the big boom
Dripping Springs, about 40 miles southwest of Austin, is known as the "Wedding Capital of Texas." It is also known for its distilleries and wineries, with gorgeous views of the Texas Hill Country.
Doug Reed is the owner of the Hawk's Shadow Winery. He has lived in Dripping Springs for two decades, and his property is tucked away on 44 acres of land.
"We are sitting here, and you can hear the birds and virtually no traffic. So you can really enjoy being away out from that," Reed said.
But a few miles into town, Reed said he has seen the city's rapid growth.
"Changed so dramatically from, again, this sleepy little town almost nobody heard of to being quite well-known now," he said.
Houses are going up at a quick pace. Dripping Springs and the surrounding area have grown from a population of 20,000 to 40,000 over the past five years.
New residents like Jose Santos now call it home. He's been in the city for three months. Santos is originally from Puerto Rico and lived in Austin for two years. But the wineries, the beauty of the Hill Country, and school for his child drew him to Dripping Springs. He lives in the Heritage subdivision.
"More relaxed – it is a very nice place," he said.
Dripping Springs Mayor Bill Foulds said the growth has been good for the local economy, but it's not without its challenges.
"We have incrementally, over the last four or five years, gone up tremendously," Foulds said.
The city had to put a moratorium on new construction in 2021.
"Things were growing too fast and rapidly," he said. "We couldn't process what was happening with permitting and what our citizens want."
Foulds said the moratorium lasted for 10 months and helped the city catch up, but it still struggles with managing wastewater from all the new homes. Foulds said city officials are working on a comprehensive plan to expand the water treatment facility.
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