By Megan Wehring
DRIPPING SPRINGS — The temporary development moratorium related to wastewater availability in Dripping Springs expired on Sunday, Sept. 18.
A temporary moratorium on development was enacted on Nov. 18, 2021 and was extended in February 2022 to May 21, 2022. In May, the moratorium as it related to land use was lifted but the Dripping Springs City Council extended it as it related to the provision of wastewater through Sept. 18, 2022. Now, that part of the temporary moratorium has been lifted as well.
Despite lifting the moratorium regarding wastewater, it doesn’t mean the challenge in providing wastewater is solved, according to a press release.
The city is near capacity with providing wastewater to new residents and businesses and is still in litigation regarding the expansion of the South Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Until the lawsuit is settled, applicants will continue to face challenges to their proposed projects that depend on wastewater service.
“We still have the same challenges we had before the moratorium,” said Ginger Faught, deputy city administrator. “But until we have an end date in sight with the litigation, it doesn’t make sense to continue to extend the moratorium indefinitely. Once the litigation has an end date, we could still enact another moratorium in regard to the provision of wastewater while we work out the best solutions based on how the lawsuit is settled. Until then, the city is working diligently on preparing to be able to promptly bring wastewater infrastructure online once the litigation is over.”
While the moratorium is lifted, the city will continue to work on solutions that work for both the city and the property owners seeking to build in Dripping Springs. The moratorium gave the city time to develop guidelines and steps to follow with applicants who are seeking to build in the growing area.
“The council continues to recognize the impact of rapid growth on providing for responsible development in relation to providing adequate wastewater infrastructure for the city but believes that can be done without the formal Temporary Moratorium in place,” according to a city press release.
“The city’s responsibility is to protect how our community grows. We enacted the Temporary Moratorium to ensure future development was done in a sustainable manner and beneficial to the city,” said Mayor Bill Foulds. “The moratorium allowed us to pause and make sure we planned for addressing the growth now and in the future and we will continue to do so now that it’s been lifted. Our goal with this and everything we do is to protect the treasured quality of life we have all come to know and love in Dripping Springs.”
During the moratorium, city leaders met with developers and builders who had questions or concerns and approved waivers and exceptions primarily for ongoing projects. The city also started the process of revisiting the Comprehensive Plan and studying land use and development in the city limits and Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and hired a professional land planning firm to provide comprehensive plan and development code services.
“The 2045 Comprehensive Plan for Dripping Springs is about 40% through its development,” said Planning Director Howard Koontz. “We’ve conducted one online survey and are in the final stage of a second one. Along with those surveys, we held in-person stakeholder meetings in July and just held our first public meeting earlier this week. We will hold two to three more public meetings over the next few months.”
More information on the comprehensive plan and the link to the current survey, can be found on the city’s comprehensive plan website reimaginedrippingsprings.com. For information on the lifting of the moratorium, please call the city at 512-858-4725.