Several Acres Homes residents and their state representative remain opposed to a concrete batch plant operating in their community.
They might have to live next to one anyway.
According to a letter from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality mailed to Acres Homes residents May 15, the organization’s executive director has ruled that Soto Ready Mix’s batch plant application meets the requirements of applicable law.
However, the TCEQ also emphasized the decision does not yet authorize construction or operation of any proposed facilities on the site at 3411 Desoto St. Before taking further action, the TCEQ must consider all contested case hearing requests or requests for reconsideration.
As of March, there were more than 50 hearing requests.
“This fight is not over,” said state representative Jarvis Johnson, who serves the area and has opposed the plant from the beginning. “There are many residents who have presented a strong argument for a contested case hearing. I will continue to work with stakeholders to stop this batch plant from operating in our community.”
Soto Ready Mix did not immediately respond to a Tuesday email requesting comment.
On Monday, the TCEQ confirmed all parties that requested a contested case hearing at the October public hearing will be reviewed during an upcoming 30-day window.
“This decision will be considered by the commissioners at a regularly scheduled public meeting before any action is taken on this application unless all requests for contested case hearing or reconsideration have been withdrawn before that meeting,” the TCEQ letter said.
Any new contested case hearing requests must be submitted to the TCEQ’s chief clerk by June 15. Residents can submit their requests electronically at tceq.texas.gov/goto/comments. A copy of the complete application, the draft permit and the preliminary decision by executive director Toby Baker are available for viewing and copying at the TCEQ central office, the Houston regional office and the Collier Regional Library at 6200 Pinemont Dr.
Soto Ready Mix submitted an initial permit application in March 2018, prompting concern from area residents. The TCEQ struck down that application a month later.
“During the application review process, it was determined that the 100-foot setback requirement from the central baghouse stack exhaust to the nearest property line was not met, therefore the application has been voided,” the TCEQ wrote in its denial letter.
A subsequent application by Soto Ready Mix, submitted in October 2018, is the one now being considered.