The City of Wimberley Council has opened a public hearing on the Transportation Master Plan. Public Comments will continue to be accepted until December 1 at the next City Council Meeting where agenda items include the public hearing and discussion and possible action on the Transportation Master Plan.
The intense drought of 2022 reminds us that our groundwater supplies are finite. Careful planning must include discussion of transportation infrastructure but also development areas, conservation lands, and water supply, demand, and protection. The Watershed Association submitted public comments that suggest removing roads through undeveloped areas, establishing a Hill Country Roadway designation with setbacks and construction guidelines, and updating the plan to reflect community environmental protections–not just carrying projects forward because they were on an outdated plan.
Transportation, development, and water issues are all connected. Please consider voicing your thoughts, comments, and concerns before the December 1 meeting. Details, maps, and how to submit comments are on the Wimberley Transportation Plan Website. Here are the Watershed Association comments:
November 28, 2022
City of Wimberley
Wimberley, TX 78676
RE: Transportation Master Plan Public Comment
City of Wimberley Council Members and Staff:
We are grateful for your work on behalf of all the citizens of the Wimberley Valley who deal with increasingly challenging water supply and development pressures. We value leaders who have taken the time to deeply understand the dilemma in planning for a thriving economy in an area with uniquely fragile karst hydrogeology. We value your support, participation, and collaboration on water quality controls and water supply protection efforts of the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan. We have heard you clearly grapple with the balance between traffic congestion and watershed protection, and between water quality, road construction, and development concerns.
The 2022 Transportation Master Plan includes several unnecessary legacy projects as holdovers from a 2010 transportation plan. The projects identified below in Table 1 are contrary to the current need and awareness for conservation development that protects critical recharge areas and sensitive riparian zones to protect water supplies, preserve endangered species habitat, and reduce flood risk for our community. New roads through undeveloped areas will attract new development that is unsupportable with available groundwater resources and would impact groundwater availability for environmental features and existing development.
Projects to remove from proposed Transportation Plan Project ID Facility Length Description Rationale for removal from 2022 TMP 14 River Road Extension
Collector, From Wayside Drive
To RR 2325
2.79 miles Construct new location roadway
(2010 Plan Designation: Segment D)
Proposed route crosses Wilson and Eaton Hollow Creeks which feed the Blanco River. The route is through undeveloped land with karst features making it a sensitive area for water quality protection. There is no existing or anticipated traffic load that would make this road necessary. The proposed route does not alleviate current or future traffic issues and does not guide development in an environmentally advantageous way. 15 Carney Lane So. Extension
Collector, From Wayside Drive To Transfer Station
0.96 mile Construct new location roadway (south)
(2010 Plan Designation: Segment E)
The proposed route parallels Green Acres Dr and would cross Wilson Creek. Development within the creek buffer zone would increase flood risk downstream. 19 (Unnamed)
Collector, From Cypress Creek Lane To Winters Mill Parkway
1.26 miles Construct new location roadway
(2010 Plan Designation: Segment I)
Proposed route crosses Cypress Creek upstream of Blue Hole Regional Park through undeveloped, sensitive karst terrain with several known springs. This route is unnecessary because Winter’s Mill Parkway already provides an adequate alternative/bypass to downtown roads and does not guide development in an environmentally advantageous way. 20 (Unnamed)
Collector, From Flite Acres Rd
To RM 3237
1.84 miles Construct new location roadway
(2010 Plan Designation: Segment J)
Proposed route runs parallel to Little Ranches Rd, which already provides alternate access and is predominantly on undeveloped land with no subdivision. This route is unnecessary because it does not alleviate traffic or access issues and does not guide development in an environmentally advantageous way. 21 Fulton Ranch Rd
Collector, From Flite Acres/ Little Arkansas Rd To near Saddleridge Section 2
3.59 miles Upgrade existing roadway
(2010 Plan Designation: Segment L)
The proposed roadway upgrade would minimally benefit existing surrounding communities.
As a headwaters community, Wimberley has a special obligation to design and encourage growth that protects our aquifers, springs, creeks, and rivers. Our economy and way of life depend on it. Drought and groundwater pumping have already shown that our water resources are finite and this year have negatively impacted thousands of residents’ wells and recreational areas like Jacob’s Well Natural Area, and Blue Hole Regional Park—just to name a few. Road expansion through undeveloped tracts of land would encourage new development that our regional water supplies cannot support.
Several surrounding communities use proactive planning tools such as scenic roadway designations that could be useful to the City of Wimberley in guiding responsible development in the ETJ. Such specially designated roadways bring economic value to a region, and offer scenic protection that also preserves open space, wildlife habitat, and rural character. Limiting access and creating conservation easements alongside right-of-way can mitigate the choking effect of concrete swaths over undulating, porous karst topography. Consider that a mile of 200-foot right-of-way covers 24 acres of land. These simple lines on a map erase thousands of acres that recharge our aquifer and contribute to flood mitigation. As an example, the City of Austin uses a Hill Country Scenic Roadway designation to set key code restrictions to preserve the look and feel of iconic routes (see: Article 11 City Code – Hill Country Roadway Requirements).
We applaud the City of Wimberley for their planning efforts and encourage the Council Members to vote on a Transportation Master Plan that takes the current water situation, community environmental protections, and development concerns into account and not just carry over outdated projects from years ago without a current justification. Thank you for the opportunity to submit public comments for your consideration. We understand the planning process really never ends, and we look forward to collaborating on integration of land, water, and transportation in comprehensive countywide partnership.
- Mayor Gina Fulkerson, email@example.com
- Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member Rebecca Minnick, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council Member Teresa Shell, email@example.com
- Council Member Chris Sheffield, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council Member Jim Chiles, email@example.com
- Council Member David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
- City Administrator Timothy Patek, email@example.com
- City Secretary Tammy Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org