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Old 01-18-2010, 09:23 PM   #21
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You've obviously had some experience in this area.
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If they have to seek state enviro permits, try to find out which ones.
We have copies of their applications to the state for air and water permits.
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If there is a public comment opportunity, have all the interested neighbors submit comments.
The drive to send email and snail mail comments is ongoing. I'm confident they'll hear from more than 100 interested parties. In our comments we noted a number of irregularities in their public notice requirements which resulted in extending the 30 day comment period and delaying a decision on the permit by an additional 18 days.
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And request a full hearing on the permit issuance if possible.
Done - and granted. It is scheduled for Feb 9.
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Water (surface and ground) and air quality, noise, vibration, endangered species, traffic. I know it is Texas, but surely there must be SOME red tape in there somewhere.
Yep, we've enlisted the services of a legal firm that specializes in this stuff and they and the GEAA I mentioned above are helping us map a strategy.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:37 PM   #22
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Regarding traffic, see if the roads might not be able to hand heavy trucks hauling limestone. Very heavy trucks can damage roads much more than passenger cars and light trucks. Also check bridges along the likely access routes to see if they are weight rated strong enough to allow loaded haul trucks to cross them.
We have an upcoming meeting with the Texas Dept of Transportation regional office to discuss the problems with the quarry access point to the state highway. The quarry 'driveway' is just below a hill on a two lane state road - a recipe for disaster. Traffic zipping along at 60 mph can top the hill to find an extended-trailer gravel truck blocking both lanes as it slowly turns onto the highway.

We've done some preliminary research and seen similar situations where access to the state hwy is denied until an acceleration lane can be added. That will take an extended period of time to approve, engineer, fund, contract and construct.

As I said, administrative guerrilla warfare.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:41 PM   #23
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Hmmm...maybe y'all ought to go over and pay him a visit...a neighborly visit, don't ya know...

But seriously, it sure would be nice to think of a different way he could make money while saving the natural resources of the area....a compromise that would make everyone happy.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:22 PM   #24
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Traffic zipping along at 60 mph can top the hill to find an extended-trailer gravel truck blocking both lanes as it slowly turns onto the highway.
We've done some preliminary research and seen similar situations where access to the state hwy is denied until an acceleration lane can be added.
We have a similar intersection in the gulch below our house. Vehicles (including semis hauling construction equipment) turning onto the highway want to go left but traffic comes screaming down into the gulch around a blind curve on their right. Once or twice a year we'd be awakened by screeching brakes (or feel the vehicle hit the bridge abutment) and everyone would shake their heads and tsk at the danger.

So the state got tough. They put up large warning signs that vehicles entering the highway could only turn right. If the police ever catch anyone turning left at that intersection, well, by golly, they'll give them a stern lecture and a warning and maybe even... a ticket.

Now when we're awakened by screeching brakes and collision reverberations, everyone shakes their head and tsks at the foolish driver who didn't read the signs. Small consolation for the drivers who still come screaming around the blind curve...
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:17 PM   #25
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Times like this one has to be grateful that they are FIREd as that gives you the time and energy to devote to your cause. Good luck, make sure the good guys win this one.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:14 AM   #26
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We have an upcoming meeting with the Texas Dept of Transportation regional office to discuss the problems with the quarry access point to the state highway. The quarry 'driveway' is just below a hill on a two lane state road - a recipe for disaster. Traffic zipping along at 60 mph can top the hill to find an extended-trailer gravel truck blocking both lanes as it slowly turns onto the highway.

We've done some preliminary research and seen similar situations where access to the state hwy is denied until an acceleration lane can be added. That will take an extended period of time to approve, engineer, fund, contract and construct.

As I said, administrative guerrilla warfare.
State DOT's vary a lot. In my home state, they can be real sticks in the mud and fairly arbitrarily require left turn lanes and right turn lanes into the site. So the developer is stuck w/ the tab to build those. However an unnamed state to the south of my home state is the exact opposite. You can build a major shopping mall in the middle of a congested area and they don't even ask for turn lanes (let alone widening of roads, traffic signals, ramp improvements on freeways, etc).

Let's hope Texas DOT is on the ball. When discussing the situation with them, tell them you think there is inadequate sight distance for the driveway where they have proposed it. If you can get a copy of the quarry plans, take a look and propose they move their driveway to a location that would make their site work as poorly as possible. Claim that the newly proposed location of the driveway is the only possible way to ensure that the motoring public (namely your neighbors) can be safe on the road in front of the quarry site. Try to find a new location for the driveway that would make them cross a bunch of streams on their internal access road. Bridges to cross streams are expensive and getting approval to build bridge piers/supports inside a stream buffer can be expensive and time consuming. Hope this helps.

I think there's a texas traffic engineer on here - Htown?? - that may know more about local TDOT practice.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:46 AM   #27
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Let's hope Texas DOT is on the ball. When discussing the situation with them, tell them you think there is inadequate sight distance for the driveway where they have proposed it. If you can get a copy of the quarry plans, take a look and propose they move their driveway to a location that would make their site work as poorly as possible. Claim that the newly proposed location of the driveway is the only possible way to ensure that the motoring public (namely your neighbors) can be safe on the road in front of the quarry site. Try to find a new location for the driveway that would make them cross a bunch of streams on their internal access road. Bridges to cross streams are expensive and getting approval to build bridge piers/supports inside a stream buffer can be expensive and time consuming. Hope this helps.
I have a copy of the quarry plans and the proposed highway access point is the only logical way to get in or out of the place. Moving it would definitely increase his cost due to a large stream but would only make line of sight problems worse for highway traffic.

TXDot is very aggressive in requiring turn lanes on this particular highway. It was recently upgraded and turn lanes were added at every major entry/exit point, including two existing quarries farther up the road and the entrance to three nearby subdivisions.

One new subdivision went in just as the road was completed. They were forced to delay opening for more than a year while they waited for a turn lane to be installed - and were required to pay for it.

The local TXDot folks told us if their review of the proposed quarry access point results in the requirement for a turn lane they will not allow trucks to enter or exit until the road improvements are complete. Said they would block the entrance with boulders if necessary.

Of course talk is cheap...
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:19 AM   #28
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The local TXDot folks told us if their review of the proposed quarry access point results in the requirement for a turn lane they will not allow trucks to enter or exit until the road improvements are complete. Said they would block the entrance with boulders if necessary.
That is how our state DOT works. You generally must get a "driveway permit" to connect to the state roadway system. That can include submitting and getting your plans for turn lanes approved and constructed prior to opening the driveway. And they sometimes will place concrete barriers in the roadway to block access if the driveway is not approved. I believe they can also sue for significant statutory damages for every day that an unauthorized driveway is used. The "driveway permit" is our state DOT's stick to make developers do whatever they want them to do when they want them to do it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:24 AM   #29
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Good luck REW. Almost every place that I've lived has had neighboring land either taken over or threatened to be taken over by developers. Starting with the pond and forest by my childhood home that was bulldozed and turned into a housing development.

The score is developers: 3, homeowners: 1, with one game called on account of fire.

A huge development was planned for the Oakland hills, just above our home, but the fire of 1991 put an end to that.

A large destination resort Indian casino was planned nearby, and they even poured the foundation before it was halted by opposition.

And be aware that the root cause of all of these is overpopulation. If the population keeps increasing, expect more land to be turned over to developments and/or industrial uses.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:21 AM   #30
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Said they would block the entrance with boulders if necessary.
Hmmm, blocking the exit from a quarry with boulders... Where they move boulders for a living...How long do you think that would slow them down?
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:26 AM   #31
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Hmmm, blocking the exit from a quarry with boulders... Where they move boulders for a living...How long do you think that would slow them down?
I'd hope long enough for us to call our local law enforcement officials.

It would be nice to see him actually do it as it would likely generate even more negative publicity for him and further increase opposition to his operation.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:39 AM   #32
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Yikes. I'm not usually a fan of NIMBYism, but in this case it sounds like the homeowners were there first and it would be a major distraction *and* devastate property values, so yeah, that pretty much stinks. Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:49 AM   #33
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Go for it rewahoo.
As bbbam said find an animal in danger.
Aren't horned toads protected in your area. Or are they already gone?
Find one if possible and plant it, photo shoot, call the news.
Someone tried a similar thing in my area but gave up quickly due to resistance from community,
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:38 PM   #34
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I’ve been retired for almost five years and came to the realization I had allowed myself to become stuck in a rut...
I am sure you had in mind other more fun activities with your RV, and those that wouldn't raise one's blood pressure. This is no fun. Best of luck to you.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:16 PM   #35
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I am sure you had in mind other more fun activities with your RV, and those that wouldn't raise one's blood pressure. This is no fun.
Dunno. Seems to me getting heavily involved in a righteous cause, let alone one in your own back yard, could be a pretty rewarding venture. Use your administrative skills and free time, help out the other homeowners.. it all sounds like fun to me, though perhaps not in the Disney mode. Plenty of time to RV too.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:14 PM   #36
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Hmm... I looked on the list (Lists of Endangered Species: Texas), but I didn't see fire ants, chiggers, or scorpions. Maybe one of the cacti?
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:59 PM   #37
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Dunno. Seems to me getting heavily involved in a righteous cause, let alone one in your own back yard ...
I was not saying the fight wasn't for a worthy cause, just one that shouldn't exist in the first place. As it is, REW has to enter a fight just to maintain a status quo. It would upset me greatly.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:37 PM   #38
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I had been wondering where you were... Sounds like you're the perfect guy for this project to me.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:15 PM   #39
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I had been wondering where you were... Sounds like you're the perfect guy for this project to me.
I was thinking the same thing. The REW I've read here often, sounds like someone Zumwalt will be sorry they "messed with" (Texans know the saying). Best of luck, and hopefully you're next life change will be more pleasant.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:59 PM   #40
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One of the perks of ER is having the time and energy to fight issues such as this. DH and I spent considerable time and energy disputing a proposed change to the county regulations last summer which would have required hook to the public water system when a well fails and the property is located within 300 feet of an existing water main.

What the county engineers failed to take into account is the cost to the homeowner could be $70,000 or more to extend the water main to their property while a typical new well in the same area costs about $10,000.

We appreared before the planning commission and the board of supervisors and the proposed changed was not approved. The county engineers admitted to failing to consider the potential cost to the homeowner and ended up with egg on their faces before the county officials. The odd thing is we live in a county with over 1 million residents and about 15,000 households on private wells. We were the only ones to showed up to testify. If we hadn't taken the time to research and dispute this proposal, it would have passed.

Between DH (the engineer) and me (the accountant) we put together a powerful presentation complete with handouts. The county officals and staff were like "where did these people come from?".

The moral of the story is this. People who have some energy and know how can make a difference on a local level. We often feel powerless to change the direction of our nation, but we can change what happens in our own communities.

You go REWahoo. I'm rooting for you!
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