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PGA conservation plan delayed, Developers target Herrera in D6, Dining with the mayoral candidates

Delayed:

Last week, U.S. Fish & Wildlife had planned to issue a Habitat Conservation Plan for the PGA Tour for public comment, but the release has been delayed.

Dawn Whitehead of USFW said the developer, Lumbermen's Investment, has amended its permit application to include an additional road; USFW will have to re-analyze it and draw up a new conservation plan.

Lumbermen's original permit application allowed an "incidental taking" of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler as a result of building the PGA golf complex, which includes hotels and condos. In return, Lumbermen's would have to perpetually set aside 760 acres of preserve, much of it adjacent to existing warbler habitat. USFW expects to re-issue the plan for a 60-day public comment period by the end of May.

Decried:

Delicia Herrera, who is running against Ray Lopez for District 6 City Council, has been targeted by the development community for her stance on vested rights, also known as grandfathering.

Vested rights allow developers to abide by the land-use rules in place when they filed permits to develop the land - even if those laws have changed since. Critics charge that developers abuse their vested rights by filing minimal permits and allowing their developments to languish for decades. This allows developers to skirt tree and water quality ordinances.

Herrera opposes vested rights over the sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone because buildings, pavement, asphalt encourages pollution runoff. About 29 business people, including Mark Granados, who sued the Citizens Tree Coalition's Richard Alles for $25 million after Alles allegedly criticized Granados' Wal-Mart development, and PGA Tour backers Gene Dawson Jr. and Gene Powell put their names on a mailer supporting Lopez and criticizing Herrera.

Delicious:

Mayoral candidates Phil Hardberger and Julián Castro coincidentally picked the same Quarry-area restaurant for their May 11 dinner. After Hardberger stopped by Castro's table to say hello, Mayor Ed Garza dropped by to dine with Castro. Mid meal, Garza asked his waiter if he was registered to vote, and told him to encourage his friends and relatives to vote for Castro in the June runoff.

Lisa Sorg


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