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Residents in rural Austin neighborhood fighting plans for large concert venue

Developers say they have hired an engineer who knows the area well and are making sure they are following strict guidelines to keep the beauty of the area.

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — A California developer is looking to bring a new concert venue to the Austin area. But some neighbors say they don't want it and are working together to fight the plans.

Just north of Dripping Springs sits a small Austin neighborhood nestled in Hays County where the concert venue is looking to call home.

"A rural life, it's a quiet street, has been a quiet place to live, and great neighbors," said Sue Munns with the Stop Fitzhugh Concert Venue Coalition.

Munns has lived right off of Fitzhugh Road for years. She said to see the possibility of a 5,000-person concert venue come their way is concerning.

"Two of the roads have one-lane bridges on them and there is the absolute certainty of traffic gridlock. It's just a no-brainer that it doesn't belong here," said Munns.

For neighbor Will High, he said there are also negative environmental impacts a venue like this could bring.

"This venue is very, very close to Barton Creek, so the impact of the overflow of wastewater into Barton Creek is going to be felt not only by the people in this community here but all the way into Austin," said High.

But Bill LeClerc, a director with Lexor Investments, the parent company of Blizexas, which is developing the site, said they have plans to make sure these issues are handled with care. He said they have hired an engineer who knows the area well and are making sure they are following strict guidelines.

Neighbors say they're concerned, as the only thing separating their homes and the proposed venue is a small, two-lane road, saying it poses safety hazards.

Credit: Ford Sanders/KVUE

LeClerc said his team also has a plan to control the exits, making sure people aren't flooding the streets after events. They will operate on a system that lets a certain amount of cars out at a time.

"We'd rather have a few unhappy customers that have to wait an extra couple of minutes to leave the site than to have a mass flow out, that we have issues that we can't control once they leave the property," said LeClerc.

Munns said for her neighbors, water conservation is also top of mind, saying the area doesn't have full access to water and sewer connections for some residents.

"It'll break your heart to observe the people whose wells have run dry or they're having trouble knowing they're going to run dry," said Munns.

LeClerc said they have plans to make sure the area continues to thrive.

"It will be creating a number of jobs. We estimate probably close to 200 jobs in the area. And along with that we'll also be having transportation improvements there out in Fitzhugh," said LeClerc.

For now, LeClerc said they are currently in the process of securing permits for the site. He said they are waiting to fully move forward until those are secured.

Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown

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