Texas State Senator Donna Campbell (R-District 25) filed Senate Bill 208 to extend requirements for setbacks, or buffer zones, around concrete facilities and concrete-crushing operations. If passed, the bill would double the current 440 yd. requirement between concrete plants and existing residences, schools and churches to 880 yd., or a half mile. It would also expand the zone of people eligible to request a public hearing during the permit process for aggregates operations to 880 yd. from the proposed plant.
The proposed change is the result of multiple discussions with Kendall and Comal County residents after Vulcan Materials proposed expanding its operations in the Hill Country, including opening a concrete batch plant near a Montessori school.
“As a Hill Country resident, I share my neighbors’ deep desire to preserve our natural resources while managing growth vital to the community,” said Campbell. “This bill will add valuable protections for families that will enhance our quality of life and ensure the health and safety of our children.”
SB 208 is one of several pieces of legislation Campbell plans to file this session to improve accountability and monitoring of aggregate facilities, concrete plants, and quarries as they operate closer to neighborhoods and schools in unincorporated areas of Texas counties.
“The aggregate industry plays a vital role in our state’s economy. We are fortunate to have many businesses who have been great neighbors for years. I am confident that they will support this common sense approach to do what’s best for Texas,” Campbell said.
In May 2018, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued Vulcan the air permit necessary to operate Boerne Ready Mix – located on Highway 46, approximately eight miles east of Boerne. The facility will produce concrete to serve residential and commercial demand in the area and provide infrastructure for nearby homes, businesses, schools and places of worship.
Located on only seven to 10 acres of the 34-acre property, the plant will fit within the existing landscape and topography and will have a landscaped, decorative entrance that draws from area architecture and surroundings. Additional landscaping, naturally vegetated areas and mature trees will provide more than 20 acres of buffer spaces from neighboring properties. The plan also includes a wildlife and butterfly habitat, rainwater pond and picnic and outdoor education area.
“We look forward to investing in Kendall County with a facility that will feature the best available technology and design to protect air quality, water resources and the well-being of our neighbors and the community,” said John Berger, regional general manager for Vulcan’s Ready Mix Division.