San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 13th, 2010
Environmentalists oppose Craddock Ave. extension


One sight of Spring Lake, source of the San Marcos River. Photo by Sean Batura.

News Reporter

A regional transportation planning organization is receiving objections from some San Marcos residents and two local environmental groups regarding the extension of Craddock Avenue.

The four-lane Craddock Avenue extension is proposed to stretch from RR 12 and cross Lime Kiln Road to Post Road, and thence to Interstate-35. The road’s opponents maintain that the extension will encourage too much development in an area where they say more construction and vehicular traffic may pollute Spring Lake, source of the San Marcos River.

Proponents of the road say it will lessen current traffic in the area of Lime Kiln Road and Post Road and mitigate health and safety problems arising from two low water crossings on Lime Kiln that they say become impassable with moderate rainfall. Proponents of the Craddock Avenue extension near Lime Kiln Road say reconstruction of the low water crossings would create more environmental harm than construction of the disputed roadway.

The Craddock Avenue extension appears in the draft version of the Capital Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, a document updated every five years and required in order for local governments to receive federal funds from the CAMPO. The Craddock Avenue extension consists of three segments, each of which appears in the plan as a 100 percent, locally-funded project. CAMPO anticipates no federal funds will be available for the projects in the next 25 years. CAMPO expects the three segments to collectively cost $93.6 million and be needed between 2025 and 2035.

“Our reason for opposing it is that Sink Creek pours straight into Spring Lake,” said San Marcos River Foundation Executive Director Dianne Wassenich. “So we cannot build roads and develop in that area and keep our river clean.”

Wassenich said her group plans to send scientific dye tracing studies to CAMPO before the public comment period ends on Friday.

“They just tell you how quickly anything that runs into the aquifer comes out of the springs,” Wassenich said of the dye tracing studies. “Like hours — within hours.”

Eight plant and animal species protected by the federal Endangered Species Act are sustained by Spring Lake and the San Marcos River. Wassenich said more development in the area near Sink Creek and Spring Lake would mean more sediment and pollutants entering the San Marcos River from vehicles and construction activity, imperiling the species.

“In San Marcos, we don’t have a very good record at doing erosion control that works,” Wassenich said. “Have you looked at Sessom Creek lately? Oh, my God.”

Sessom Creek runs along and under Sessom Drive and into the San Marcos River. Sediment from the construction activity along Sessom Drive may be contributing to the sandbar growing in the San Marcos River near Saltgrass Steakhouse. Wassenich said more construction in the area may threaten a repeat for San Marcos of what happened when out-of-control runoff polluted Hamilton Pool and Lick Creek in Travis County.

However, said City of San Marcos Assistant Director of Public Services Sabas Avila, “The Craddock extension would have less environmental and regulatory impacts than reconstructing the two existing low-water crossings across the environmentally sensitive Sink Creek. The proposed Craddock extension is further away from the environmentally-sensitive Sink Creek and historic state landmark, the old Lime Kiln structure. In order to reconstruct the old bridges, a new roadway and bridge would have to be constructed, which will increase the footprint of the project, as well as the environmental and regulatory requirements.”

Avila said the only ingress and egress point for a large residential zone in the Lime Kiln area becomes impassable when there is moderate rainfall. Avila said the impassibility “creates a public health and safety issue.” Avila said planning for the Craddock Avenue extension is necessitated by significant increases in traffic on Aquarena Springs Drive and Post Road projected in the next 20 years, and the need to “provide a blueprint for orderly development of the city’s roadways and infrastructure.”

The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA) also sent comments to CAMPO regarding the Craddock Avenue Extension. SMGA argues that the extension conflicts with the Greenprint for Growth map finished for Hays County in November. The county paid $50,000 in 2008 to the Central Texas Greenprint for Growth project, overseen by Trust for Public Land (TPL), Envision Central Texas (ECT), and the Capitol Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). The Greenprint consists of interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) maps depicting the region’s land conservation priorities based on input obtained from residents, business owners, elected officials, government agencies and local experts between May 2008 and June 2009.

The draft version of the CAMPO 2035 plan includes an Environmental Sensitivity Analysis (ESA), derived from EPA’s Geographical Information System Screening Tool (GISST), which assesses potential effects of transportation improvements by combining various environmental features into one mapped data set with a weighted scoring structure.

According to their draft 2035 plan, CAMPO planners extracted information about the five-county region from the GISST, applied it to the region’s transportation network, and combined the data with the 2008 Vacant Land Inventory and with information from the Texas Historical Commission (THC). THC monitors recognized state and national historic resources.

CAMPO Principal Planner Stevie Greathouse said Thursday that CAMPO’s ESA map and the Greenprint use some of the same data about natural features.

“The maps were developed in different ways using slightly different sets of data,” Greathouse said. “We also have the Greenprint map and definitely comments have come in with proposed modification of our plan to include the Greenprint map.”

Greathouse said the reason CAMPO did not include the Greenprint in the draft 2035 transportation plan is because it omits data from Williamson County, the only CAMPO member county that declined to participate in the Greenprint project. Greathouse said CAMPO staff is “supportive” of including the Greenprint in the final 2035 transportation plan and will consider its results.

“Once you start actually developing a project, picking out a specific alignment and figuring out what the design features and stormwater features and everything that go with the project are, you’d have to pull in much more detailed data than either of these maps are going to provide for you,” Greathouse said.

In opposing the Craddock Avenue extension near Lime Kiln Road, SMGA maintains that the Wonder World Drive extension will provide the access to communities on the south side of the city, and alleges that building over the the terrain planned for the roadway would be expensive and difficult. SMGA advises waiting for results from the Upper San Marcos Watershed Protection Plan, currently in development, before including the Craddock Avenue extension in any long range transportation plan.

According to City of San Marcos Capital Improvements Department spokesperson Kristy Stark, no construction schedule has been set for the Craddock Avenue extension.

“There is no earmark for city funding of this proposed roadway – it will be totally development/developer driven and those doing the development would shoulder the cost,” Stark said. “If there is no growth or development in these areas, then there will be no need for these proposed roadways. If the roadway is built, the city would own and maintain the roadway following construction.”

Should a Windemere development proposed near Spring Lake Preserve be built, then city planners may take the increased traffic into account when considering whether to build the portion of the Craddock Avenue extension proposed between RR 12 and Lime Kiln Road. Construction of that portion — the R-2 project — would serve as one access point to Windemere.

Austinites Rob Haug and Vince Wood propose Windemere as a primarily residential subdivision with some mixed use elements near Lime Kiln Road. Lime Kiln Road would serve as the other access point to Windemere, which would fulfill the city’s requirement that there be two points of access to a development of 75 or more lots. However, Haug and Wood may not need to wait for the Craddock extension to be built if they build a divided boulevard to link the Windemere with Lime Kiln road.

In March, Haug said he and Wood were putting together the final concept plan, which the city has not received. San Marcos Assistant City Manager Laurie Moyer indicated in December that the developers intend to build a divided boulevard. Haug was not immediately available for comment and Wood declined to offer a statement.

The existence of the Windemere development depends on the construction of a wastewater line the city plans to install from North LBJ Drive to Lime Kiln Road. The city is also acquiring 60 feet of right of way for a road under which the wastewater line would be buried. The Windemere developers would be able to use at least part of the road right of way provided by the city, though they would need to buy more for the divided boulevard.

The proposed wastewater line runs through property owned by Paul Geiger, who recently received the city’s final offer to buy the easement and right of way and said he expects the city to seize part of his land. Moyer told city councilmembers in December that the city is seeking to buy road right of way now rather than later out of respect to landowners, who, she said, would generally rather be “worked with” once.

City staffers have told councilmembers that the wastewater line has been in the works since 1995 and is being installed to put a stop to overflow events, accommodate the expansion of Texas State, and facilitate only as much growth as specified by the city’s Future Land Use Map. The concept plan for Windemere that appeared before city council in June 2009 specifies a greater density for the area than specified in the city’s Future Land Use Map.

Staff has said the timing of the project’s implementation has not been affected by Windemere Development. The concept plan that appeared about a year ago at a city council meeting indicated Windemere would involve more than 250 structures, most of which would be residential.

Windemere Ranch was one of five Sink Creek-area properties submitted by SMRF on behalf of Haug and Wood for sale to the county as endangered bird habitat. In March, the property was one of six front-runners being considered by Hays County commissioners for purchase pursuant to the county’s Regional Habitat Conservation Plan (RHCP). The RHCP is all but finished and awaits the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Our project is not in the front-running anymore, and our project was five pieces of property,” Wassenich said. “One of those pieces of property was also submitted by Trust for Public Land. And I think that one was still in the running a month ago, but I have no idea if it still is now.”

Wassenich declined to indicate which Sink Creek area property was being considered for purchase by the county. County commissioners have been negotiating for RHCP land in closed executive session for the past few weeks.

Greathouse said CAMPO has received “a large number” of comments from San Marcians regarding the Craddock Avenue extension, adding that the volume of that input is “at a dead heat” with comments about SH 45 southwest, which would link FM 1626 northwest of Buda with MoPac Expressway South West. Greathouse said all public comments will be packaged in a document for the CAMPO board’s consideration before it votes on the plan.

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35 thoughts on “Environmentalists oppose Craddock Ave. extension

  1. Find a way to do it responsibly, and build it. In addition to the problems getting in and out of the Lime Kiln area, traffic counts from Aquarena Springs, to Sessom, to LBJ are through the roof and the cut-through traffic on the surrounding neighborhood streets is a huge problem. This road has been desperately needed for a long time.

  2. Why not just repair the faulty low water crossings? I know which crossings that they are talking about and It would take 4 large culverts and raising the road four to five feet. Complicated? Expensive? I think the bureaucrats and construction companies are fishing for more money to fill their coffers.


  3. A new road is NOT needed. Anyone who moved out Lime Kiln Rd knows they may be stranded by rising water once in a while. Welcome to Central Texas. They live there because they want to live “in the country”.
    After what we’ve seen happen with the Wonder World extension and the Buie tract, have we not learned our lesson? Roads bring development. Period. And development does not go here. It is not a ‘preferred growth corridor’, it’s the RECHARGE ZONE<

  4. There is no route through San Marcos more heavily traveled, than Aquarena Springs, to Sessom, to LBJ and beyond. The development is already there. A new road is needed.

  5. typo noted.

    Newstreamz and their “no edit” format, disallows correcting typos, when they’re noted.

    “A stitch in time, saves nine.”

  6. No road is needed. I’ve had property out Hilliard since 1985.
    If you want convenience, move to the city.
    If you want “responsible growth “(hah), don’t force it on people who have chosen a lifestyle removed from all of that.

    I’m tired of the pro-growth promotion agenda. ( Yes, I know, people were living here way before me.) The “poor”job market and low average income (me included) had been well worth the pay off for living in a small friendly town. If I wanted to earn more money, I knew where to go.

    Aggressive growth by the university and town has created problems that aren’t worth being poor for…overcrowded streets that lead to aggression, river and aquifer harmed by overzealous developers(+ negligent council) and now the headlines warn that we need to worry that too many people are in the river.

    Let the infrastructure crumble and people leave for cities with nice roads, “good” jobs, and better entertainment. Also force TSU to go back to being a school with a “direction” in its name.

  7. Hmm, the streets are overcrowded, but we don’t need more of them. Sounds familiar. Worked very well for Austin.

  8. “The existence of the Windemere development depends on the construction of a wastewater line the city plans to install from North LBJ Drive to Lime Kiln Road.”

    I don’t know why everyone has their panties in such a wad about the Craddock road extension. What is 98 million dollars among friends. If you don’t think Windemere is a done deal, then why is the sewer line extension from N. LBJ (actually Oakridge drive) getting ready to start construction? I sure would like to know how much it is going to cost to put a sewer line across that canyon to Windemere. There has got to be a cheaper way to do this.

    “Staff has said the timing of the project’s implementation has not been affected by Windemere Development.”

    There is no other reason to be building this sewer line. Without Windemere and other developments along Lime Kiln, there is just not A logical reason to build this very expensive project. I have no problem with Windemere but I do have a problem with the cost of this project and the City acting like we are still discussing Windemere when it is a forgone decision that it is going to be built. I would think that the local environmentalist would take the half full glass and agree to building a new Lime Kiln road and a new sewer and water line to Windemere in exchange for not building across the canyon and flood control dams.

    A fifty million dollar sewer line here and ninety eight million dollar road there and pretty soon you are talking about some real money. It might be cheaper to buy a few tanker trucks and truck the Windemere sewage to the plant for the next 50 years.

  9. So Ted- How many roads are you going to want? When are you going to stop? You’ll never get caught up.

  10. If this is done, you will be turning Craddock into the de facto north loop of the city. There is that section of Craddock from RR 12 to LBJ that can’t be widened beyond its present two lanes. Because of Sagewood and other apartments this strip allready carries more traffic than it was designed for. Turning Craddock into a loop would just make it worse.

  11. “No road is needed. I’ve had property out Hilliard since 1985.
    If you want convenience, move to the city.
    If you want “responsible growth “(hah), don’t force it on people who have chosen a lifestyle removed from all of that.”

    IF YOU WANT a city government, and a Mayor and City Council who will at least consider your desires and interests, then I encourage you and everyone to…

    MAKE PLANS NOW as to what YOU personally are going to do for this next election, as far as getting YOUR friends and colleagues, and those citizens who may be complacent or un-informed as to the CORRUPTION and SPECIAL INTEREST BLOODSUCKING that is continually draining OUR finances and OUR hopes for a continued happy life and lifestyle here in San Marcos.

    On election day, and the precious time leading up to it, RALLY the NEEDED SUPPORT for these important and vital concerns that we see posted here day after day and month after month, as they fall on deaf ears at City Hall, WHEN AND IF there is ANY citizen comment allowed.

    PLAN NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IT”S COMING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  12. Sorry boys and girls….San Marcos isn’t a “small town” anymore. Growth WILL BE happening and some of us who once bought property in remote areas WILL BE seeing development in those areas. Anyone who wants to live “in the sticks” will have to go further from the I-35 corridor to stay there.

    The best we can hope to do is elect local government who will manage this growth effectively in order to preserve the natural resources that we have here…..and no, “managing the growth” does NOT mean building everywhere except around YOU.

  13. I can see both side of the issue here. I too live down Lime Kiln Rd. and would love it if stayed nice and quit. But the truth of the matter is you can’t stop development, but you can regulate it. That’s why we have such entities like Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Water Development Board and The Edward Aquifer Authority. All the projects mentioned have to comply with such regulations. I urge those of you that oppose the Wastewater and Craddock Rd. projects to refer to the San Marcos web site and read the 2004 Master Transportation Plan and the 2005 Master Wastewater Plan. Those projects were slated years ago. If you oppose such projects you should have protested a long time ago at the public meetings. The wastewater line is needed because the existing system from the N. LBJ area is at capacity. And if you look at the lay of the land there is only one way to get the wastewater from there to the treatment plant. I don’t know about everyone else, but I like the modern convenience of being able to flush my toilet. Which brings to mind everyone out that way is on a septic system and water well. That isn’t very environmentally friendly. So, some day when we are annexed into the City of San Marcos they will have to provide us with water and wastewater collection, which will then be sent to the treatment plan and not to our back yards.
    Let’s get real people. We would all like to see our property values rise not fall, correct? When this road is built and there is more accessibility which will raise the value of our properties. When we have City water and wastewater collection our property values will rise. Then those of us who want to continue to live out in the country can sell our homes at a profit and move further out in the country.

  14. Dano, do you think the proposed Buie Tract development is effective growth management which preserves our natural resources? I think a good way to effectively manage growth would be to follow the master plan, which this does not.

  15. Something needs to be remembered. If the master plan were being followed there would still be about 450 residences built on the Buie Tract. However they would cover the entire 180 acres, and not be clusted along Craddock. As for planning for November, don’t we need to know who is running first.

  16. Dano;

    I’m not against growth, and I was not suggesting that by any means with the above post.

    Growth will happen and we both know it.

    I AM for effective growth management, as Kelly Jones stated just above, and I AM sick and tired of the SPECIAL INTEREST GREED and EXPLOITATION OF OUR TOWN, of OUR TAX DOLLARS AND of OUR COMMUNITY, with no sense of caring or concern for the future nor for our next generation’s future here. That includes grossly mishandled municipal finance and responsibility, a lack of municipal planning and management, as well as a total ignorance of critical environmental and quality of life concerns here in San Marcos.

    The factions that are calling the shots at City Hall now are most certainly in it for their own personal gain, and are indeed motivated by sheer greed and their repeated and over-excercised opportunistic chances to make a quick buck.

    And that buck has to STOP, here and now.

    You (and everyone else) knows exactly what I’m talking about, if you reflect upon the past two or three years, for just two or three seconds.

  17. I have asked a question of many people which I think condenses some of the huge discussion going round lately. It seems project after project comes for the single final vote in incentivised or seeming not to quite jibe with the “Horizons Master Plan” or not to be sensitive as policy to care for our surroundings. That is the historic and ongoing question, “Are we a planned community, with the positives and negatives that brings; or are we an opportunistic community that wants to be “out front” for the ever-necessary “economic development initiative.”–a great vote-getter, as well as the current “hip” way to be in Rick Perry’s Texas.

    A simpler way to say it is, “Just who do we think we really are, and who do we want to be when we grow up?” More people ought to think about it more seriously, whether their interest is sole self-interest or the good of the community. Are we still a “community” in my rather sentimental sense, or are we groups of people of interest who can agree on some rough principles to make good policy? Do we cede power to the City Administration to realize its own vision, or that of hired outsiders, or that of economic development clients? Many (esp. big) Cities do just that.

    I remember long ago that I wrote in my first Campaign Statement that “San Marcos is still in the middle of its growth curve, like a young girl entering puberty, puzzled whether to ask for dolls again for Christmas, or makeup. We need to establish a process for easing the path of the City into maturity by encouraging orderly, well-considered expansion and diversification, if we want to grow in harmony with our history and our landscape and our natural resources, the single most important of which is the River (and of course, the Aquifer it depends on).”

    Maybe we’ve come full circle, but wait to see the full fight brewing over the proposed Craddock extension back to Lime Kiln, or the proposed Aquarena expansion and elevation over the railroad, through the curve, and down at the very least convenient and second most abused intersection in town. What is the Purpose of C.M. Allen, that other wide parkway into town? What’s the northern edge of the CBD going to be like with a performing Arts Center and a stacked garage changing the neighborhood significantly? The new CBD zoning matrix (?) overlay should surely be a great experiment, as well as the proposed returning LBJ and Guadalupe to two-way status. Last I heard, doing that on our own initiative would cause the State to cede Loop 82, the other two streets, signals, maintenance, etc. to the care of the City. Then begins the familiar discussion about whether it is best to meter the square, as it once was, in order to collect more revenue and create more circulation downtown. And the essence of it–who will pay, and how?

    As the Buie Tract continues to be discussed, and more flaws or objections become known, look for some very intense planning. There are a great many related issues now on the municipal table, and they are fast-flowing. Maybe Council Meetings will once again become people’s recreation, a place to put on periodic playlets on a variety of subjects, a place to go face to face and work something out. Maybe have popcorn.

    It is, after all, the most earnest, most challenging, most human drama in town, if you can tolerate the occasional camouflage or saboutage, and the plaintive wails coming equally from both sides of an issue.
    or reportage, as well as the revivalist testimony and uplifting rhetoric from the dais (almost said “altar”–whoops!

  18. Who will this benefit? There’s a strange disconnect in the logic of ‘smart growth’ advocates here. They argue that we’ve got to stay ahead of the developers, to ease future congestion and infrastructure concerns, by ensuring that the infrastructure is in place before the developers arrive. They say,”look what happened to Austin”, but we aren’t Austin (or Buda or Kyle) The developers are the ones pushing for all of these infrastructure improvements.

    I would like to keep our town quaint, our quality of life high, and cost of living low. One way to do this is by not encouraging new development, esp. over the most environmentally sensitive area in the county. Our town needs to fix existing neighborhoods/infrastructure and find ways to increase habitat and parks, not bend over backwards to help developers ruin this place.

    Ted, you must not live out on Lime Kiln. There are no traffic problems for Lime Kiln residents (that may change with Windemere). I commute to Austin everyday. It takes exactly 1 hour to get from my house (so far down Hilliard I’m almost in Wimberley) to 10th & Lavaca downtown. Thats pretty good, and i’ve commuted in Fort Worth, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Oakland. The only issues we’ve had had related to the school and the wastewater line construction incompetence. Those are resolved for now.

  19. Jason – I agree.

    If anyone wants to see the physical destruction created by a new road (Toll 130) to rural homes and see the sickness and greed by politicians, drive (or bike, it’s still beautiful for the most part) out FM 3353 between FM 1339 and FM20 (Dean’s Store). Go up the hill and then turn around and come back down..take in the scenery. It’ll be gone soon.

    It’ll make a grown man cry.

  20. Where I come from, they had a solution for low water crossings. They called them “bridges.” I wish we had such wonderful advanced technology here in San Marcos. But I’m sure they’re more expensive than several miles of four lane road through environmentally sensitive area.

  21. A raising of the low water crossing at the first crossing of Sink Creek on Lime Kiln is exactly what should happen to solve the safety problem. With piers and an intelligent engineer to plan the project, this can be done with minimal disturbance. Widening or straightening Lime Kiln is not the answer, nor is building big arteries and loops to promote more subdivisions of tiny lots, apartments and retail off Lime Kiln Rd, as the Windemere developers hope to build. The opening up of the entire recharge zone above Spring Lake, which is what these big arteries would do (that the city and CAMPO are planning to build) would be disastrous to the river.

    The Windemere road that the city wants to condemn property for, is an abuse of eminent domain. The condemnation would provide an entrance road for the developer of Windemere. Without this condemnation they would not have an entrance road at all, and that would be the end of that subdivision. This is pretty simple but people are still pushing to develop roads and subdivisions, even when they have to make these kinds of deals.

    So now the city and CAMPO want to provide a big loop because of “all the growth that will happen on Lime Kiln”. This growth would not happen if the city was following sound planning principles. There are no ways to drill reliable wells any more out that way, since the Edwards Aquifer is tightly regulated. It is regulated because so many wells have already been drilled that the springs have little chance of surviving the next drought that is similar to the record drought of the 50’s. So now we are looking at spending billions to do special engineered recharging of the aquifer (if someone can figure out how we will find water to do that) so that the springs can make it through a drought.

    Without water wells no more subdivisions can be built out that way. The city is providing water and wastewater to Windemere, and that must be stopped, along with condemning land for roads for the subdivision or any others wanting to develop out that way. In other states, people plan to preserve watersheds in order to protect their water. As precious and finite a resource as we have here, you’d think we’d be smart enough to do the same.

  22. all the ‘roads’ and less traffic in the world is NOTHING if we don’t have water to drink. roads BRING development; the wonderworld extension would have helped traffic if NOTHING else was built out there but now there is just more people on the road. it sickens me that the city can’t even put in a stop light for our school children at miller but is looking at spending this kind of money for a craddock extension? where is the long term and RESPONSIBLE planning? its non-existent. don’t live in the flood plane and if you move out of the ‘city’, don’t be crying that you’re NOT in the city.

  23. Kudos to Mr. Sims and others once more for offering clarifying information attached to necessary questions. Actually, the vague “need” for a road connecting around Lime Kiln has be discussed for at least two decades, often seriously. The community issues abound, beginning with the cost and difficulty of running City services such as water, sewer, and roads over some land that highly-likely must involve acommodations for living species, which abound–some threatened or endangered, and certainly has implications for both open space and watershed management.

    Nearly everyone has noticed the sensitive terrain itself, with its geographic obstacles–steep elevations, rough country, very critical wetlands and aquifer recharge surrounding the Sink Creek watershed, the various floodways and floodplains , the slope and erodability of the mixed soil and rock types, the necessity to locate or build drainage ways to divert flood water, general runoff, and possible pollution safely off the Sink Creek Watershed. Most are aware that these construction and development issues involve our drinking water, at its source.

    Building bridges is very expensive in this part of the country. So, too, with adequate channels, low-water crossings, and other features of a road capable of supporting increased development and traffic. Then there are lighting and power issues. Police and fire services, which demand accessibility and working room. Septic systems, which will fall from favor if storm and sanitary sewers are to keep the waste, agricultural and industrial chemicals away from recharge features, so as not to poison the River at its Headwater and thus the Aquifer reservoir from which we drink.

    Highly unstable, heavy shrink/swell areas will require engineering and mechanical systems, with ditches and drainage ways built to attenuate, divert, pre-treat, or otherwise avoid threats–a direct chemical spill being the most
    feared probable harmful “accident” down the road. As I understand, the new road would cross the expensive natural area the City bought to avoid the Executive Suites plopping up on the hills above and behind Aquarena. That road is a truly counterproductive project with a great deal of potential harm to passive users of the land, as well as bird and wildlife habitat. Hard to enumerate many advantages to the Community.

    Of course there is the matter of traffic-handling: Is the new road to be a lonely road used by a few for access, or is it to become first a minor feeder, then later, because of surrounding development pressure, an arterial, a boulevard, avenue, a by-pass? The land can only stand so much traffic pressure before it becomes yet another perpetual problem, like SH 21 by Wal-Mar Plaza or SH123 where it joins Wonder World, or for that matter, the mish-mash being built around and on Wonder World, Hunter Road and Stagecoach.

    Roads, water and sewer do indeed attract growth like a magnet, since they make it cheaper to build around with the City picking up most of the cost–in direct contradiction of the general rule in planning which insists that development in an area not already having infrastructure to carry its load pay significantly to solve its own problems. A smart developer will get the City to build and pay for as much as can be negotiated; as soon as the original sitework and slabs and hardware are proven. Others, not illogically, will want to build near the core facilities, too. Easy math, once the evaluations settle in and the bills are paid for all the special structures; additional carrying capacity has to be added in in the beginning to accommodate whatever is PLANNED to follow–an actual implication that more projects will, and should, follow to “grow out” the area (See RR12, which becomes ever more a mess as it drifts toward what nobody in the Master Plan process wanted–a chain of strip development creating major issues at the Junction and the City Limits, at least.)

    More succinctly, who is out there that wants to do two very sizable bond packages for these TWO new, exceptionally expensive and complex projects, which purport to be residential-based? There MUST be two, it seems, since the Buie Tract may also require a very long run of pressurized sewer and water facilities in order to tie back into the WW Plant and the water system, which are a long way off.

    I have heard some urging that the proposed Craddock Extension might be considered to be one leg of the long-awaited Parkway Loop, SH110. Dumbest idea ever, given the necessary scope and location of any useful loop around the whole City, and given the time and money spent in the past 20 years to locate a route and acquire right of way and provide environmental sureties. This is not the proposed Loop on its projected path, but a lower-grade substitute. (During those long-ago discussions, some folks less familiar with the lay of the land insisted on including
    the “over the river and through the woods” road as if it would be built; thus it was “sort of” included in the Plan, even though there was general agreement that it would not happen soon, or, very likely, ever. Now CAMPO comes alleging this was integral to the Transportation and Thoroughfares plans SM PREFERRED–else why did the thing appear in a Plan at all?

    Country Estates also sits looking down on Kyle, but has no easy access, because of the terrain, and is not likely to have it soon, so it remains for residents a choice of the “long way ’round,” to Kyle and Austin or not at all. Breaks of the game–you want “country living,” you give up something to achieve it. Then you don’t want a horde to come in around you, usually. Keep your well, your septic tank. Forget street lighting, parks, sidewalks, etc. And traffic. And multiple residency zoning.

    A reasonable way to consider such rapid departures from the Master Plan is to ask, “Whom and what benefit does the project serve, in the near and far term, and is the financial and other cost worth the City’s INVESTMENT?” A fairly simple exercise in looking at the future cost-to-benefit ratio, along with some guess what else will fall in behind the pioneering developments. I would hope each person on staff and Council has some idea? Wonder how well they match–in these cases, especially–the retail and multifamily elements, placed as they are proposed.

    Does the City still train Commissioners on the specifics of sustainable planning, and on how to view and maintain the Ordinances, or are our watchful volunteers encouraged to find their own way or just make up something to say?

  24. Pingback: QUOTE CORNER - San Marcos Local News

  25. What a shame our city has resorted to hiding behind “Freedom of Information Requests” to delay citizens being able to understand what the city is trying to do against their property, land, homes. Residents who are facing potential eminent domain grabs by the city should be able to freely access the information surrounding the situation. Shame on the bureaucrats who are so shabbily treating those citizens.

  26. “A raising of the low water crossing at the first crossing of Sink Creek on Lime Kiln is exactly what should happen to solve the safety problem. With piers and an intelligent engineer to plan the project, this can be done with minimal disturbance. ”

    Well, we unfortunately cannot expect that.

    This obvious minimal expense and minimum environmental impact solution will not serve the underlying purpose and their obvious agenda..

    Thus is issued by our city government, this inane statement:

    “However, said City of San Marcos Assistant Director of Public Services Sabas Avila, “The Craddock extension would have less environmental and regulatory impacts than reconstructing the two existing low-water crossings across the environmentally sensitive Sink Creek.”

    Let’s get real.

    These (incompetent?) people are running (and ruining) our government and our lives.

    157 days until November 2, 2010

    And counting.

  27. The issue …. they say …. is an emergency way out? At the end if Hillyard there once WAS a road to Wimberly. It was used for years until the owners locked it up. It is a way out that goes around the low water issue

    I have tried to find out why we can’t have access to Wimberly that way but I get a lot of different stories.

    I agree, maybe a bridge or a bck way out for emergencies.

  28. We live out here for a reason. We don’t want developers, bureauc rats, and big money destroying the aquifer. Maybe try doing things that protect our water source instead of destroying it.

    There is no need to change the low water crossing at Lime Kiln. Just get the road to Wimberly open again that was closed illegally in the first place.

  29. Poor Sabas. Poor CAMPO, which much use broad-gauge State data, rather than the acutely-focused data in the hands of our local water/Aquifer experts, like EARDC and the River Systems Institute and GBRA and, ostensibly the City. The ‘pressure of growth and development” is largely being ginned up for us to respond to, by a self-interested group. It would seem entirely fine if the “growth pressure” didn’t always seem to land square in the midst of our water resource, which is quite limited and becoming more so each day.

    Yes, Virginia, new roads and infrastructure DO create growth, not the other way ’round, as a rule.

    Where is all the W/WW demand cited coming from? Is it from new developments out in “private well and septic country,” or closer to home–like the insistent and deliberate growth of “the Rising Star” and various sizable “infill projects” like Buie, Windemere, and Paso Rubles?

    Moreover, is the rumor true, told me by a little bird, that CoSM not only MUST build a road over the Aquarena Natural Area, but also bore a BLACKWATER PIPE UNDER SPRING LAKE AND IN SINK SPRINGS area? Of course, the CIP will cover that, sooner or later, if it is not ALREADY snuck in by our Dear Leader, who has been quick to represent us at CAMPO and elsewhere by describing to them “what is best for SM,” and altering our segment plans without a fare-thee-well to those who own and pay for City government? If this is not the ultimate insult to the present populace and the historic heritage of our community, I cannot bear to see what is still coming along the “as-yet-to-be-built, but promised already” pike.

    Might we just send these folks a bag of tax money and let them go back out of town? Seems like that may be the shortest and least painful route to a win-win. And some of our many opportunists in the related industries could follow them.

    As for the “stifling growth” crowd, could I loan out my “Statistical Abstract of the US” (Census record) or my “Texas Almanac?” Perhaps the TXSTATE Strategic Plan data (Joe Meyer and Lisa Garza)? Envision Central Texas? Regional Water Plan? The new Steve Harvey channel, “Open San Marcos” is a compendium for novice and pro alike–great place to Find Out Stuff, including the results of a recent barrage of FOI requests MADE necessary by our “leaders” at both City and County levels. The strong, but silent type.

  30. szarka- Not sure the status of the Quinn ranch road. Lots of myths and teen-slasher plots on what happened to trespassers on his road. Even the story behind how he got the county to give him that road made peoples blood boil. Don’t know who got Quinns stuff when he died. Also not sure whats going on with Little Arkansas Hilliard entrance and homestead..

  31. I’ve still got pipe dreams of the city and county working together to get that ranch for park land, in which case it is possible that Fulton Ranch Road and Quinn Ranch Road might serve as the Northwest segment of the loop.

    I say possible, because I haven’t really given much thought to that road until now, other than wondering if I can ride my bike out there.

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