County braces for explosive growth
Developers pitch 2,300-home subdivision near Martindale
By LPR Staff
While Caldwell County residents live in a state of flux waiting on State Highway 130, the Caldwell County Commissioners” Court is thinking ahead to the growth the highway will bring.
During the regular meeting of the Court on Tuesday morning, representatives
of Garrett-Ihnen Civil engineers and Dalcan Investments, Ltd., brought the Commissioners a plat and concept plan for a nearly-2,300-home subdivision planned for development near Martindale.
“As we watch the construction of highways in other areas of the state, we”ve noticed that the key intersections are the first to be developed,” said Ron Cherry of Dalcan Investments, the Dallas-based real estate developer spearheading the project, called Nolandale Estates. “We think that this intersection [SH130 at Highway 80 near Martindale] is going to be one of those intersections.”
Cherry added his company”s development plans for the subdivision were not being hindered either by the moratorium on toll road construction passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year, nor by the proposed construction of a major electric transfer line.
The Nolandale Estates property is a 3,600-acre site flanked by Highway 80 to the south, County Road 107 to the west and County Road 110 to the east. The land is currently being used for farm and ranch operations, but Dalcan plans to begin infrastructure development for the subdivision within the next 18 months.
Although certain aspects of the project are still in the planning phase, other portions are certain, according to project engineer Aaron Pesek of Garrett-Ihnen. Pesek said each of the homesites in the development would be a minimum of one acre, with site-built homes only to be allowed. Wastewater treatment will be handled through the use of private septic systems.
“We”re working with several possible partners to talk about water service and fire protection,” Pesek said. “And there are several things that could change moving forward. The way we made the original plan was to see how much water we could get, the maximum number of homes we could service with that amount of water, and that”s where we came up with the 2,299.”
Pesek said moving forward, some phases of the development might become gated communities or larger-lot neighborhoods, which could change the total number of homes built in the subdivision.
In other business, the Commissioners considered offering a property tax abatement to Lockhart Partners, Ltd., for the building Walgreen”s will inhabit at 300 S. Colorado after construction is completed.
According to County Judge H.T. Wright, though the County rarely offers tax abatements to businesses (this will be the second offered during Wright”s tenure as County Judge), when the County does extend the offer, they usually offer the same abatements as the city where the property is located. In this case, the City of Lockhart offered Lockhart Partners a three-year, tiered abatement program with 100 percent of applicable taxes being abated in the third year only, provided the company meets their economic development commitment.
The idea of offering the abatement was met with some resistance, not only by some Commissioners, but also by citizens in attendance.
“We need to worry about taking care of Caldwell County before we worry about giving these chains big tax breaks,” said Richard Mendez. “They take their money out of Caldwell County, and we need to be worried about the businesses that are already here, and keep their money here.”
As the conversation continued, Mendez continued to get more heated, with Wright finally being forced to threaten him with Contempt of Court charges for continually speaking out of order.
Commissioner Tom Bonn, although in support of the abatement in theory, suggested the County extend a slightly modified offer, with the maximum abatement offered being 75 percent. However, Bonn”s motion failed with a 3-2 vote. Commissioner Charles Bullock then tentatively moved to offer the same abatement program as the City of Lockhart. That measure passed 3-1, with only Commissioner Joe Roland voting against.
In brief news:
The Court authorized the Caldwell County Sheriff”s Office to apply for a grant to fund a Victims” Assistance Liaison for the next two years. The grant award, which does not require matching funds, will total just over $64,000 during its two-year term.
They ratified a Proclamation read by Wright during Monday”s Memorial Day Service declaring May 28 – June 3 “Brigadier General Harold Gary Bunch Week.”
The Commissioners opted not to reinstate an outdoor burning ban.
The County paid bills in the amount of $153,598.30.
The Caldwell County Commissioners” Court meets at 9 a.m on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.