Response to mobility letter
I do acknowledge the need for careful and informed planning by the city as mobility issues are addressed. I do not agree with the term “tyranny of the minority” that was used to describe the social media efforts and large turnout of citizens who opposed projects such as the Kendall Gateway. These citizens were vocal indeed and clearly dedicated to preserving our community and environment. I personally believe that for everyone who voiced their opinion to city leadership there were likely several more who could not participate due to family or work obligations. If there were a majority in favor of these projects they had every opportunity to present themselves at these meetings and clarify their issues.
This area is environmentally sensitive. Any project including residential and commercial development as well as new roadways must be carefully evaluated before put into place. The effects from these projects are permanent. If detrimental effects such as pollution and poor water quality result, what will the solution be? Many people including those of the Cow Creek Water Conservation District have worked very hard to evaluate the impact of new development and present them to local leadership. The consistent and logical conclusion is that more high-density development is not sustainable for our area and will never be. This is not a blanket objection to all development. I see it as a call for caution and careful analysis before projects move forward. This is ethical and responsible action, not tyranny. One of my concerns is that as needed roadways are built that will encourage more high-density development in the area. That will effectively cancel any benefit and the congestion will eventually worsen. I believe that a balance can be achieved to improve our community however this will require very careful planning. The truth is that we have only one opportunity to protect the Hill Country.
– Alex Rudd, Boerne
In defense of our new mayor
Sometimes being thoughtful, proactive, community-minded and inclusive isn’t good enough for some folks. This is the case with Mike Luckey. The issue is Annexation. Our new mayor, Tim Handren, supports our city’s ability to control zoning and density. This is being played out with the annexation/non-annexation agreements with landowners. What does this mean? For the majority of ETJ landowners it means they keep their acreage and enjoy their homestead, just as they do now. There will be no city taxes being levied or ordinances being imposed (respecting landowner rights).
However, should the landowner sell to a developer in the next 45 years, they agree to allow the city to annex the land and zone it. This will control usage and density, which is protection of the community’s rights and resources.
Senate bill 6, sponsored by Senator Donna Campbell, eliminates a Texas city’s ability to annex land. Boerne now has a window of 90 days to complete any annexation agreements. This explains the current urgency we see happening.
Why is this important? The county lacks the authority to control density and WCIDs and MUDs can be formed. This impacts our water and mobility, as well as wildlife habitat. If the city doesn’t annex land when development is possibly going to happen, we cannot control the type or extent of development.
Tim Handren was sworn in on May 14 as Boerne’s mayor. Prior to taking his oath of office, and still serving as councilman of District 5, he attended many meetings and listened. He has taken action on Zoning (UDC), water conservation, mobility, the State overstepping its authority and more. He has committed to transparency (read his Facebook page) and this is all before taking office.
Within minutes of the mayor taking office, Mike Luckey lambasted him regarding the annexation of land. Well, Mike had his facts wrong! And in my opinion, he has a poor understanding of community and government. He also misrepresented what our new mayor has done and his commitment to the integrity of the Boerne community, which truly represent its citizens.
– Joseph Anzollitto, Boerne
Do not change the EAA Act
Sen. Donna Campbell and Rep. Kyle Biedermann should be commended for the great job they do for the Hill Country. They have helped provide us with the tools necessary to manage responsible growth and protection of our natural resources. The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) was passed in 1993 and is one of the Hill Country’s strongest protections for responsible growth. The EAAs creation settled years of federal litigation centered around environmental issues. The Act strictly prohibits the export of Edwards water outside EAA boundaries.
San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) is seeking legislation to exempt themselves from this prohibition so they may serve Kendall County with Edwards water. Only SAWS would benefit from this exemption; all other permit holders would not be able to take their permitted water outside of the EAA boundaries. SAWS’ argument for this unprecedented change of law is that their ability to supply water to Kendall County is dependent on it. Let me explain why I do not agree with their argument and why this will set a dangerous precedent.
A small portion of the SAWS service area extends into Kendall County. SAWS’ current supply for its northern Bexar County service area is non-Edwards water under contract from the Western Canyon Pipeline. Approximately 8,500 acre feet of non-Edwards water (enough to serve over 15,000 new households) is available through 2037 from this source. SAWS used this surplus to enter into a contract with a new development in Kendall County (Water Control and Improvement District 3). This contract requires the delivery of water, not specifically Edwards water as proposed by the legislation.
Other area wholesale and retail water providers are investing in infrastructure to supply available non-EAA water to also support the current and future needs of Kendall County keeping the EAA Act intact.
Initially SAWS sought to move an unlimited amount of Edwards water outside the EAA territory. After facing opposition, SAWS reduced the annual amount of proposed Edwards water to 6,000 acre feet to counties adjoining Bexar County (Kendall County). That amount of Edwards water would serve all the needs of WICD3, the full SAWS service area in Kendall County and provide an additional 4,000 acre/feet for growth. SAWS’ non-Edwards (the Western Canyon Pipeline supply) water could do the same and keep the Edwards water in the Edwards basin.
The legislation’s current version seeks to move 1,500 acre feet annually out of the EM with another 4,500 acre feet available with approval from the Kendall County Commissioners Court.
Maybe it is the cost of water driving this SAWS legislation; it is their cheapest source. It is certainly less expensive than the Vista Ridge project water. Whatever the reason, the price is too high for amending the EAA Act when Kendall County already has the water resources necessary to meet our needs without disturbing a law that was enacted to protect the whole region.
It is dangerous to change the Act to benefit one public entity. Our elected officials have provided Kendall County with the water and tools necessary for responsible growth without creating a special exemption for SAWS.
– Dean Davenport, Boerne