San Antonio City Council goes forward with annexation over opposition

Council members Nirenberg, Gonzalez only 'No' votes as dozens speak against plan

SAN ANTONIO – A list of signatures that wrapped around the room, as well as impassioned pleas, were all for naught. The San Antonio City Council voted 9-2 to begin the annexation process for several areas around San Antonio, including a 15 square mile area along I-10 West and a 13 square mile area around 281 North.

District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg and District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzalez were the only dissenting votes.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for residents around I-10, who dressed in blue t-shirts donning the words "No Annexation."

"It's going to make it hard tonight to describe to the kids how democracy works," said Mike Stewart, the president of the Homeowners against Annexation group.

Stewart said he doesn't want to pay more taxes for services he already has. If the annexation plan goes according to schedule, he may be paying them by October 2019.

That is a lot sooner than many of the residents in the 281 North annexation area thought, some of whom spoke in support of the plan.

That area will be brought in waves, with the commercial corridor likely being annexed by the end of the year. The larger, residential portion will get a 17-year non-annexation agreement before ultimately being brought into the city in January 2034.

Mayor Ivy Taylor said it's because that's when other nearby areas were scheduled to be annexed into the city already.

"In addition, the population in those areas is very large, and we wanted to proceed with caution and not bite off more than we can chew at once," she said.

Councilman Ron Nirenberg, whose 8th district surrounds the I-10 West annexation area, said he was disappointed the council didn't talk about bringing in another section of I-10 East.

He voted against the plan, he said, "because our annexation program is not equitable. It's not sustainable, and it was a bad move for the future of the city."

The fate of the three areas is not yet sealed. The final annexations on all of them will need City Council approval again.

"The fight — or the discussion — really starts now," Steward said. "So I think we're fine. We've got lots of options. Nothing to worry about."

City Manager Sheryl Sculley said the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association may try to block part of the annexation plan with a temporary restraining order.

The union sent out a statement Thursday afternoon that said it was concerned annexed areas would not have adequate fire protection, but it did not mention any possible legal action.


About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.