With the Hays County area facing a period of drought the need for water conservation and land development was a heavily-dicussed topic during the Comissioner’s Court meeting Tuesday.The Court unanimously approved agenda items 22 and 23 giving the green light to expand Final Plat in the Mustang Valley Ranch subdivision in Wimberly. In addition to building the new subdivision $301,424 will be alloted for street and drainage improvemnets. The expansion of the subdivision will be done in phases and will continue to abide by guidelines for sustainable deveolpment. The item was sponsored by Commissioner Will Conley, 3rd Precinct.
The subdivision is spread out across 108 acres with all lots larger than five acres. Each lot will be provided with an individual water well and an onsite sewage facility.
Joe C. Day, of Wimberly Valley, provided an in-depth presentation before the court concerning sustainable development in Hays County. He said it was the first time he is speaking for development instead of against it. He said apart from being an advocate for water conservation his mission was to help find a balance between providing the public with a healthy ecosystem and maintaining private property rights.
“Currenlty, as proposed, our subdivision regulations require the property to take out no more than the property recharges in an average rainfall year, or about 35 inches of rainfall,” Day said. “Our stakeholder concerns are that the subdivision should demonstrate water availability during a drought, not during an average rainfall year. In Wimberly, that’s 12 inches of rain.”
Day said the Mustang Valley Ranch developers listened to the citizen’s concers about water conservation and were subsequently able to build an aqua-concience subdivision. Residents of the subdivision are encouraged to follow a conservation stewardship program which encourages harvesting rainwater, using native plants for landscaping, reusing greywater,onsite wastewater treatment systems and using well meters to track water useage.
“Our ecosystem protection in Hays County is dependent on our ability to create rules and regulations that protects the public good without crossing the legal lines of infringing on property rights through regulatory takings,” Day said. “Mustantg Valley Ranch is a sustainable development that will be a model for other developers.”
Commissioner Conley expressed his support for sustainable development, a project he said the county has been working long and hard to bring to fruition.
“We were the guniea pigs when we started up this road,” Conley said. “For that we took tremendous amounts of criticism. We need to continue to have more discussions with the public to determine how the community can continue to work hand-in-hand with developers and keep protecting those things that we care about in Wimberly for many years to come. I want to encorage developers to keep working with the county because we have a good thing going here.”
As far as salaries were concered, the Court took action to amend the budget to adjust Hays County Juvenile Center Facility Administrator’s salary from $59,407 to $64,671.
Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe said the bump increase is well deserved as the position in itself has many different levels.
“It’s a huge responibility,” Tibbe said. “This is a place where delinquents are given the chance to seek help and are given a chance to redeem themselves and stay out of the adult criminal justice system.This is the one opportunity where we have a chance to do something good.”
The Court also adopted a proclamation declaring November Home Care and Hospice Month. Another proclamation declared Nov. 16 to 22 “Tackle Hunger Week” in co-relation with the local area Food Bank.