Citizens oppose subdivision near Bracken Bat Cave

Opponents of the Crescent Hills subdivision worry it will harm bats, aquifer

SAN ANTONIO - Dozens of concerned citizens are going to bat for the bats of the Bracken Bat Cave.

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Some fear the bats are at risk from a high density subdivision that is being planned nearby.

Wednesday night more than two dozen people opposed to the proposed subdivision spoke against it at a San Antonio City Council public comment session.

The Crescent Hills subdivision would be built right next to the Bracken Bat Preserve located in Comal county.

Many worry the 3,800 hundred home subdivision will threaten the bats and the Edwards Aquifer.

"We came to the council tonight because we think that in many respects you are the court of last resort for us to make the public aware of these issues," said Andrew Walker, Executive Director of Bat Conservation International.

BCI owns the Bracken Bat Cave which is home to the largest bat colony in the world

A developer wants to turn a large chunk of land around the cave into a new subdivision. That would put the new homes right in the nightly flight path of millions of Mexican free-tailed bats.

The concern is the bats would be attracted to the street lights and swimming pools that will attract insects and that could increase contact between humans and potentially sick bats which could turn public sentiment against the bats.

Another concern is the proposed development would be built right over the sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and a known habitat for the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler.

Back in March, SAWS approved an agreement to run new water mains and sewage lines to the development. Many opponents are now asking the city to force the utility to back out of that agreement due to the environmental concerns.

"Like PGA village a decade ago the Crescent Hills proposal is incompatible with priority land uses," said Margaret Day of the San Antonio Sierra Club. "We don't want the city of San Antonio or its municipal utilities to subsidize sprawl on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone."

In addition to calling on the council to force SAWS to back out of the agreement to run those lines to the proposed development, the opposition would also like to see a buffer zone established around the Bracken Bat Cave.

Since this was just a public comment session, the city council didn't take any action but the issue is expected to be on a future agenda.

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.


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