Neighbors outraged with loss of landscaping in northwest San Antonio development

Cresta Bella development touted as 'luxury, single-family home site'


SAN ANTONIO – Dean Bibles calls the creation of the Cresta Bella residential community "beyond sickening" as he overlooks hills that have been stripped down to dirt and uprooted of trees.

Cresta Bella is located just west of I-10 at Camp Bullis Road north of Loop 1604.

Bibles lives in the adjacent Crown Ridge neighborhood.

"I've never seen an area purported to be developing for home sites that have completed destroyed the landscape the way they have here," he said.

Advertisements for Cresta Bella tout "picturesque hill country acres" and "natural green preservation."

But that's exactly what some people worry is being ruined.

"One of the things that makes people want to come to San Antonio is the beauty of this area and frankly they have absolutely destroyed this area," said William Sponsel, who lives nearby.

Both Sponsel and Bibles wonder how the development could be allowed by the city. But it is.

Because construction on Cresta Bella began in 2006, it falls under a previous city ordinance that requires 25 percent of trees be preserved.

That ordinance was revised in 2010 to require 35 percent of trees be preserved.

"We tried to make an ordinance that if people would spend more time studying the site rather than just clearing the site, they could do what they wanted to do and without a whole lot of extra cost," said outgoing District 8 City Councilman, Reed Williams.

Rod Sanchez, director of the city's Development Services, says the Cresta Bella project is not in violation of any city rules and regulations.

"They're setting aside 25 percent of the trees which is required by the plan, required by that ordinance at the time," he said. "Just to be on the safe side, we're sending an inspector out there every week just to verify."

Neighbors also complain about the amount of dust being spewed into the air by construction on the Cresta Bella site.

Sanchez says it has asked the developer to "water the ground more thoroughly as they do this cut and fill" to decrease the amount of dust.

"We are losing a very major part of the things that attract people to San Antonio," Bibles said. 

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.

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