Bastrop 11th-fastest-growing Texas county
Bastrop is the 11th-fastest-growing county in Texas, according to U.S. census data measuring growth from 2015 to 2016.
In that year, Bastrop County grew by 3.15 percent, reaching an estimated population of 82,733 in 2016.
“Our growth is expected, since we are next door to perhaps the No. 1 economy in the nation,” Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape said. “Jobs are available and our cost of living is relatively low.”
Bastrop County’s net migration rate was 25.91 in 2016, meaning that for every 1,000 people in the county, about 26 of them were newcomers last year. Since 2010, the county has grown by larger rates year over year, with 2012 being the only exception.
In 2012, the county’s population decreased by 312 residents following the 2011 Complex Fire that burned 34,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,600 homes and left two people dead.
“As we grow, we have to balance private property rights and the public interest,” Pape said. “Growth is neither good nor bad, although I think we’d all prefer a community that is dynamic rather than dying. It’s all in the way we manage it to achieve desired outcomes.”
And with the county’s development services office reporting permit requests are up to near record levels, Pape said the “challenge is to manage the growth to preserve the rural ambiance of Bastrop County, as best we can.”
“Counties do not have zoning or land-use authority, so we can only do so much,” he said. “The Commissioners Court is now reviewing our subdivision ordinance to be responsive to the demand and guide our growth.”
Since 2010, Bastrop County has grown 11.31 percent, up from 74,326 to 82,733.
A 2015 housing study commissioned by the Bastrop Economic Development Corp. suggested the city could become the next housing hot spot in Central Texas with home sales reaching up to 250 per year through 2020, and 325 closings per year in the next five to 10 years in the city alone.
The city’s multifamily housing demand could support between 750 and 1,125 new rental units, or small- to medium-size apartment buildings, through 2020.
The housing study found that Bastrop’s proximity to Austin and Houston, and its quality-of-life community amenities, will increase its share of the Austin regional housing market. As prime and high-activity submarkets along Interstate 35 fill up and become less affordable, continued growth will shift new home construction to emerging, attractive areas in the southeast sector.
As developers look to build projects in Bastrop County, the local governments are grappling with how to keep up with infrastructure demands.
Crumbling roads and drainage woes have been top concerns as four major floods struck Bastrop County over 12 months in 2015-16.
Bastrop has also identified about $30 million in needed water and wastewater improvements, and officials have discussed calling for a bond election to help improve existing infrastructure needs.
“I believe that development should pay its own way,” Pape said. “We are fortunate to have progressive utilities serving throughout the county. They also support growth within an expected quality of development.”
Agn Cheng pets a chicken at the petting zoo. City residents signed up for activities such as summer camp and swim lessons at the event.
Colton Salisbury plays with robotics during the Spring Pfling. Activities available included filmmaking, digital photography and dancing.