The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

Legal Action on Lick Creek

By Amy Smith, June 18, 2004, News

Attorneys for nine residents in the Lick Creek area have warned the developer of a western Travis Co. subdivision to expect a lawsuit if state and federal agencies don't bring legal action against him for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

Neighbors upstream from the West Cypress Hills development point to an on-site retention pond as the source of runoff pollution that has turned Lick Creek into a murky waterway. Residents have since organized as the Guardians of Lick Creek and retained environmental attorneys Stuart Henry and Phillip Poplin. In a June 9 "notice of intent" letter to developer Russell Parker, the lawyers outlined a series of alleged violations of federal laws, including illegal discharges, failure to maintain adequate controls to prevent runoff and discharges, and construction of a dam without authorization of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The letter states that the residents will sue the developer if neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nor the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has taken legal action within 60 days. Contacted Monday, Parker said he had not yet seen the letter but that he has asked his engineer to arrange a meeting with the residents and their attorneys. "It's our desire to do our very best to try to reach resolution on this," Parker said.

The development is one of several projects in the pipeline in western Travis Co. that are prompting concerns about their impact on the Hill Country and its beloved creeks and swimming holes.

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