SpaceX launching its Starhooper rocket prototype (Image credit: SpaceX)
Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has equal amounts of support and disdain from critics and the general public. But residents in a small Texas community may have even more reason to come out against the initiative. According to a new report, SpaceX wants to buy out properties of the residents in Boca Chica Village, which is only a few miles away from its Starhopper launch site.
Residents of the community reported to Business Insider that they received buyout offer letters earlier this week. According to the letter, SpaceX is offering residents “three times the independently appraised fair market value for your property.” Residents only have two weeks to respond to the offer. To sweeten the deal, SpaceX is also offering residents who accept the offer VIP access to a future launch event that’s not open to the public.
So why do they want to buy out residents? The decision comes after an accidental brush fire and warnings of explosions in the launching region." When SpaceX first identified Cameron County as a potential spaceport location, we did not anticipate that local residents would experience significant disruption from our presence," the letter said. "However, it has become clear that expansion of spaceflight activities as well as compliance with Federal Aviation Administration and other public safety regulations will make it increasingly more challenging to minimize disruption to residents of the Village."
Residents who spoke with Business Insider stated they have no interest in the deal and do not plan on accepting the buyout. One resident, Maria Pointer, generally supports SpaceX and its work but has no interest in the offer saying that the company does not understand that most residents cannot afford to move, even with SpaceX's offer to triple property values.
"They need to understand that most of this community has very limited income," she said. "We want to move on, just give us what we need to move on. I'm not going to go to a trailer or an apartment. I gave my life to this property. I gave it everything I had. Nobody else wanted to tame it."
So far, SpaceX has not commented on the situation. It’s understandable why residents refuse to accept SpaceX’s offer. There are several past examples of one company buying out a town that had disastrous results. Companies like Disney, the American Cast Iron Pipe Company, U.S. Steel, bought and built towns for their workers, but often faced problems related to pollution, the cost of living, and regulation. With this in mind, you have to question how SpaceX’s plan will work. And what’s their next move if residents refuse to move? Looks like we’ll find out at the end of the month.
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