Some Zapata Co. Residents Waiting for IBWC’s Next Move
ZAPATA COUNTY – The deadline has passed for veterans and retirees in Zapata County to get off the government’s land. The International Boundary and Water Commission said they’re too close to Falcon Lake and the government said more property owners could get the same notice.
The homeowners said they’re waiting to see if the government is serious enough to take them to court in order to toss them out. They asked why it took the government more than 20 years to notice the problem and take action.
People like Bill Grogan, a veteran, and his dog, Shannon, have called Four Seasons Subdivision home since spring of 1986.
“Don’t want to drag it out and put it in some other old lot. They tell me it would be $5,000, $6,000 to move it,” he said.
Grogan is beyond a deadline set by the IBWC to get off the government’s land. His home is within a boundary called the 307 Curve.
They gave him six months to get out.
Victor Amspaugh is Grogan’s neighbor, and a fellow veteran, also received a notice to leave the property.
The government said if it floods, the homes will be in the way.
Amspaugh recalled 2010 when the water in the area reached a high point.
He said years ago a developer dredged the boat ramp, and with the dirt, artificially raised the elevation of the homes. He said he accepted the risk and signed a letter saying so.
“So they have an immediate total release from me that no matter what happens, they’re not liable,” Amspaugh said.
The IBWC said next it will forward the complaints to the Department of Justice. So far it hasn’t done that.
Inside the boundary of the 307, there’s also a county lift station. The IBWC said for now they’re not going to take any action.
The agency said they estimate 300 to 400 properties around Falcon Lake could be in violation of the same thing - living on government land.
“We’re just going to work our way around the lake. So there’s no specific time factor. We’re just kind of slowly picking away at it,” Lori Kuczmanski, with IBWC, said.
The owners of the homes don’t have time on their side.
“I could burn it down, but they don’t like when they do that,” Grogan said.
He said he will enjoy the fishing while he can. He added he won’t go; his life is in Zapata County.
“He’s an 86-year-old Korean War veteran, who has no other home. It’s either gotta come down to either the people act or we’re going under,” Amspaugh said.
He added he’s tried and written letters. He waits to see what the government will do next.
The IBWC said it’s working on finishing up a packet that it will send to the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, seven other properties will be allowed to stay under a permit issued some years back.
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