NEW BRAUNFELS—In a resounding 7-0 vote, the Comal ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution supporting area residents and communities, echoing their concerns about the proposed Vulcan quarry, and directing the school administration to file for a contested case hearing.
At their regular board meeting, held Tuesday evening, trustees stated that the planned quarry was “very, very much a concern” and that there was a “persuasive argument” to be made against it.
School Board President Cody Mueller pointed out that in contrast to other quarries in Comal County, in place before residential developments arrived, this new quarry is planned for an area where thousands of people already live: “This is quite different in the fact that it’s being dropped in the middle—in the heart—of the community. Requesting the contested case hearing allows us the opportunity to ask the right questions regarding safety, security, and health impacts that could be a potential effect to our school district and our campuses.”
R. Keith Randolph, PhD, a Comal County biomedical scientist, and one of the many residents in attendance supporting the resolution, elaborated on these concerns. “Additional quarrying industry expansion holds potential to pollute our air and water if insufficiently monitored and poorly regulated. If unchecked, there could be unrecoverable damage to our landscape and the health of those that live here.”
Last December, the school board failed (on a 3-3 vote, with one abstention) to pass a resolution opposing the planned Vulcan quarry. Mueller stated that although the school board doesn’t typically reconsider agenda items, three factors put the quarry resolution back in play: the election of two new trustees, new information received on the issue since December, and the request by two board members to add it to the meeting agenda.
Steve Stanford, Executive Director of Communications and Governmental Relations for Comal Independent School District, described this resolution as similar to the resolution presented in December but containing one notable difference: “This resolution would direct the administration to file for a contested case hearing at the appropriate time.”
Mueller spoke with TCEQ regarding the contested case hearing, and TCEQ informed him that following the issuance of their response to comments on the quarry permit application, a 30-day window would be open for hearing requests. According to Mueller, “That’s when we would have our opportunity to file for a contested case hearing.”
School Board Secretary Jason York expressed his appreciation to the residents in attendance: “Your voice has been heard.” York applauded the efforts of citizens to communicate with the board and provide information about the proposed Comal County quarry.
TCEQ will issue a response to comments (RTC) on Vulcan’s permit application soon—probably sometime this summer. Following TCEQ’s response, residents, landowners, organizations, counties, cities, and school districts will have 30 days to formally request a contested case hearing as an affected party. In the upcoming weeks, we will be providing detailed information on exactly how to file for affected party status in this matter.