LUBBOCK, Texas — Wilbert Funeral Services announced Wednesday it will pull its application for a concrete batch plant in North Lubbock. The company also apologized for any “misunderstanding.”
The situation made news on January 19 when the North Lubbock Neighborhood Association called an emergency meeting. Neighbors were concerned that Wilbert applied for a permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at its location near Cavazos Middle School, more specifically 2301 Auburn Street.
In response to the emergency meeting, Wilbert said, “We are not changing or expanding our operations at this time…”
“We are simply in the process of renewing our permit with TCEQ for the same operations we have maintained since 1990,” Wilbert also said on the evening of the emergency meeting.
However, when EverythingLubbock.com reached out to TCEQ on January 20, the state agency said, “This application is for an initial registration. TCEQ does not have a record of any authorization at this location prior to this submittal.”
TCEQ said a permit of this kind is typically for the construction of burial vaults.
Previous coverage: ‘It’s very disappointing and concerning:’ Emergency meeting held over potential batch plant in North Lubbock community
EverythingLubbock.com then reached out to Wilbert and requested further information. Wilbert on January 20 stood by its previous claims despite clear contradiction from TCEQ.
Meanwhile, city officials including Councilwoman Christy Martinez-Garcia pressured Wilbert for more information as well. On Wednesday, Wilbert issued the following statement:
Wilbert is not changing or expanding operations at our Lubbock facility. We have had permit coverage for decades, but we mistakenly believed we needed to seek a new permit and did so thinking it was the right thing to do. After realizing we applied for the permit unnecessarily, we are asking TCEQ to withdraw our permit application. We apologize for the misunderstanding that grew out of our actions. Wilbert looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with the North Lubbock community and local officials and being an even better community partner and neighbor.
Martinez-Garcia said Wilbert pulled the permit application on Tuesday morning. She also said the neighborhood association secured legal representation and had been preparing for a fight. In light of the new statement from Wilbert, Martinez-Garcia thinks the two sides can reach an understanding.
“It’s terrible that we even needed to go through those lengths when the company could have communicated,” Martinez-Garcia said.
When the weather warms up, Martinez-Garcia said neighborhood representatives will be invited to tour the Wilbert facility.
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