Subdivision files suit against Driftwood venue owners

A Driftwood-area subdivision has filed suit against the owners of a controversial wedding venue, citing a road used to access the proposed site is private property.

On Sept. 26, members of the Radiance neighborhood Board of Trustees filed suit in Hays County District Court against Mark and Michael Black, owners of the Mark Black Wedding Venue, which is located along FM 1828.

The Radiance Board of Trustees, which is comprised of community leaders from the neighborhood, filed the suit on the grounds that a portion of Concord Circle fronting the Mark Black Wedding Venue is a private road that’s owned and maintained by the neighborhood.

Members of the Radiance board argued the street cannot be used as a road for Mark Black, his corporate office or their construction team.

Residents of Radiance want the brothers to instead build a private roadway in and out of their venue, a contingency that has not been agreed to in writing.

Bill Brock, president of the Radiance Property Owners Association (POA), said the neighborhoods surrounding the Mark Black Wedding Venue are concerned with the potential fire hazard and possible traffic issues in case of an emergency, and noise pollution among other concerns.

The News-Dispatch originally reported the capacity for the wedding venue would be around 600 participants, but Mark Black told the newspaper that he did not intend to hold weddings at that capacity. Despite nearby residents’ concerns, the Dripping Springs City Council in May approved a site development permit application for the venue. 

Despite some oral agreements made behind closed doors, including preliminary agreements from the Blacks to address some concerns, residents want the contingency to be addressed in writing.

“We’ve had neighborhood meetings and never once has he agreed in writing with our issues including on outdoor music, traffic and fire safety,” Brock said. “We just want to be very specific with our concerns because he has not.”

The lawsuit, which was filed on Sept. 26, will be reviewed by the Hays County State District Court which will rule in favor or opposition to the filing by the Radiance POA.

Over a decade ago, the residents of Radiance fought to get a portion of the road back into Hays County’s jurisdiction. During the process, Hays County remised and never completed the deed, leaving the road to the ownership of Radiance.

Construction of the wedding venue is set to begin this week, according to a written statement by the Black family.

“The majority of our neighbors have been welcoming and helpful, unfortunately, a very few small number of neighbors have continually tried to bully and pressure us into stopping our development,” the statement read. “When the neighbors picketed our restaurant, Terry Black’s Barbecue on Barton Springs Road, we knew they would stop at nothing to try to hurt our small family business.”

The Black family called the lawsuit the latest in a string of attacks that has gone on for more than two years, despite receiving approval from local, state and federal agencies.

“We look forward to handling this baseless lawsuit and our counter-suit in the court of law,” the statement read.

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