Lauren Concrete officials share plant plans

BY ALEXANDRIA RANDOLPH

While concrete plant officials share their plans for pending facilities, Burnet County residents have begun to question whether the county is prepared for increased industrialization.

After a concrete company applied for an air quality permit with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality on June 15, Burnet County residents have turned to local officials to voice concerns about increased industrialization.

Dave Holmes, resident of Stone Mountain in the Tobyville area, said the issue is bigger than this plant.

“What's happening is the Texas legislature is favoring the aggregate industry big time,” he said. “The legislature does not consider the county when they approve gravel digs.”

In August, Burnet County Judge James Oakley said the county had no say over the permit besides acknowledging receipt of it.

Holmes still wants his voice heard about what he considers “unbridled expansion.” He and several other residents spoke to local officials in public hearings at Burnet County Commissioner's Court regarding the aggregate businesses popping up in the area.

“I tried to go through the proper channels,” he said, adding that he had even attempted to contact his state senator. “It seems the state regulations do not include the county in making decisions.”

The company who will build the plant, Lauren Concrete, Inc., is a family owned business, said Ryan Bartholomew, Chief Executive Officer. The concrete that will be produced in the Burnet concrete batch plant will be used in house slabs, sidewalks, and other basic infrastructure.

“The property is 18-19 acres,” Bartholomew said. “The batch plant will be a small piece of it.”

The plant will be approximately 20 feet wide and 60 feet long. Bartholomew explained that conveyor belts will weigh the aggregate materials and feed them into a loading area, where they are dropped into the tanks of transport trucks.

“A silo drops cement into the truck as well,” he said. “Then the trucks do the mixing.”

Bartholomew said there will be no rock crushing at the facility.

“We bring rock in that has already gone through that process. We would buy it from those companies,” he said, referring to rock quarries in the area such as APAC-Texas in central Burnet County and Vulcan Materials Company in Spicewood.

“People worry about the cement dust, which comes from overhead,” he said, “but we put a dust collector – basically a shroud – over the truck to prevent that. TCEQ is really hard on us about that.”

Bartholomew added that there is no heat and no burning of materials during this process.

Holmes said that even if dust production can be disregarded, the increase of truck traffic is a concern for Burnet County residents, especially in his community, where several rock quarries are located.

“It's not so much about the plant itself – it's going to put additional trucks on US 281,” he said. “We've got a major development going in near the TX 71, US 281 intersection, and I'm just imagining fully loaded cement trucks traveling through Marble Falls.”

The development he refers to is the Gregg Ranch residential and multi-family housing development that will soon begin construction at the southernmost point of Burnet County.

“There are concrete trucks, and they will be on the road. That's what people may be concerned about,” Bartholomew said. “As far as we're concerned, we found the perfect property on a safe stretch of road.

 

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