A Town Hall meeting on Jan. 20 at the Center Point Elementary School cafeteria, was held for Center Point residents wanting more information about proposed subdivision, “Eden Farms,” there.
The meeting lasted more than two and a half hours.
Officials attending included, in addition to Brandon Namken, developer of the project, Tom Moser, Kerr County Precinct 3 county commissioner; Charlie Hastings, Kerr County engineer; and engineers from Wellborn Engineering, hired by Namken.
Center Point-area community residents numbered about 50 people.
Namken’s plans are for a 150-acre site accessed by Willow Bend Road just north of Center Point and on one corner near the baseball field.
His proposal is for 166 single-family homesites and 124 permanent recreational vehicle sites on that acreage.
Moser opened the meeting, and Hastings told the audience that he and Moser have met several times over the past month with Namken, the Wellborn engineers, representatives of the Aqua Texas water provider, the Kendall County wastewater provider, and representatives of the Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District
“The big thing is water; but the other big thing is to have more workforce housing. But our strategy must be not to screw up what we have,” Moser told the attendees.
The developer told attendees he engaged Wellborn Engineering; and looked at tracts of property all over Kerr County.
“The challenges are topography and utilities,” he said. “We scaled down the density to accommodate water,” he said.
He said in addition to water services from Aqua Texas, he plans to to drill an added water well on the subdivision property.
“We are allowed 80,000 gallons of water per acre, according to Headwaters, or about 11.96 million gallons, he said. “So we estimated total acreage against water use and reduced it to 10 percent less than Headwaters asked.”
He said water use limits and other planned rules will be enforced under a “condominium scheme,” under which a chosen board of subdivision residents will vote on rules and enforcement for all the residents in both single family homes and RVs.
An attendee asked for more details on drainage and drilling a water well, and its depth in the floodplain, but Namken didn’t have detailed answers. He estimated a depth of 200-300 feet.
Namken said he’s built similar homes in New Braunfels; and showed photos on the video screen, saying they range from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet.
A resident asked Namken how fast this development will put Center Point in drought conditions. Mike Wellborn and Moser answered that the HGCD regulates that and this subdivision is designed not to exceed safe limits. That agency also regularly checks monitor wells all over the county including near this property, Moser said, adding, “We are trying to balance housing needs with water availability.”
Namken added that 66 acres will be left as “green space” in his plans. And Namken said the planned “development association” will control what goes on in the subdivision.
He was asked if the RV lots will be for permanent or mobile residents. He said 50 of them will be available for purchase by RV owners; the rest will remain for “temporary” residencies.
Asked the probable price of the new single-family homes, Namken said, “$225,000-$300,000.” And there were lots of murmuring comments among the audience.
What about road maintenance, he was asked. “The condo regime functions like a gated community, for roads,” he said.
Asked where that office will be, “possibly not in Center Point,” Namken responded, and he doesn’t know that yet.
Asked about lot sizes for the single-family homes, he said 75x150 feet.
Namken was accused by one attendee of using just water to justify the density. And more questions followed on water availability compared to lot sizes. One meeting leader said since there are no zoning regulations in Kerr County, that could change in the future.
Moser assured the citizens that for 150 acres divided by 175 lots, the water is here. He added the new homes would each have a rainwater catchment system and be fitted with faucets connected to those tanks specifically for landscape watering.
One attendee asked why the county commissioners seemed to be in a hurry to approve Namken’s plans at a special meeting Jan. 15, while another asked if they were going to limit the size of the families who could buy and reside in those homes. No one addressed that question.
One said they were setting a precedent that will continue, at County Commissioner Harley Belew’s “pushing” and Belew who was attending this Town Hall, didn’t deny it.
Asked who makes the decision, Moser said the County Commissioners’ Court. Asked his personal feelings whether to vote yes or no, Moser said based on water, density, streets and drainage, he’d vote to approve Namken’s plans.
One man protested again about his previous experience with stormwater drainage across that property; and concern about water remaining to fight fires with, after the new homes are built.
Attendees also asked about maintaining property values with the new RV portion there; and asked how many entrances the subdivision will have. One said if she bought one of the single-family homes at Namken’s estimated price, she wouldn’t want to drive by RVs to get to her house.
Another asked Center Point Independent School District Superintendent Cody Newcome, in attendance, if additional school children were going to lead to CPISD proposing an expensive bond issue to expand the school facilities. Newcomb said no, a bond is not on the table for the school board; and they have room now to grow by up to 500 more students.
Namken said the homes will be built in phases and take about three years for total build-out.
Moser said the county’s response so far, is their next main responsibility will be to acquire easements to deepen the storm drainage from Namken’s property under State Highway 27 to the Guadalupe River. And Hastings said their goal is to slow down that drainage flow.
One man responded that the drainage culvert installed recently under Hwy. 27 has three pipes that would carry water toward the river, but contractors sealed two of the three, and those need to be opened.
One man said, “I’ve seen various developments elsewhere and I would rather see this than trailer parks,” a sentiment others seemed to agree with.
A realtor in the audience said home values are up; and “we need ‘product’ like this; we really do.” He cited a figure of 9,000 people per day moving into Texas hoping to find work and workforce housing for a better life.
Moser agreed with him, listing business and employment prospects including the announced Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing and an unnamed second prospect that would employ “a couple hundred people.” He said this housing is necessary because of the needs now, and three to four years from now.
There also were questions and a discussion about whether the subdivision would have black-painted fire hydrants that only firefighters could connect to in emergencies. The answer was, yes, some for that purpose.
This item was also on the Monday, Jan. 25 regular meeting agenda. See story, page 1A.