KVUE — There are so many wedding venues in Dripping Springs that the Chamber of Commerce there calls it the "official wedding capital of Texas."
There are more than 35 venues within a 35-mile radius. Come next year, you can add one more — the Black Ranch — and it's that one that has some Hays County neighbors not feeling the love.
Black Ranch's owner is also behind Terry Black's BBQ in Austin. Some of those neighbors, who belong to Friendship Alliance, took their unhappiness to the front of Terry Black's BBQ on Barton Springs Road in South Austin on February 19.
The protest was made up of a couple of dozen people who held signs and marched back and forth on the sidewalk. Some of the signs read, "No Mark Black Wedding Venue," and "Fix It Mark Black Wedding Venue."
Friendship Alliance is made up of neighbors, property owners, and concerned citizens such as Neil Carman. "It'll be the largest wedding venue in Texas. Okay? Right next to our neighborhood," said Carman.
"We are interested in commitments," said Jeanine Christensen, who is also with the group. She's afraid the proposed Black Ranch will cause problems with fire safety and water contamination and conservation. "One of the things we're deeply concerned about is the project's ability to capture pollutants on site and keep them out of the aquifer," said Christensen.
Owner Mark Black disagreed. "We have a commercial water supply so there's a lot more restrictions we have to do and the fact is I have 64 acres. I try to get water from many other places and I couldn't," said Black.
Christensen and neighbors are also worried about the excess traffic Black Ranch will bring to Crystal Hills Drive, a two lane road where many neighbors live and where the ranch sits.
Her group wants Black to commit in writing that he will do everything he can to help with these issues.
It's something Black said he has already done verbally. "We've gone about this the right way, done it the lawful way, every step of the way. The fact that we're giving them anything, we don't have to do it, we're willing to do that as good neighbors," said Black.
But the protesters didn't feel Black was being a good neighbor with a sign outside the restaurant.
The marquee read, "Circus Auditions, Outside Today," referring to the protesters.
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