Officials consider expanding San Antonio city limits

Growth of Eagle Ford Shale could increase tax revenue

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio city officials are considering annexing four areas in South Bexar County into the San Antonio city limits.

The limited-purpose annexation would last for three years, during which time the city would examine, among other things, the economic impact of full annexation.

"In that time-frame, the city does a very detailed fiscal assessment and land-use assessment plan as to what really should be annexed," said Planning Director John Dugan. "After we get feedback from the property owners, we do more evaluation and ... a detailed definition is developed of the area to be involved in annexation."

The areas constitute approximately 36 square miles and are located south of Loop 410, between Old Pearsall Road and State Highway 181 in the southern portion of San Antonio's Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and Bexar County.

Dugan said the areas are a majority agricultural, and include about 3,000 residents.

Under the limited annexation plan, the city would not levy property taxes.

"The only city services that are extended are the City Development Code in terms of public safety ordinances, zoning ordinances, and the building permitting," Dugan said.

Opponents of the plan called it a "money grab," claiming the city wants to benefit from the tax revenues generated by the development of the Eagle Ford Shale.

"If you look at the areas of the proposal, they're essentially cherry-picking South Bexar County, taking the areas that have developed over the last 10 years and exclude the residential areas," said Von Ormy Mayor Art Martinez De Vara.

An attorney, Martinez De Vara is helping the community of Sandy Oaks, which has a population of approximately 5,000 people and only a handful of business, incorporate and become their own city.

"If it was about people. They would annex the residential, as well as the commercial, and balance it out," he said. "(Sandy Oaks residents) just want to have the same services that the other residents of Bexar County enjoy and they're willing to tax themselves to provide it.

Dugan said new city guidelines have thrown a wrench into those plans.

"We have new annexation policies that were adopted by the council in February that really advise us strongly from setting up any kind of new jurisdictions that might take away economic opportunity or be competitive with the city so that is one of the main concerns the council will be looking at," Dugan said.

The city's Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue on Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.

The city council is not expected to vote on the issue until January.

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