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Dripping Springs extends temporary development moratorium

Rapid growth has pushed the city to its wastewater limit. The City hopes to use the time to plan ahead for future growth.

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — The City of Dripping Springs will not accept new development permit applications through early next year as part of a temporary development moratorium.

The temporary moratorium was first enacted on Nov. 18, and has been extended through Feb. 20, 2022. During that period, the City said permit applications for development will not be accepted unless a waiver has been approved. 

The moratorium affects permits for new development related to subdivision, site planning, development, land use and construction in the city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction for both residential and commercial projects.

"We can't keep up with it with our current infrastructure and our planning," said Dripping Springs Mayor Bill Foulds before the start of the moratorium. "We did our last comprehensive plan in 2016. Since then, our population has more than doubled, almost tripled." 

The City may decide to extend the moratorium again come February.

The City said it hopes the moratorium will give officials time to come up with a plan for responsible development and future planning as rapid growth has pushed the city to infrastructure limits, even reaching its wastewater capacity.

"The City of Dripping Springs recognizes the impact of rapid growth on providing for responsible development, especially as it related to density, transportation and the provision of wastewater," the City said in a release.

The goal, according to the release, is to improve planning so that commercial development ordinances and regulations and other applicable laws prevent new development "from being detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare of the residents of the city, while also addressing the need for sustainable infrastructure."

It is also in the process of updating its comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance to accommodate land-use regulation issues.

Home builder Kyle Fernandez is disappointed by the moratorium.

"So while it doesn't concern me in the immediate, if the moratorium lasts for, you know, a month, two months, three months, it will affect my custom home business quite a bit," said Fernandez. 

“The City’s responsibility is to protect how our community grows, and sometimes, that requires us to make tough, but necessary decisions,” Foulds said. “It’s no secret how quickly we are growing. Enacting the temporary moratorium and giving serious consideration to an extension of that moratorium would allow us the needed time to update the City’s comprehensive plan and ensure our ordinances and regulations are appropriate for addressing this growth now and in the future. Our goal is to protect the treasured quality of life we have all come to know and love.”

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