DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — One of the biggest names in Texas barbeque is facing off with Hays County residents who say they don’t want a large wedding venue in their neighborhood.
The Black family, behind Terry Black’s BBQ in Austin, has purchased 64 acres off Crystal Hills Drive in Dripping Springs to build a new wedding venue, to be known as “Black Ranch.”
Members of The Friendship Alliance are publicly opposed to the planned wedding venue, as currently designed. They say the large venue will be built in the heart of long-established neighborhoods and spiritual communities along Ranch Road 1826 — in an area where people moved to enjoy the peace and quiet. Representatives of the nonprofit also say the venue’s current design compromises traffic safety on the single county road into the area.
“The size and design of the wedding venue is not consistent with the neighborhood. It’s not consistent with the rural road that leads to the venue. It creates problems with noise. It creates problems with traffic, and most importantly, it creates problems with evacuation in the event of fire. We’re all concerned. All the neighborhoods are connected by this two-lane road,” explained Carlos Torres-Verdin, the president of the volunteer-run organization. “This is unfriendly and hazardous, and unsafe.”
Neighbors are also concerned about the venue’s impact on the water and wildlife in the area.
“His business could seriously impact our enjoyment of these things–open spaces, beautiful hill country, water quality–that sort of thing,” said Debra Morris, a concerned homeowner who lives nearby the proposed site.
The Black family, however, says they’ve addressed residents’ concerns.
In a statement to KXAN, Mark Black said, “We hired one of the best architecture firms, MF Architecture, who has been praised around the nation for their innovative and environmentally friendly approach to sustainable design, as well as the top landscape architecture firm in the world, LandWest Design Group, to develop our ranch in the ‘Wedding Capitol of Texas’ into the most sought after place of its kind.”
Black says they have made positive changes after hearing feedback from neighbors to address traffic, noise and environmental concerns. When asked about the safety of the rural road, Black said, “It is a county road. So, any improvements that can be done to it, we’ll get behind that.”
He continued, “With any development, there’s going to be some traffic. That’s natural. But, we’ve done a lot to mitigate it.”
Black says the venues are close to half a mile back into the property and so, he doesn’t expect traffic to be spilling out onto the roads.
Members of The Friendship Alliance say they hope Black will redesign the development project so they can all coexist in their neighborhood.
The city of Dripping Springs’ planning and zoning commission voted to approve the item Tuesday evening. The venue’s site development application will go before the city council next month.