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The Infrastructure Bill Has Passed. What Now?

The infrastructure bill has passed. What now?

We highly recommend this nuanced take on recent federal infrastructure funding outlined in the article below from Small Towns. While having additional federal infrastructure funding is crucial to the continued success of our changing communities, we also recognize that with big money comes big challenges. - Hill Country Alliance So, the behemoth of an infrastructure bill finally passed over the weekend. And there was much rejoicing… Well, not from us. At Strong Towns, we’ve been skeptical of the current bill…

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All In The Family

All in the Family

Bryan Parras recalls a time in elementary school when he accompanied his dad on a work trip to Nederland, in Texas’ Golden Triangle. The warehouse where his dad organized county workers was “just one open vacant room with a bunch of chairs like you would see in a movie.” Bryan, now 44, remembers running around outside, playing on a mound of sand, while his dad discussed strategy with Jefferson County employees.   Read more by Irene Vázquez from the Texas…

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Developers Going Big In Surging Town

Developers going big in surging town

It’s a trend in Texas’ fastest-growing county: growing pains. The population of Dripping Springs, a bedroom community west of Austin in Hays County, boomed over 175 percent in the last six years to nearly 7,500 people, census figures show. Now it needs to upgrade roads and wastewater treatment. And it doesn’t have enough restaurants or middle-priced housing for all the newcomers.   Read more from Annie Blanks with San Antonio Express-New here.

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Wastewater Threatens Texas Streams

Wastewater threatens Texas streams

Diane Causey is a 75-year-old antique shop manager in Utopia, a tiny town of 277 people located an hour-and-a-half northwest of San Antonio. Her favorite place in town is a swimming hole on the Sabinal River, accessed on land her family owns. This section of the Sabinal, a little-known Texas river fed by springs, is crystal-clear and chilly even in June. Each summer, Causey’s extended family of more than 100 people converge on the swimming hole for their annual family…

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Walkability And The Culture Wars

Walkability and the culture wars

An unfortunate recent article by Aaron Gordon for Vice is titled, "Walking Places Is Part of the Culture Wars Now." It's centered around a discussion of recent survey results from Pew Research, which appear to show that a majority of Americans prefer a neighborhood with larger homes and yards, but where driving is a must to get to schools, stores, and restaurants, versus a neighborhood where amenities are in walking distance, but the homes are smaller and closer together.  …

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Austin City Council Approves Housing Contracts, Colony Park Developments

Austin City Council approves housing contracts, Colony Park developments

Here’s what we’re following ahead of the Austin City Council meeting Thursday. Housing and support services contracts: approved Council is expected to amend an agreement with Foundation for the Homeless to provide housing for families with children for an additional 12 months, an extension worth $264,519. A separate contract extension with LifeWorks would allow the continuation of support services for young people like food, clothing, health and shelter.   Read more about the other approved developments from the city council…

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Zoning And “Bigness”

Zoning and “Bigness”

Back in April, Daniel Herriges at Strong Towns wrote an excellent article called “Pretextual Planning is Absolutely Everywhere.” What does that mean? Essentially, the article is about zoning rules that are written into the code not because the requirement itself is considered important, but because it’s seen as increasing the bargaining power of the municipality vis-à-vis the developer.   Read more from Addison Del Mastro with Strong Towns here.

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Boerne Mayor Bracing For Impact Of Approaching San Antonio Sprawl

Boerne mayor bracing for impact of approaching San Antonio sprawl

That continued explosive development northwest of San Antonio comes at a cost. And Boerne, a quaint town grappling with its own growing pains, could pay a steep price. “Candidly, most of the growth that’s going on is outside of the city limits of Boerne. There are no rules for what that looks like,” Boerne Mayor Tim Handren said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like. That’s the bad thing."   Read more from the San Antonio Business Journal…

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Ranch Fever: Pandemic Drives City Slickers To Seek Out Room To Roam

Ranch fever: Pandemic drives city slickers to seek out room to roam

The allure of wide-open spaces is drawing people to snatch up rural land in Texas at a record pace. Ranch sales in the state nearly doubled between the second quarter of 2021 and the previous year, according to data from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. While the pandemic played a role in driving down sales in the early part of 2020, the market rebounded considerably, surpassing brokers’ expectations and far exceeding 2019 numbers.   Read more from Shari Biediger…

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Comal County Seeks Grants For Conservation Purchases

Comal County seeks grants for conservation purchases

Preserving Comal County’s wide-open spaces hasn’t been at the top of the county’s to-do list, but commissioners took steps in that direction last week. Last Thursday, they selected Moriarty & Associates LLC to pursue funding for county land acquisitions for wildlife conservation and water source protection. It approved $4,500 for the firm to prepare county applications for grants through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). “Behind the scenes, I’ve been working for years to find…

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