UT study: More development regulation needed

A major new study on protecting the Hill Country from unrelenting population growth and land development was recently unveiled for Comal County residents.

“People love this place and they really want to be here and appreciate the beauty that the Hill Country has to offer, but if we’re not prepared to deal with growth and manage it effectively, we have the potential to love this place to death,” study co-author Britin Bostick told the crowd of about 75 attending a forum on the study sponsored by the League of Women Voters-Comal Area at the Bulverde/Spring Branch Library.

 Inadequate regulation

One of the strategies the University of Texas study recommends is improving inadequate regulation governing development.

“It is just really hard for a lot of folks to understand why some of the state agencies that they think should be protecting them are not,” said Bostick, who grew up on a Hill Country ranch in Kerr County. “There’s so many stories of folks being frustrated with TCEQ (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other state agencies. They’re asking ‘Why aren’t you enforcing regulations? Why is it that this municipal utility district gets to dump right here and infringe on my land?”

Counties need power

The study — titled “Toward a Regional Plan for the Texas Hill Country” — also recommends that Texas counties be granted land-use authority, she said.

While cities have building codes that developers must comply with, county officials lack powers to ensure that development outside of city limits — where much of the growth is occurring in the Hill Country — happens in a way that protects neighbors, Bostick said… Read more from The Herald Zeitung