By Samantha Smith
Action was taken at the Buda City Council meeting April 5 approving land development agreements with local landowners, which completes Buda’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) agreement with Austin from 2002.
According to Buda Planning Director Chance Sparks, all of the development agreements approved by city council had been in progress since January.
Sparks explained to council that the agreements were called “non-annexation development agreements,” meaning that the city has no intention of developing the land at this time, but will use the agreements to extend the city’s ETJ.
Citizens within the ETJ are not necessarily within the Buda city limits, so they are only privy to limited city services. The extension of those boundaries keeps Austin from imposing its ETJ on Buda citizens.
The approval extends Buda’s influence over future development decisions concerning the land and resources located in the newly extended ETJ.
Council member Bobby Lane said the extended ETJ “helps protect our vital natural resources like trees and water.”
Lane said at the meeting that he worked for former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson when the original agreement was drafted, which took six months.
“I would like to say thank you to the planning department for achieving this milestone in Buda’s history,” Lane said.
Sparks said his department received the cooperation from landowners.
“We’re happy the process is done and how successfully we worked with the property owners along the way,” Sparks said in an emailed response.
The annexed land remains with the property owners while also allowing Buda to have jurisdiction over it, protecting it from neighboring cities.
“We’ll have a better say over what is developed on the property,” Lane said. “It will protect the interest and quality of life for the citizens of Buda along with providing quality development.”
Lane said persistence “pays off” for the city as it worked to expand its ETJ.
“We’ve gone from being surrounded by Austin to having our own ETJ on the west and south sides, and I just wanted to say thank you to staff and property owners for helping us to get through that process,” Lane said. “[Here we are fourteen years later and we finally got it done.”