A panel of experts will discuss possible workarounds to promote “civilized and rational” growth in Comal County, one of the fastest growing areas in the United States, at noon Wednesday at Tye Preston Memorial Library, 16311 S. Access Rd.
To join the meeting via Zoom, click here. Meeting ID 860 9865 9369 password 673106 ; Livestream on the LWV-CA Facebook page @LWVComalTX, or view a recording later on our YouTube channel @LWVComal.
This information about the presentation, “County Authority on Land Use,’ also is available on the League of Women Voters of the Comal Area’s (event sponsor) Facebook page.
Pct. 4 Commissioner Jen Crownover, Comal County Conservation Alliance President Elizabeth Bowerman and Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance Executive Director Annalisa Peace will tackle one of the most divisive issues in the Hill Country.
Bowerman said explosive population growth has put increased pressure on water quality and quality and increased runoff pollution from roads. Air pollution, increased flooding and drainage problems, increased artificial lighting, fragmentation of natural areas limiting wildlife mobility, and the reliance on natural systems to clean air and water are destroying the area.
“We all understand why people want to live here — the same reasons most of us live here,” she said. “It’s no wonder the population has been increasing over the past 150 years, but challenges brought by this growth are also increasing and getting more serious, given the environmentally sensitive landscape of the Hill Country. Recent studies of growth in the Hill Country are predicting that if we don’t change the way we grow we could get past the tipping point of where our natural resources are irreparably damaged.
“Isn’t that what they call ‘killing the goose that laid the golden egg?'”
Crownover will outline limits of county authority as set out in Texas’s constitution. Bowerman will delineate the detrimental effects of lack of authority on the environment. Peace will discuss efforts to expand the limits of county authority and explain how some counties have worked around them.
“Comal County is growing by leaps and bounds, yet those living in the unincorporated areas have little say so in managing gowth in a civilized manner,” Peace said.
LWV-CA believes Comal County commissioners, with voter approval, should be granted additional regulatory authority from the state legislature for making land-use decisions.
In its land-use statement, the league suggests the county be able to implement impact fees on developers of new subdivisions; require minimum fire-suppression systems in new subdivisions; require improvements to roadways and drainage systems serving new subdivisions; limit the amount of impervious cover to increase recharge and limit runoff in new subdivisions; require subdivision restrictions that promote water-conserving landscapes; and require natural areas, or neighborhood parks, in new areas.