Dripping Springs renews moratorium

By Megan Wehring 

DRIPPING SPRINGS – Dripping Springs is extending its development moratorium again – this time, for 120 days. 

In a unanimous vote on May 17, the Dripping Springs City Council voted to approve extending the development moratorium through Sept. 18 for wastewater needs. The extension will continue to affect all permits for new development in both the city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). This applies to residential, commercial and projects that require wastewater service from the city.

After the public hearing held on Tuesday, the moratorium related to land use was lifted but the council extended the moratorium as it relates to wastewater. 

Council member Geoffrey Tahuahua questioned the need for properties in the ETJ, which will most likely not use wastewater services within the city, to be incorporated in the moratorium and waiver process.

“That’s just how it’s drafted,” answered Laura Mueller, city attorney. “It’s council’s pleasure whether it applies in the city and ETJ or just in the city. I would say we do have wastewater service in the ETJ so if we did want to apply for it in the ETJ, and somebody came in with a permit application, they can file an exception form, which is administrative, at the same time as their application. If they can show that they are not ever going to get city wastewater, they have septic or they have their own plans for wastewater, that would be approved at the same time their application is being administratively approved for completeness.”

Mueller clarified that a property owner in the ETJ would only need to go through the waiver process if they wanted city wastewater and city council only has 10 days to approve each waiver request.

The moratorium was adopted in November 2021 and was then extended in February 2022 to May 21, 2022. Over the past six months, city leaders met with developers and builders who were concerned with the delayed development and they also approved over 40 waivers and exceptions for projects. 

Exceptions can be reviewed and approved by city staff, without needing to go through the city council waiver approval process – which occurs at weekly council meetings. More information can be found at https://www.cityofdrippingsprings.com/moratorium 

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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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