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JUDGE: Regulating the growth that is coming

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the growth that we are already seeing and the new growth that we see applying for permits on almost a daily basis right now. Some are small, maybe 10 or 15 tracts, but some are much larger in the 50 to 100 homesite range. 

But regardless of the size, the Commissioners Court takes each one seriously and we are working to ensure that the developers follow our current Subdivision Regulations while we are working to strengthen those Regulations. 

Subdivision regulations have been an issue for a while. Prior to our taking office last year, the current Milam County Subdivision and Development Regulations had not been changed since taking effect in 2008, and even those were but a copy of the Lee County Subdivision Regulations from 2002. So, until we started amending them last year, the Milam County Subdivision Regulations had not been changed at all in 20 years. 

Most counties update theirs periodically as the state makes regulatory changes, or there are changes to technology that affects the planning and development process. Some of the first changes we made were to increase fees to more accurately reflect the economy in 2023 rather than the economy from 2002 when Lee County set those fees. Currently we are also amending them to have more of a digital input by providing accurate plats in a digital format rather than a paper copy only. Most of what we are amending will greatly enhance the Subdivision Regulations and better protect the land and the people of Milam County. 

One item of concern that affects most folks with water, whether it’s water supply, wastewater, or water for emergency use, we need a more encompassing approach in our Subdivision Regulations. This will not only ensure the safety of those living in or doing business in these new developments, but also protect the water rights and use of water established by those who already live in and have lived in Milam County. 

The water supply for these new developments is a constant concern as it affects those neighboring these developments. 20 years ago, when the current Subdivision Regulations were written, the water supply seemed like a very simple issue. 

Having worked in the water supply business in the Austin Chalk oilfield, I can attest that 20 years ago not many folks were too concerned with our water supply. But now, with an increased and ever-growing population, it’s a constant thought in everything we do. 

While we want these new developments to be safe and well supplied, we also want them to blend in with the other residents and businesses and not cause undue stress to the rest of the county. 

As a result, we are working to strengthen the current requirements on water supply, and we are also working with the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District to provide an improved method for approval before a development can utilize a system of multiple water wells to supply that development.

Another aspect of development we are looking at is erosion control issues and how the surrounding properties will be affected by these developments. Any new development is going to change the erosion patterns of water and wind depending on where the development is, and our Subdivision Regulations have to work to keep erosion patterns of an area constant with historic levels and not allow them to increase or encroach in an unforeseen manner. Currently, we have already seen this be an issue in some places and we have worked with the developers to correct them, but we are working on the Subdivision Regulations to make them even more protective of neighboring properties.

Lastly, we are working to make sure our roads are better cared for and that there are adequate entrance and exit paths for these new developments. To make sure turn lanes go in as needed and to make sure that these entrances are wide enough and with adequate sight lines to allow for safe passage. 

We are working with TxDOT to make sure these developments are following their rules on Farm-to-Market roads and state highways. We are likewise utilizing many of the TxDOT guidelines and our recently established Routing, Road Use, and Weight Limit Agreement to better protect our county roads from industrial and commercial development as well.

All-in-all this is a process that is going to take a while, but we are determined to improve our regulations to provide better infrastructure and protect everyone from the issues that arise with the new developments. Growth is here and is only going to increase in Milam County, so we have a duty as your Commissioners Court to make sure that Milam County is as prepared as possible to provide for the well-being of those who have lived here for years, who currently live here, and for those to come in the future.


The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902