By Reena Diamante PUBLISHED Jun. 26, 2019
DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — A 10-acre RV park could be coming to Dripping Springs, right around the corner from Hamilton Pool.
RV park would be on 401 Stagecoach Ranch RoadIt would include 84 lotsPermit applications have been submitted
Developers said they are building a resort in hopes of bringing more visitors out to the Hill Country, but there is some pushback from the community. The small company, BenTree Builders, has submitted permit applications to Travis County and the Lower Colorado River Authority to construct an RV park on 401 Stagecoach Ranch Road, which is less than a mile away from the entrance to Hamilton Pool.
Kristy Petree, one of BenTree Builders’s owners, said she loves nature and called this project a dream in the making.“It’s not going to be an eyesore. It’s going to be beautiful. We’re going to build it and be extremely proud of it,” Petree said over the phone.
Based on an application to the county, the proposal would include room for 84 lots, a septic system, and a well. “People are going to want to come to the Hill Country more, visit our parks, spend money here,” Petree said. “Our park is going to be an asset. It’s not going to be a hindrance. It’s going to be a great addition. We’re not going to hurt Hamilton Pool.”
But, there is a petition going around, that some neighbors on Stagecoach Ranch Road started, opposing the development. Taylor Tatsch lives down the street from Hamilton Pool. The San Antonio-area native said he moved to Dripping Springs three years ago.
“One of my big memories since I was a kid was coming up to the Hill Country and swimming in the clean streams, fishing, climbing around in the hills. It just seemed so beautiful, and I wanted to have that for my kids,” Tatsch said. “Part of having something that nice is being responsible for it.”
Some people who live nearby fear groundwater contamination, surface runoff into Hamilton Pool, and increased noise and light pollution. “There’s so many different factors that it has the adverse reaction of possibly destroying the thing that you promote and preserve,” Tatsch said. BenTree Builders’s developers promise they are not cutting any corners and they will meet safety standards.
“There’s absolutely no way we’re going to construct something, build something that would damage or pollute Hamilton Pool. It’s not going to happen. We have the best engineers, the best designers, the best installers from the well, to the septic, to all of our infrastructure. Everything will meet all the guidelines, all of the regulations. There will be no shortcuts. We have worked from day one with all the entities,” Petree said.
Under the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance, LCRA has permitting authority when it comes to protecting water quality throughout the Highland Lakes region. According to the website: “LCRA actively manages storm water runoff around the Highland Lakes and the Lower Colorado River to contain the pollution found in storm water runoff, such as pesticides, soil, nutrients and other contaminants from everyday life.”
A spokesperson for LCRA said staff completed a review of an initial application to the RV park and notified the owners of BenTree Builders about the need for revisions in order to comply with the ordinance. The spokesperson said if or when the revisions will be submitted, LCRA staff will review them thoroughly and if they meet the ordinance, a permit will be issued. Travis County officials said they are also reviewing permits applications.
Some people are also worried about more traffic in the area, noting that Stagecoach Ranch Road is the only road in and out of the neighborhood. “With the fires of 2011, we had to evacuate all the residents, out here. If we had to sit behind 80 RVs also trying to exit, that’s a real hazard for the residents who are already out here,” said neighbor David Johnsen.
Petree said she understands where the neighbors are coming from.
“It could be so many things that could be detrimental to the community. It could be big retail, it could be huge apartments, offices, it could be automotive,” she said. “People that RV respect property, love nature, and aren’t going to abuse, our Hill Country. They’re going to enjoy it.”
As of Wednesday morning, more than 10,500 people signed the petition. Some of the neighbors said they are planning to meet with developers this week.