Kyle City Council approves on first reading new building regulations and safety procedures for pipeline-adjacent development

An ordinance that will affect development near oil and gas pipelines in Kyle was approved on first reading by the City Council May 14 at a special meeting.

Citing safety concerns and a desire to find “the best way to balance the interests of property owners, developers, and transmission pipeline operators,” the additional regulations prohibit development of certain types of buildings within a certain proximity to pipelines and require pipeline companies to take additional steps as they move through the construction process.

The new rules are in response to plans for the Permian Highway Pipeline, a natural gas conduit that the company Kinder Morgan is routing between oil fields in West Texas and the Gulf Coast, nearly bisecting Hays County and the city of Kyle on its way; Kyle officials have been publicly opposing the project for months.

All three council members present when the item was raised on May 14—Tracy Scheel, Daphne Tenorio and Alex Villalobos—as well as Mayor Travis Mitchell, voted in favor of the ordinance.

No public comment was made at the beginning of the short meeting—which lasted less than 10 minutes—nor was there any discussion among council members, but Assistant City Attorney Barbara Boulware-Wells did approach the podium before the vote to say some changes had been made to the ordinance in response to comments received from a representative of one of the landowners.

“The comments that were given to me were not a problem—they were very easily incorporated,” Boulware-Wells said.

She did not specify what the changes were and Mitchell asked only if they were acceptable to the Nance family, referring to Scott and Lana Nance, who were in attendance at the meeting.

The Nances own a controlling interest in several thousand acres of land, part of which falls in the path of the Permian Highway Pipeline and are part of a group of landowners who are—along with the city of Kyle and Hays County—suing the Texas Railroad Commission for failing to better regulate oil and gas pipelines.

In addition to placing noise limits on construction and requiring pipeline companies to submit detailed plans to the city, the ordinance institutes a number of rules for developers.

As part of an effort to encourage “early communication between the interested parties” and “assist with prudent land use permitting decisions,” one section of the new building rules establishes a “consultation zone” within 660 feet of a pipeline. It requires developers working within those limits to submit a specific application and complete a checklist designed by the city that would provide "information concerning any impact the activity will have upon the integrity of the transmission pipeline(s)."

The ordinance also addresses safety concerns at length, including a prohibition on new buildings with a “use requiring evacuation assistance”—such as schools, nursing homes, hospitals, medical offices or detention facilities—from being built within 500 feet of a pipeline unless the council makes an exception.

See the ordinance in full here.

Correction 5/21: This post and headline have been updated to reflect that the ordinance was approved on first reading, but will not go into effect unless it is approved on second reading at a future council meeting.
By Katharine Jose
Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publicat


MOST RECENT

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Austin City Limits Music Festival will present a free virtual broadcast from Oct. 9-11. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Free virtual broadcast of ACL Music Festival to be held Oct. 9-11 and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

The bond proposal seeks voter approval for Proposition A to finance the construction of a public safety center. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Virtual open houses for $37 million Kyle Public Safety Center election to run through October

The city of Kyle is kicking off a series of five virtual open houses geared toward informing voters about the upcoming $37 million bond election for a new public safety center.

(Courtesy Texas Bean and Brew House)
Texas Bean and Brew House celebrates one year in San Marcos

Texas Bean and Brew House, located at 1328 N. I-35, San Marcos, is celebrating its one-year anniversary Sept. 20.

Army Futures Command leadership tour renovations to the Austin Community College Rio Grande Campus with ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes and trustee Gigi Edwards Bryant. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Austin Community College, Army Futures Command to launch software incubator program this winter

The program will be located at the renovated ACC Rio Grande campus in downtown Austin.

Despite a decline in police calls and traffic stops, cite-and-release incidents were up 70%. (Community Impact Staff)
San Marcos PD releases initial cite-and-release data, skewed by pandemic

Despite a decline in police calls and traffic stops, cite-and-release incidents were up 70%.

Kyle City Council voted during its Sept. 15 meeting to change the nearly 180 acres of undeveloped Spooner Tract's zoning. (Screen Shot courtesy city of Kyle)
City of Kyle's 180-acre Spooner Tract primed for large-scale residential, commercial development

A large, rectangular plot of land in Kyle known as the Spooner Tract is now primed for a massive overhaul toward residential and commercial uses.