Naked City

Lowe's Deal Gets Council OK

The City Council last week gave initial approval to a settlement agreement with Lowe's Home Centers that could add a second home-improvement big-box retailer to a stretch of Brodie Lane that sits in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer.

The narrow 4-3 vote occurred well after midnight, after most of the crowd of opponents had left the meeting. The case will pass through the Environmental Board, the Zoning and Platting Commission, and the Planning Commission before returning to the council for final action on Dec. 4.

Council Member Brewster McCracken urged approval of the settlement, arguing that Lowe's had the city over a barrel and that the city's legal counsel had laid out few options available to try and thwart the project. "We can do nothing, we can try to make this property better, or we can fight it," he said. In response, Daryl Slusher admonished McCracken for discussing on the dais what the council had discussed in executive sessions. Slusher, who voted "no" on the agreement, along with Raul Alvarez and Danny Thomas, went on to say that the threat of an organized boycott -- similar to the one promised of Wal-Mart before it canceled its plans to build atop the aquifer -- may be the most effective tool in convincing Lowe's not to settle on Brodie Lane.

Slusher also noted that while he voted for two prior controversial settlement agreements on developments over the aquifer, he doesn't think the Lowe's proposal goes far enough to protect the environment. "This proposal does not measure up to either one of those," he said, referring to the project's 40% impervious cover and the mitigation property that would be located some distance from the Lowe's site, perhaps as far as Hays Co. "I think that corporations that have millions of dollars and that make millions of dollars in profits can afford to build under the [Save Our Springs] Ordinance and to honor the community's values."

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Big Box, Lowe's home improvement warehouse, Brewster McCracken, Daryl Slusher, S.O.S., Wal-Mart, Brodie Lane

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