Posted by: micotexas | January 13, 2010

Summary of January 12 Community Meeting

Outline of Proposed Zumwalt Quarry and Location of Rock Crusher

Google Earth image showing the outline area of the proposed 30 acre quarry and initial location of rock crusher (click on image to zoom)

Summary of Jan 12 Community Meeting on the Zumwalt Quarry


The meeting was attended by approximately 150 residents and others interested in the proposed rock quarry to be built by H.L. Zumwalt Construction, Inc on a 600 acre Mico ranch belonging to Henry Zumwalt.  Two individuals representing Zumwalt Construction spoke to meeting attendees: Matt Bellos, an Environmental Specialist with Westward Environmental, Inc. and Daryl Zumwalt with Zumwalt Construction.

Matt Bellos said his company was hired by Henry Zumwalt to write up the air and water permit requests to be submitted to the TCEQ for the quarry.  He explained that Mr. Zumwalt had wanted a permit for a small 10-15 acre quarry but that Westward Environmental had encouraged him to ask for a larger, 30 acre quarry area since the permitting cost and future regulatory requirements to expand the quarry would likely be considerably more expensive and more difficult to obtain.  Mr. Bellos then gave an overview of the quarry location and what the operating limits (worst case) were under the permit, emphasizing that Mr. Zumwalt did not plan to quarry the full 30 acres and would use the quarry materials to build roads on the 600 acre ranch and for some of his other projects.

Daryl Zumwalt then spoke to the meeting saying the ranch was where his mom and dad planned to retire and spend their golden years and that they were currently in the process of determining a location to build a house on the property.   He explained the quarry would be a small operation located in an area which would not be seen from wherever his parents built their house,  the rock would not be sold but would be used primarily for building roads on the the 600 acre ranch and possibly for some other Zumwalt Construction projects, would not add to the truck traffic on FM 1283 and that once the operation was eventually complete, the excavation left behind would be used as a stock tank on the ranch.

Members of the audience were then given an opportunity to comment and ask questions of Mr. Bellos and Mr. Zumwalt.  These comments and questions centered on the following four themes:

1. Strong opposition to Zumwalt placing a quarry in a location surrounded by and in sight of many nearby homes in established subdivisions, destroying the peaceful enjoyment of living in the country.

2.  Concerns regarding what yet another quarry, this one even closer than the other nine in the area, would do to the quality and availability of our air and water.

3. Lack of environmental oversight and enforcement by local, state and federal agencies of quarry operations.  Monitoring permit compliance problems  falls on individual citizens who must report violations to the TCEQ.

4. The discrepancy between what we were being told were Mr. Zumwalt’s plans for the quarry vs. what the permit applications stated and the fact that there was something inherently illogical about Mr. Zumwalt’s plans to build a “retirement home for their golden years” while starting a new rock quarry on the same property.  Residents found it difficult to believe anyone would destroy a large area of their future retirement home to quarry and crush rock for a few roads on the 600 acre property.  Residents perceived they were being told of these plans to reduce opposition for the permit so that a much larger commercial quarry operation could  be undertaken once the permit had been granted.

The meeting lasted an hour and a half, was generally cordial and ended with spoken desires by Zumwalt Construction to be good neighbors – and an appeal from residents for Mr. Zumwalt to reconsider his plans, understand the harm his operation would do to his neighbors and not build his quarry in Mico.


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Responses

  1. Alert:
    An “informal pubic meeting”on the Zumwalt quarry has been tentatively scheduled for Feb 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Hills Civic Center, according to TCEQ media spokesperson Lisa Wheeler. I am supposed to call her Monday Jan 18 at 512-239 -5003 to see if the date and time have been confirmed. State Representative Tracy King asked for and was granted the public meeting with TCEQ officials

    Alert Addendum: Zumwalt’s 30 day notice period for his TCEQ air permit began anew on Jan 14 because of a mis-posted notice sign. The new deadline for deadline for public comment is around Feb 13, or whenever the 30 days expire. I was told by Carol Uresti’s office the notice was republished on Jan 14 but I am not certain in what paper. I did not see the Zumwalt notice in the Hondo Anvil Herald so maybe it was in the SA-Express. But two pieces of good news–the new TCEQ 30 day notice period and the TCEQ Feb 9 public meeting–is better than sneezing at aggregated dust!

    • Interesting info about the start over date. I heard something similar yesterday from a different source. As of yesterday the TCEQ does not have the same information.

      I spoke to the TCEQ Office of Public Assistance Friday afternoon and was told the comments they had received regarding improper notification and sign placement were being reviewed by their legal department and that there were no changes to the 30 day comment period scheduled to end on Jan 29.

      I checked the sign placement again a few minutes ago (Saturday morning, Jan 16) and did not see where any signs have been moved or added. I also looked carefully for notices published on January 14 in the Hondo Anvil, SA Express and Castroville News Bulletin and saw nothing from Zumwalt. The only other possibility is the Helotes Echo which I will check later today.

      UPDATE: The Wed, Jan 13 issue of the Helotes Echo contained no legal notices.

  2. We heard a lot of carefully chosen words from Mr Bellos and Mr Zumwalt but they didn’t directly address the “giant elephant” in the room.

    What is our next plan of action? Have we been granted a meeting with TCEQ? As a group, do we have any type of legal representation?

    Has anyone obtained a copy of the TCEQ report? We have a copy and it’s very interesting to say the least. We paid less than $5 to have it copied.

    Although I am disabled, my wife and I will help in any way we can. Thank you!


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