GEAA Files Intent to Sue Lennar Homes
Calling Lennar Homes an example of ‘what not to do’ when developing Hill Country properties over the Edwards Aquifer, advocacy group Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) has filed a notice of intent to sue the homebuilder for violating the Clean Water Act at its 4S Ranch in Bulverde.
GEAA and the Bulverde Neighborhood Alliance (BNA) said storms that dumped 4.1 inches of rain on Oct. 24 caused water laden with mud and debris from Lennar’s development to deluge a neighboring property, violating both a 2016 settlement with GEAA and BNA as well as wastewater discharge permits issued by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for requirements of the Clean Water Act.
In a press release it issued on Oct. 31, GEAA said sediment and construction debris released by the rains contaminated water features and were deposited across broad areas of the neighboring property.
“After reaching the settlement agreement with Lennar Homes, we had hoped that the 4S Ranch would be a model development, a demonstration of how homebuilders could sustainably develop in the Hill Country,” said Annalisa Peace, the GEAA’s executive director.
In an email to GEAA members, she added: “This is not the first time we have seen something like this but we sincerely hope it will be the last. Can you imagine the same thing happening during the development of Honey Creek Ranch, or at the subdivision that is going up next door to you? We remain committed to calling out offenders and seeking redress when harm is done.”
Under terms of the 2016 agreement, Lennar was tasked with providing beneficial reuse of sewage effluent for irrigation, protection of a large recharge cave on the property, and a storm-water drainage plan that would protect neighboring property owners. To read the settlement agreement, click HERE.
Lennar plans to build 1,880 homes on 780 acres, making it a “high-density” development between Stahl Lane and Smithson Valley Road north of FM 1863. Citizens living in adjacent neighborhoods are worried about 4S’ impact on their properties from stormwater drainage from new impervious cover.
Earlier this year BNA warned Lennar was selling lots within a buffer zone aimed at protecting cave and stormwater culverts, also in violation of Lennar’s 2016 settlement agreement with BNA and GEAA.
In 2015, BNA joined GEAA in contesting Lennar’s wastewater permit, which it sought to amend to allow the release of 460,000 gallons of treated sewage per day onto its neighbors and into Lewis Creek, which feeds into Cibolo Creek and recharges the Edwards Aquifer.
GEAA said the Environmental Protection Agency lists sediment as the most common pollutant in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs, adding the most-concentrated sediment releases are a result of construction activities — and are a major source of concern for new construction on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
Located on the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau in Texas, the Edwards Aquifer is the source of drinking water for two million people and is the primary water supply for agriculture and industry in the aquifer’s region. The recharge zone is a 1,250 square mile area where highly faulted and fractured Edwards limestones outcrop at the land surface, allowing large quantities of water to flow into the Aquifer. Because 4S Ranch is located on the Contributing Zone for the Edwards Aquifer, the builders were required to submit proof that plans for development of this site (click HERE to review) were in compliance with specific protections for the Edwards Aquifer as set out in State law.
Lennar Corporation did not respond to an email from MyCanyonLake.com. On its website, the company describes itself as the nation’s leading homebuilder.
In a 2015 press release, Lennar said development plans for 4S Ranch “give homeowners a multiple of choices previously unavailable among the limited supply of communities in the incredibly popular Highway 281 corridor.”