Business pleas not guilty in Buda odor case

A plea of not guilty has been submitted by an area composting business at the center of an ongoing case involving violation of Buda’s odor nuisance ordinance.

According to a city press release, the plea was submitted for the first and second round of code enforcement complaints, as well as various citizen complaints, against GrubTubs, Inc., located on Old Black Colony road.

Buda city officials said a pre-trial hearing on the matter is scheduled for Sept. 12. Pre-trial municipal court hearings are closed to the public. If GrubTubs chooses to go to trial, Hays County Pct. 5 Judge Scott Cary could set a trial date, which would be open the public.

The Hays Free Press reported in July Buda had filed its first court case in Municipal Court against GrubTubs relating to various odor complaints filed by property owners who live near the compositing site. The move came after the city in early May approved an odor nuisance ordinance.

The new law prohibits offensive odors within the city limits and 5,000-feet beyond it, as well as further defining what an offensive odor is.

According to information gathered via public information request, 193 odor complaints were received by Buda’s Code Enforcement Officer from May 8 to July 22. Of those 193 complaints, 189 of those were “about a property on Old Black Colony road,” according to information provided by Assistant City Attorney Caroline Kelley. No additional specifics were given on which property

However, Buda officials said in a release GrubTubs is beyond Buda’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) and is not subject to the city’s development rules and regulations.

Buda officials said in a release Hays County, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other state agencies have authority over GrubTubs based on their rules and regulations.

On Aug. 21, TCEQ’s regional office conducted six odor surveys in a nearby neighborhood, as well as four total on-site investigations in 2018 and 2019 according to a Buda release.

According to Buda officials, two notices of violation were issued to GrubTubs in March and June 2019. TCEQ also cited GrubTubs on Aug. 21 for odor violations and Buda officials said an enforcement case “is being developed.”

“The TCEQ will continue to respond to citizen complaints regarding the facility and is working with both Hays County and the city of Buda regarding this compliance issue,” per a Buda press release.

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