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Driftwood wedding venue decision postponed to Feb. 20

A decision on a controversial Driftwood wedding venue was pushed back another week as Dripping Springs city leaders continue to gather more information on the matter.

By a unanimous vote, the Dripping Springs City Council Feb. 13 voted to postpone a decision on the Mark Black Wedding Venue until Feb. 20

The decision was followed by heated comments from community members against the development of the venue during a scheduled public hearing. 

“We’ve got a lot of data and I think Friendship Alliance is looking to get us more data before next week’s deal that may change the equation,” said Dripping Springs City Councilmember John Kroll.  “Any extra data points is one that we can use to make a better informed decision.”

If the city council approves the development of the wedding venue, Black said development will begin in the near future.

During the meeting, Carlos Torres-Verdin, president of the Friendship Alliance, spoke on behalf of the concerned citizens.

Although no new scientific developments were presented Feb. 13, Torres-Verdin and other community members addressed concerns that ranged from fire safety to an increase in traffic on the road leading to the venue. 

Other concerns extended to the potential for noise issues and wastewater treatment, Torres-Verdin said.

On Jan. 23, the Dripping Springs Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the wedding venue by a 5-1 vote.

The News-Dispatch reported North Hays County Fire and Rescue Fire Chief Scott Collard reviewed and approved the plans and standards for the site. Dripping Springs City Engineer Chad Gilpin also approved the wedding development plans.

“I’m an engineer and I can tell you we make mistakes,” Torres-Verdin said. “The only way we can address mistakes is by having multiple ways of looking at the calculations with multiple voices.”

Torres-Verdin said his goal is not to be against the Mark Black Wedding Venue. The goal of the community is to try and provide the framework for a safe wedding venue.

“Unless something comes out of left field, I’m confident we got it right,” Black said. “We had our presentation at P&Z and (the neighbors) had theirs. All of the engineering has been cleared and approved by the county.”

Black said he was disappointed with some of the public comments at the meeting concerning his venue, but was hopeful for an outcome by Feb. 20.

“Council only has the power to regulate water quality out in that area,” Kroll said. “Fire, transportation and some of the other issues raised are not things we are the ability to compel, since the site is located in the ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction) n the circumstances we encourage the parties at dispute to work collectively to solve a problem.”

Kroll said an additional week may be all the city and the associated parties need to reach an agreement for the proposed wedding venue.

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