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Friday, 25th July 2014

in Bee Cave TX 78738

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PUA makes decisions on Masonwood and beyond

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(Revised) Slated to be a short meeting, today's WTCPUA (our local water authority) meeting went on for more than four hours. It appeared mostly confused and often divided on how to deal with the water issues related to "Masonwoood West" and future area developments. MW is the 1,600 home development slated for the Hatchett Tract off Hamilton Pool Road.

 

An initial audience of 40-50 people at Bee Cave City Hall dwindled slowly as the meeting dragged on. Despite lots of public comments and the appearance of another team of attorneys (hired by the group protesting the development - HPR Matters), the meeting struggled to hold the attention of the audience and get to the crux of the issues.

 

After almost three hours the Board went in to Executive Session and returned after about 45 minutes to attempt to craft multiple motions in public view. Director Bill Goodwin's quick attempt to rescind the letter to the developers from late 2013 did not even get a second and died on the floor. The letter remains contentious - with the Board claiming it is only a conditional offer and others claiming that the County is relying on it as part of the approval process.

 

Then followed an agonizingly detailed debate about what the new polices would be for the PUA granting of future water supply agreement. The key issues remained which standard they should apply and where. Attempts to extend the exceptions that Bee Cave enjoyed to Dripping Springs also threatened to derail parts of the process.

 

After much toing and froing, the vote went 4-1 in favor of a new set of policies based on the more lenient "OEM"/Optional Environmental Measures (crafted in 2005) not the stricter "MOU"/Memorandum of Understanding dating back to 2000. Those rules would be applied to the entire service area and beyond but exclude the City of Bee Cave and its current ETJ area. The MOU defines Impervious cover limits and Stream buffer setbacks whereas the OEMs define Stream buffer setbacks and Water quality structures (ponds).

 

The Board also voted unanimously to amend the developer's offer letter to confirm that compliance with the OEM rules would be a condition of any water supply agreement. The key question now is exactly how many homes they could now plat onto the land and meet the OEM. The developer has - in the past - claimed it already does.

 

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