HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – The City of Hays has a population of less than 300 people. But that number could dramatically increase with a proposed 290-acre housing development called “Hays Commons” by Milestone Builders.
Carol Pennington lives near where this would be built. Her main concerns are water supply and wastewater treatment.
“The more straws that are that are into it, the less water for everybody else,” Pennington said.
Milestone CEO Garrett Martin said right now their plan is to treat wastewater on site.
“A discharge of the wastewater through a spray irrigation system,” Martin said.
Mike Clifford with the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance took issue with that. He said this development would sit on top of the Edward’s Aquifer Recharge Zone.
“It contains lots of faults and fractures and sinkholes and caves and things like that. So pretty much anything in the recharge zone goes to groundwater. There’s a path there, where through these faults and fractures, any wastewater, any pollutants can go into the aquifer,” Clifford said.
Martin assured they’ll work to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We are going to be applying current water quality standards of water quality, purity and filtration standards to the project,” Martin said.
The City of Hays rejected Milestone’s plan, so now they’ve turned to the county for approval.
Still, Martin said they’d like to work with the city on this.
“We maintain committed to and are attending regular meetings with the City of Hays in an effort to work through a development plan that works for all parties,” Martin said.
But Pennington and many others are left with some concerns.
“We like living out in this area where it’s a country feeling and this proposed subdivision does not fit in with where we live,” Pennington said.
As an alternative plan, Milestone recently applied for a service extension request with the City of Austin. The request asks for water services for their property including wastewater. It’s something Clifford is pushing for.
“If they insist on developing our preference then would be probably to have the City of Austin provide those services – the water and the wastewater. They can take the water from the Colorado River, they can pipe it all the way here. It doesn’t take up the groundwater that all these people using wells are using for water,” Clifford said.