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Lawmaker maps Texas-sized batch plant, community buffer zones

Sources: Office of Texas Senator Donna Campbell, Austin; CP staff

The recently filed Senate Bill 208 seeks to amend a State of Texas Health and Safety Code section governing concrete batch plant and concrete recycling sites, whereby new facilities would be required to have a minimum distance of 880 yards, or .5 mile, from existing homes, schools or houses of worship—double the present requirement. 

SB 208 stems from discussions between author, Sen. Donna Campbell, and Kendall and Comal County residents in response to a proposed expansion of Vulcan Materials’ Hill Country operations, calling for a new concrete batch plant placed 500 yards from 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," she contends. "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 Sen. Campbell plans to file this session to reportedly improve monitoring of concrete and aggregate facilities 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,” she concedes. “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."

In May 2018, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued Vulcan an air permit to operate Boerne Ready Mix, located on Highway 46, approximately eight miles east of Boerne. Geared to residential, commercial and institutional building work, the concrete plant is pegged for 7-10 acres of a 34-acre property. It will fit within the existing topography and feature 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. Vulcan's site plan also includes wildlife and butterfly habitat, rainwater pond, plus 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,” affirms Vulcan Regional General Manager John Berger.