Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Exposing the hype

Ever since the developer first pitched the Central Texas Airport project at a public meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on April 13, 2009 and to the Bastrop City Council on April 14, 2009, a fog of hype has swirled around the project. Over time, the hype continued at a fever pitch but the players and configuration of the project never stayed the same for long. So exactly what is the proposed Central Texas Airport/Green Corporate Center project?

At the October 25, 2011 meeting, the Corps attempted to clarify the scope of the project with the very first item up for discussion:

1. Scope of the single and complete project including details on other planned phases and their status relative to independent utility. Elements to be detailed include any commercial, industrial, or energy production element, hotel, infrastructure, and other development features.

[The Corps] explained that the scope of the project needed to include the larger plan of development for any reasonably foreseeable phases, roads, infrastructure. etc. That the applicant should give themselves credit for work they had done for energy and “green elements”. That the maps provided where [sic] insufficient and that we are having a difficult time even figuring out what the scope of the project is. Specifically the written descriptions do not match the plans. When asked about the buildings (what they were) on the east side of the runway, we were informed that they were just aesthetic drawings, not any particular buildings.

The Corps felt that defining the scope of the project was important enough to close the meeting with a continuation of the discussion:

23. Provide current detailed plans and profiles including all infrastructures and other site development related to the project. Currently, detailed site plans are provided for one segment of the project site plan while no profiles are provided.

[the Corps] went over in detail that we needed better maps.

CTA stated that the maps provided where [sic] artist renditions; that the project was design-build and no such data (engineering drawings) are available at this time.

[The Corps] stated that although detailed engineering drawings are not required, reasonably accurate maps, with all reasonably foreseeable phases an elements, are needed to permit the project.

It’s clear that the Corps wasn’t buying into any of the developer’s hype that was so short on specifics. (If only the County had proceeded with such due diligence . . . sigh.) The Corps’ persistence in requesting details was cleverly side-stepped in the revised EID. StopCTA pretty much connected these dots last spring in What Eco-merge?. Looks like we were right on target.

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