As part of what has so far been a monthslong fight to combat a quarry slated to come to a community that does not want it, Double Horn, a subdivision turned municipality, saw its first mayor and five alderpersons sworn into office Feb. 22.
The city incorporated in December, but official actions of any kind were not permitted without a governing body. Meanwhile, Spicewood Crushed Stone LLC’s permit was approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and issued Jan. 16.
Though the new city cannot stop the quarry from being built between itself and the adjacent Spicewood Trails neighborhood, it can create ordinances in an attempt to control dust, noise and other resulting factors. It can also pass motions protecting it from future unwanted developments.
“One of our bigger concerns is the big trucks pulling out of the site and either zipping across to Vulcan Materials—an additional, nearby aggregate site—or using the lane into the Double Horn community to pull out onto the highway,” Mayor Cathy Sereno said.
She said that type of added traffic consideration causes risk for people trying to pull into the community.
“The most obvious thing to do is try and create ordinances that give us some ability to control land use,” she said. “But nothing is going to be easy.”
Sereno added Double Horn does not want to become a big city, and her focus will be on ensuring the property and land-use rights of its citizens.
Spicewood Community Alliance is also planning to work with the Double Horn City Council on tactics for controlling the peripheral effects of living next to a quarry.
“We’re making recommendations on how they can create ordinances that will require the dust particles the quarry is bringing out be addressed,” SCA President Matthew McCabe said. “[Ideally] trucks would have to run over rumble strips and go through water to make sure dust falls off before they get on Hwy. 71, where it becomes majorly airborne at 70 miles per hour.”
McCabe said the goal is not to fight the aggregate companies.
“Our argument was that this plant did not belong where it has been allowed to go,” he said. “There’s all kinds of land on Hwy. 71 that would have been an ideal location for them and not have impacted this kind of subdivision with so many families.”
Dalrymple Construction Companies, the New York-based company that owns Spicewood Crushed Stone LLC, did not respond to Community Impact Newspaper’s requests for comment.
Before launching into the establishment of ordinances, the new Double Horn City Council has some housekeeping to take care of. A mayor pro tem, secretary and treasurer must be designated and official meeting locations and times set.
Though a council is legally required to meet once a month, Sereno said she imagines the body will meet twice a month, especially considering all the work ahead of it and challenges unique to the Double Horn community.
By law, meeting agendas must be posted in a public place, but Double Horn is a gated community. A city hall must also be designated, but the only public facility in the neighborhood is an outdoor pavilion with no walls, according to Sereno.
“Logistics on how to meet requirements and be transparent are some of the basic stuff we have to tackle first,” Sereno said.