
"...After Isaac had said he wouldn't support a MUD and broke long-standing protocol by not going to the county with a development plan, Isaac and Campbell promptly sponsored legislation – House Bill 3918 and Senate Bill 1868 in their respective chambers – that would create a MUD just for LaMantia. (A MUD is a common subgovernmental entity that developers use to fund infrastructure such as water services in subdivisions that are usually outside of municipalities..."
"...Commissioner Jeff Barton has been shepherding the project since December. Austin City Council Member Lee Leffingwell, whose office has served as Hays County's contact on the deal, told the Chronicle he expects the ranch to come up for discussion this week during council's executive session..."