CIty VS State law : What a Quarry we have here.
Posted in the El Paso Forum
#1 Nov 30, 2012
["EL PASO, Texas —
A battle over land rights in the northeast threatens the city of El Paso's master plan.
An obscure law allows for a quarry to be built on city-owned land in the far northeast and the city really can't do anything about it.
Homeowners in the area tell KFOX14 they don't want a quarry in their backyard.
James Ray Myrick Jr. said he's concerned about the effects it will have on his home. He said he experienced problems with mining before when he lived off Alabama Street.
"You have a lot of structural damage from the blasting when the houses are settling, and even if your house is already settling and you are not far from it, it's going to show some type of foundation problems or structural problem," said Myrick.
The city owns the surface rights to the land located off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stan Robert Avenue in the far northeast.
An obscure law from 1919 called the relinquishment act means any minerals below the surface belong to the state of Texas and their right to the land supersedes the city's right.
"The state's mineral rights take precedent over any other rights of ownership the city has for that land," said Rep. Susie Byrd.
"The thing that's really the most disheartening for us is it's our land and yet we don't get to control its outcome. Not only that, it's within out city limits and normally if something is within our city limits we are able to regulate its use and how it's developed," said Byrd.
The city entrusts the land to the Public Service Board. The PSB has to come before council before it sells any of the city's land but it doesn't have to go get council approval before leasing the land.
"Under our current policy relationship with them, they can enter into leases without concurring with city council althoughthat might be something we might want to change in the future based on what happened just recently," said Byrd.
Byrd said the state told the PSB they could not deny the company Jobe Materials the right to mine for sand and gravel on that location.
"The state essentially forced the Public Service Board into leasing that land. The threat was either 'you lease it and take the royalties or we will fight you for it and take the land and any royalties.' So not only would you be out of land but you will be out of the royalties you would have gotten," said Byrd.
Byrd said that greatly affects the city's northeast master plan as well as the value of land in the area. The master plan shows residential areas on the land that the quarry will occupy as well as residential and mixed use surrounding the area.
"I think it will make it harder to sell and we will probably have to revisit the northeast master plan to figure out how to compensate for the fact that there will be a quarry there," said Byrd.
Jobe Materials' lease is for 40 years with the option to renew. Byrd said that will totally ruin the land and make it virtually unusable and worthless.
"You see the effects of the mining, for example, with Mckelligon Canyon, where it's just a massive hole in our mountain. I think it's very damaging and I'm not quite sure why we need to quarry additional land," said Byrd.
Myrick told KFOX he signed a petition against the quarry.
"I don't want my house shaking and foundation from the blasting. I don't want a quarry near me. I've been trying to move away from the quarry, ever since Jobe was up on Alabama (Street)," said Myrick.
But other neighbors said the dust, noise and truck traffic doesn't bother them."]
to be continued
#2 Nov 30, 2012
["This is El Paso and there's dust whether you like it or not. That's the way it is," said Poacida Smith.
"The 'booms' from the quarry's, those are noises that will jolt you," said Myrick.
Jobe materials will pay the PSB a small percentage of royalties. Byrd believes it's 20 percent. The company also has to pay the state's General Land Office another percentage, which will go into the state of Texas' general education fund.
Byrd said the city is considering what its various legal options could be, but she said there are some serious policy issues to consider going forward.
"The fact that they don't have to consult with local communities, the fact that they don't have to sort of follow local communities' regulations when it comes to land use, I think is really troubling for local communities," said Byrd.
Byrd added El Paso faces a different set of circumstances with its natural resources than other communities.
"Mining for sand and gravel, you essentially destroy all the surface rights and really the ability to use that land for any other purpose," said Byrd.
Jobe Materials did not return KFOX14 calls for a comment on this story "]
Isn't too bad these poor people out there are screwed because the City Government can't force the issue. Poor Ms. Byrd. She is like a bird with her flight feathers trimmed back. Stuff bitch. Progressiveness has it price! Yours was bought by Hunt and Foster and there is nothing you can do to get the state out of the bailiwick. Ain't your ground there anyway right? That belongs to Carl Robinson right? Stay out and stick to your own area.
The company purchased the rights to "mine the area" and the state is backing them to the hilt. Private enterprise at it best.
#3 Dec 1, 2012
We should not allow Texas to build any stone Quarries in El Paso just like Texas don't allow El Paso to have Casino's.
#4 Dec 1, 2012
I love capitalism! Who cares if a few people are inconvenienced? They can always move to a condo to another part of town. We need to build up our infrastructure, according to the President, and how can we do that without cement? This is clearly much ado about nothing and whomever started this thread is an ignoramus who didn't follow the election results.
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