Landowners in proposed Corridor I-2 Project path meet with Williamson County officials

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By Kristen Meriwether

A small group of landowners in the Corridor I-2 Project study area met with Williamson County officials on Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the project.

Williamson County sent out letters to 63 landowners on Oct. 12 stating that the County is conducting a Preservation and Right of Way study for a new 7.3-mile expressway that would run east/west between U.S. Highway 183 and the Burnet County line, and a 4.1-mile north/south connector between the new expressway and State Highway 29.

Landowners have been pushing back since late October, and on Nov. 11 the Corridor I2 Study Team sent emails to landowners letting them know the study is being reassessed. Meetings with property owners were paused until the week of Dec. 20.

The County agreed to meet with a small group of landowners this week to better understand landowner concerns. The group delivered a presentation to the PR firm in charge of the study, Williamson County Senior Director of Infrastructure Robert Daigh, two engineers that drew the route and staff from Commissioner Cynthia Long’s office, according to landowners in attendance. Long joined via Zoom.

The landowners delivered a thorough presentation, a copy of which was provided to The Independent. The meeting was not open to the public and The Independent was not present.

The presentation focused on historical and archaeological maps, growth trends, subdividing regulation rates, water supply and waste challenges and current/future growth in the northwest section of Williamson County.

From the first landowner meeting on Nov. 3 the group has consistently argued that the potential for new high-density subdivisions, which would exponentially increase the population, is not as high as projections show.

The presentation pointed to deed restrictions on tracts that prevent subdividing, flood plains and limited access to water, sewer and wastewater treatment—something that developers usually require prior to investing in developing high-density subdivisions.

The presentation also listed three cemeteries in the proposed study area and a list of 33 cemeteries and historical markers that could be impacted by arterial road widening or highway paths. According to the data provided by the group at least a dozen registered archaeological sites are also in danger.

The research from the landowners group showed that the Collins Conservancy, a 531-acre property that was donated to the Texas Nature Conservancy last year, is in direct path of the proposed location of the expressway.

“Williamson County infrastructure and engineering staff members listened patiently to our presentation and promised to consider all of our issues, concerns, and research,” the Greater Liberty Hill Landowners Group said in an email. “We look forward to a transportation plan that meets realistic county goals and can integrate with how northwest Williamson County has developed and will continue to grow in a sustainable way.”

In a text message to The Independent, Commissioner Long said she was thankful for all of the landowners’ hard work and research leading up to the meeting.

“I appreciate their willingness to work with the County to address the safety and mobility issues that we are facing in this area of the county, as well as ensure connectivity within the region,” Long said. “The meeting on Tuesday was a listening session for our team. As you know, the I-2 Corridor study is on hold while the technical team looks into several questions that I had prior to the meeting. I have also asked the project team to review the data presented Tuesday night. I felt the meeting was productive and am pleased that we plan to continue the dialogue.”

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