DS Transportation Master Plan gets green light

By Megan Wehring

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Dripping Springs moved forward with a Transportation Master Plan, but not without hesitancy from residents.

The city is experiencing significant growth, heightening the need for updated transportation infrastructure. Following a public hearing on Oct. 19, the Dripping Springs City Council unanimously approved the proposed Transportation Plan that has been on the drawing board since 2018.

In the Dripping Springs transportation plan, there are proposed alternate routes for US 290 to the north and to the south. These would serve as a local bypass to the US 290 and RR 12 intersection and a regional bypass to central Dripping Springs — allowing more mobility on US 290 altogether.

While residents had opportunities to participate in the planning process, not all community feedback was positive.

Joe Kanetzky, owner of a 50-year family ranch, expressed his concerns about the placement of planned roads and the lack of communication with extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) residents.

“As far as I know,” Kanetzky said. “No one outside of the city of Dripping Springs has been contacted. Thousands of people whose property is being affected. I have two major highways that you are now dividing my property up with and no one has ever contacted me. I’m probably the most affected by this.”

Others were concerned about how local businesses would be affected by the transportation plan and the environmental impact.

Residents in the ETJ have a voice in city decisions, Mayor Bill Foulds explained. There are more than 100 volunteers on different boards and commissions, each with a large percentage of ETJ residents.

Routes in the Transportation Master Plan are still in the preliminary phase and when they move forward with developers, the public will be involved.

“When any of these projects move forward,” said Leslie Pollack, transportation engineer, “there are preliminary engineer studies that would be done where you would look at environmental impact, multiple alignments of the road and different locations where the road would be constructed to determine the final feasibility of the road. All of those things would be addressed if any of these roads move forward. It’s not done at the ETJ, countywide level. It’s done on an individual basis.”

A transportation master plan is only a map or guide for future development, said Mayor Pro Tem Taline Manassian.

“They are conceptual lines on a map,” Manassian said. “We have no intention of splitting anybody’s property, taking anybody’s property or making their property such that they can’t sell it. That’s not where we are heading with this map. What we are doing is paving the way for the development of roads in the future as properties turn over.”

To view the full Transportation Master Plan, please visit the Dripping Springs website.

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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