Elon Musk's SpaceX acts 'like they already own everything' as the company buys up homes in a Texas village, preventing access to public roads and beaches, a report says

·3 min read
starship sn9 prototype spacex boca chica texas
The SN9 during static-fire testing in Boca Chica, Texas, on January 13. @SpacePadreIsle on Twitter
  • Residents of Boca Chica, Texas, told The Wall Street Journal SpaceX acts like it owns everything.

  • The residents said the company had attempted to buy their homes for offers they considered unfair.

  • Musk has said he wants to incorporate the village as part of a city called Starbase, Texas.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Residents of Boca Chica, Texas, a small village that sits just north of the US border with Mexico, said Elon Musk's company SpaceX acts like it already owns everything in the area around the site that it uses to launch and test rockets.

There are 14 residents of Boca Chica who are not affiliated with SpaceX, The Wall Street Journal reported. SpaceX has bought at least 112 parcels of land in Boca Chica, said the report, which was published on Friday.

Seven people who spoke with The Wall Street Journal said they wanted more money from SpaceX and Musk to sell their properties than the company had offered them. David Finlay, the senior director of finance at SpaceX, told one couple the company would explore a "different route" if they refused to sell their home willingly, the report said.

Read more: Tesla quickly went from tiny startup to world's most valuable carmaker. These 13 leaders control its future.

He told another couple the company would "pursue alternative approaches" if they rejected SpaceX's offer, the report said.

SpaceX did not return Insider's request for comment on Saturday on The Wall Street Journal report.

In March, Musk said he was interested in incorporating the area as Starbase, Texas. To incorporate the village as a town, SpaceX would need to show that there were at least 200 inhabitants, The Wall Street Journal reported.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

"Please consider moving to Starbase or greater Brownsville/South Padre area in Texas & encourage friends to do so!" Musk tweeted in March. "SpaceX's hiring needs for engineers, technicians, builders & essential support personnel of all kinds are growing rapidly."

If successful, the town and its leaders would have access to eminent domain, which could allow them to legally force holdouts to sell their homes.

"They act like they already own everything, including you and your house," Cheryl Stevens told The Wall Street Journal. She said she sold her home to the company in October because she could no longer deal with living near the launch site.

Residents told the outlet that when launches didn't go according to plan, they experienced broken windows, debris, and brush fires. While the company offered to accommodate residents in hotels on South Padre Island, a nearby resort town, residents told The Wall Street Journal that they had to pay for their own gas for the 40-mile trip.

Residents also complained about the company's closure of state Highway 4, "often with confusing and inadequate prior notifications and last-minute changes and revocations," the report said.

In 2013, state lawmakers in Texas passed legislation allowing officials in Cameron County, where Boca Chica is located, to close public beach access for SpaceX's launch activity, the report said.

Closing the road prevents residents from accessing 8 miles of beach, a national wildlife refuge, and land in a state park, The Wall Street Journal reported. The highway is the only road that leads to the village, the report said.

Residents told The Wall Street Journal that they felt that county officials were working with SpaceX to get them to leave their properties.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño denied those accusations, telling The Wall Street Journal, "We want SpaceX to succeed, but not at the expense of the community." He said of SpaceX, "If they think they'll be able to take over the highway or the beach, they're mistaken."

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

Read the original article on Business Insider