NEW BRAUNFELS—Commissioners Court once again let down citizens of Comal County by failing to pass a meaningful, effective resolution in response to the 1500-acre Vulcan Construction Materials quarry proposed between Bulverde and New Braunfels.
During the 30-minute citizen comment period of this morning’s regular meeting, 13 people spoke, most urging commissioners to postpone a vote on the matter until stronger language, properly supporting their constituents could be added to the resolution.
Despite these requests, commissioners voted unanimously to pass the resolution as drafted, thereby failing to provide any meaningful support to the over 12,000 residents living within five miles of the proposed quarry site. By passing this ineffective resolution, commissioners continue to side with an out-of-state corporation rather than the citizens they were elected to represent.
Both the resolution text and the commissioners’ comments repeatedly cited the lack of authority and control counties have. While Comal County doesn’t have direct power through zoning or land use restrictions, the State of Texas grants counties various authorities and duties related to air, water, and public health.
Additionally, commissioners failed to include specific text that has been effective in defending citizens in similar situations—directly requesting a Contested Case Hearing from TCEQ.
During the public comment session, David Drewa stated that “other counties including Kendall, Kerr, and Burnet, have all directly requested Contested Case Hearings. So this is hardly an unprecedented action.” Drewa also cited Section 55.203 of TCEQ rules, which states that “governmental entities, including local governments and public agencies” may be considered affected persons.
Instead of using the power they do have, and working to craft language that would provide them more tools to protect the citizens of Comal County, commissioners continue to demur and merely lament their impotence. Representative Kyle Biedermann recently stated, “I’ve discussed the issue with our commissioners and told them that if they want local control of these things they need to work with my office and submit language changes they would like made in the law.”
Unfortunately, it appears that Commissioners Court is uninterested in making the effort to protect their citizens or developing the tools that will enable them to achieve more local control in the future. Commissioner Webb emailed a constituent that he had “no interest in doing a resolution purely for political purposes if it does no good other than to get people off our backs.” Yet commissioners went ahead and passed a hollow resolution that does nothing to support the citizens of Comal County.
Despite this disappointment, Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry will continue to reach out to Commissioners Court, urging them to stand up for their constituents by passing a new, more effective resolution which includes a Contested Case Hearing request.
Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry is a grassroots-driven campaign opposed to Vulcan Material’s proposed 1500-acre open-pit rock quarry in a residential area of central Comal County, between Bulverde, Spring Branch, Garden Ridge, and New Braunfels.
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