Residents spoke at final hearing before fate of project is decided

At a contested case proceeding March 6, area resident Michael Zimmerman reviews the boundary map of the proposed  Vulcan Quarry with Vulcan legal representatives to debate the inclusion of his property as an affected area.

At a contested case proceeding March 6, area resident Michael Zimmerman reviews the boundary map of the proposed Vulcan Quarry with Vulcan legal representatives to debate the inclusion of his property as an affected area.

Image description
Tracking the process
Image description
Close to home
Image description
NBF-4-2019-12-3
The six-month-long contested case proceeding regarding an air quality permit for Vulcan Construction Materials began March 6 at the Comal County Courthouse. Approximately 200 area residents gathered in the courtroom to protest the permit for a quarry and rock-crusher to be built along State Hwy. 46 and FM 3009.

After two public comment periods in 2017 and 2018, the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) turned the case over to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) which will conduct the proceedings.

SOAH Judge Rebecca Smith held the March 6 hearing and finalized the list of affected parties, which includes Comal ISD, Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry, the Smithson Heritage Valley Oaks POA, and others. The case must be determined within 6 months.

“The administrative law judge will make recommendations to the commissioners of the TCEQ for their consideration in approving or denying the permit application,” Andrew Keese, public relations specialist at TCEQ said.

Because the rock-crushing machinery is portable and could potentially be transported to different areas within the quarry’s land, many residents were concerned that their homes may be affected, even though they were outside of the affected area indicated in Vulcan’s proposed map. Smith allowed residents up to five miles away to be included in the case.

Those that spoke at the hearing brought up concerns about air quality and dusty winds; local roads and increased traffic; the effects on animals from earth tremors during quarry blasts; and water quality and conservation, as the quarry is located on the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers.

Chris Hopmann, spokesman for the Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry group, said the quarry may even bring down home values in the surrounding area as well.

“This is a beautiful property,” Hopmann said. “And there are people with homes and businesses out here who are going to be hurt by this.”

Vulcan Construction Materials says rock will only be extracted from above the water table, and the water they use will be recycled.

Of the 1,500 acres of Vulcan property, they say 60 percent will be used for mining while the remaining 600 acres will be saved for setbacks, non-mining use, and natural landscape.

Though based in Alabama, Vulcan operates 15 quarries throughout Texas, and has been mining in the San Antonio area since the 1970s. Spokesman Scott Burnham said the company is aware of the requirements to operate in Texas.

“We operate in one of the most regulated industries in the country,” he said. “For more than a year, we’ve been listening and working with the community on developing a safe and responsible plan.”

When Smith makes a recommendation to TCEQ at the end of the contested case, Hopmann said it is likely that TCEQ will uphold that opinion, though there have been instances in the past when they have overruled it. Hopmann said he would expect to see either side of the case appeal, depending on the outcome.


MOST RECENT

Comal ISD will host their monthly meeting May 28. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Preview: Comal ISD to hold in-person meeting May 28

The Comal ISD board of trustees will discuss a parking lot expansion at Spring Branch Middle School, a potential attendance boundary change and the 2020-21 budget.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.

Amie Gonser will open 620 Art Gallery & Studio in June as a fine art gallery and space for art education classes. (Courtesy Amie Gonser)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: News on 20 Central Texas businesses and nonprofits

Read about Central Texas business news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage this week.

Voters are encouraged to bring their own equipment in order to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus.(Graphic by Matthew T. Mills /Community Impact Newspaper)
State of Texas releases voter health checklist for polling stations in June and July

Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released a checklist May 26 for voters to follow to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at polls.

A rendering shows the new color schemes at Blastenhoff Tower. (Courtesy Schlitterbahn)
Schlitterbahn to reopen in mid-June at 25% capacity

The park can see more than a million guests in a season at full capacity.

Le Petit Parties Couture closed in March

The party venue hosted parties, playdates, etiquette lessons and more.

Former Mayor Barron Casteel (foreground right) stands in front of the dais and Mayor Rusty Brockman (background left) at Tuesday's City Council meeting, May 26, 2020.(Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
New Braunfels welcomes new mayor and council members

Two new council members were also welcomed to the dais and district 2 council member Justin Meadows was elected as Mayor Pro Tem.

Starting May 29, water parks will be able to open up to 25% capacity. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott issues proclamation allowing water parks to open

Starting Friday, May 29, water parks will be allowed to open but must limit guests to 25% of their normal operating capacity.

The flute section of the Rouse High School marching band from Leander performs in this 2017 file photo. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Texas schools may begin hosting sports workouts, band practices June 8

The University Interscholastic League released guidelines for allowing sports workouts and marching bands to practice.

Reopening will be its own challenge

Local business owner faces backlash over delayed reopening

Gruene Hall celebrated 45th anniversary in May

The dance hall reopened on May 22 with social distancing measures.

Granzin Bar-B-Q owner Miles Granzin has been in the barbecue business most of his life and has operated his own restaurant for more than 35 years. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Granzin Bar-B-Q to reopen May 30 after self-imposed closure

Two back-of-house employees tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.