The Granbury City Council voted unanimously this week to extend for one year a development moratorium in the eastern part of the city due to ongoing delays in building a second wastewater treatment plant.
The council was to also consider imposing a development moratorium city-wide due to its current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) on Waters Edge Drive nearing capacity but delayed doing so for further consultation with attorneys and city staff.
The city submitted a permit request for a plant at 3121 Old Granbury Road to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in September 2019.
The TCEQ issued a draft permit but then extended the public comment period after about 400 people raised concerns about a range of possible negative impacts.
On Dec. 14, 2020, with the matter still unresolved, the City Council enacted a moratorium within the city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) on all applications for plats to slow development and ensure that the city could continue providing adequate wastewater service.
On April 6, still having received no permit from the TCEQ, the council extended the moratorium through Oct. 5.
Last month, TCEQ commissioners voted to send the permit application to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a contested case hearing. That process will take months.
The extension of the development moratorium that the City Council approved Monday night will be in effect through Oct. 4, 2022. All applications for development in that area will be suspended during that time.
City Manager Chris Coffman said that the delay will impact about $100 million in economic development.
In addressing the council prior to the vote, Public Works Director Rick Crownover said that the WWTP will take 18-24 months to build.
That time frame is on top of the SOAH delay and a likely lawsuit if the permit is granted.
“For now, we need to extend this moratorium,” Crownover said. “The pipe is full, the treatment plant’s full, and we don’t need to take (on) any more development.”
Victoria Calder, a leader of Granbury Fresh, the group that opposes the Old Granbury Road location, questioned why the moratorium is in the eastern part of the city when “everybody flushes” throughout the city.
In response, Coffman explained that there is a bottleneck in the collection system in the eastern part of town, and that the new WWTP was planned to relieve the bottleneck upstream “before having to spend $8.5 million to upgrade the piping to the old plant.”
He added that the rest of the city will probably “fall under consideration” for a similar moratorium after further consultations.