Bexar commissioners pass flood aid package

Money would be used in Espada Road area

SAN ANTONIO - Bexar County Commissioners Tuesday voted to approve a $5.549 million plan to aid property owners whose property was damaged during May 25 flooding in the Espada Road area south of town.

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About 30 properties -- many with homes, mobile homes and out-buildings -- were damaged or destroyed.

Residents cried out to the county for help and on Tuesday, county commissioners passed a plan that will pay for engineering studies, environmental assessment, appraisals and a buyout of property owners.

Bernice Sanchez is one resident of the Espada area who does not want to leave her land.

"We don't want to be bought out; we don't want to lose this land that we have,” Sanchez said. “We've had it for too long. And we've fought for it before."

Sanchez has already rebuilt her family's home after the flood and that could be a problem.

Suzanne Scott, the general manager of the San Antonio River Authority, said there are rules for rebuilding in a flood plain.

"Anybody that lives in a flood plain that has to rebuild, has to rebuild to the National Flood Insurance program standards,” Scott said. “So that requires in this case because the properties are in the flood plain that they would have to elevate."

Sanchez figures she would have to raise her house eight feet.

"My house is completely finished, ready to go move in,” Sanchez said. “And they're going to tell me I have to destroy it?"

Other residents are tired of flooding every few years.

Janey Garza has seen it there since she was a teenager and just wants a fair buyout offer.

"Enough to buy another house,” Garza said. “I can't afford (any) payments. I'm too old for payments. I'm 87 years old."

No one will be forced to leave their property.

Many residents are waiting to hear the county's offer for their property.

Some residents in the Espada area still say it was the work that was done on the river that created that flooding so the county should fix the river, not buy them out.

County commissioners indicated that if appraisals come back higher than anticipated, they will allocate more money to pay property owners for their land at a fair price.

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