SA prepares to relinquish land to Converse as legislation could slow annexation

Rep. Lyle Larson proposes giving residents a vote in city annexation

SAN ANTONIO – City Council members got an update Wednesday on plans for an agreement not to annex northern parts of the city for more than a decade and plans to give up some city property to the city of Converse.

This month, the city will negotiate with five representatives appointed by Bexar County Commissioners to create a non-annexation agreement for residential areas along Highway 281 North.

The agreement will stipulate that the area will not be annexed until the year 2034.

That 17-year deal coincides with the time limits of non-annexation agreements in place for the Timberwood Park and TPC areas surrounding the 281 North corridor.

The city is set to give to the city of Converse four square miles of San Antonio property near Interstate 10 East and a portion of the city’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction -- a five-mile buffer outside city limits where services are not provided but some city regulations apply.

“That’s probably not something most cities desire to do, but in a regional and cooperative approach with Converse, knowing that that area needs urban level services, the city is willing to release that area,” said Peter Zanoni, deputy city manager,

And along with that property, the city of San Antonio will give up roughly $300,000 dollars a year in sales-tax revenue.

"That is just some of the revenue that Converse would need to provide services,” Zanoni said.

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While Zanoni says it’s still a loss, that $300,000 is a fraction of the city’s billion-dollar budget.

Converse will annex those areas over a 12- to 15-year period and plans to build a new fire station and expand its police services ahead of the expansion.

Meanwhile, San Antonio Republican Rep. Lyle Larson, who serves District 122, has proposed legislation that would require residents who could be annexed to vote on it first.

City staff believe the bill, and others like it, could be a detriment.

“It would limit our ability to grow as a city,” said Jeff Coyle, city of San Antonio government and public affairs director.

“This is an issue that people living in the city -- not in an area to be annexed -- think that it doesn’t have an impact on them,” Coyle added. “It really does because if we can’t grow and take in those high-growth areas on the outside, then those who are left in the city today are going to bear all of the burden of the growth in the future.”

“I think it’s time that we evolve as a state to recognize that what was good 20 years ago for cities to gobble up these land masses to provide services, it simply doesn’t exist today,” Larson said.

Larson argues that areas outside the city limits have improved over the years as services provided by Bexar County have expanded and some city regulations have extended to areas beyond city limits.

"My point is if you can’t sell to the people that they’re going to be benefited by the city annexing them, then they’re not going to get a positive vote,” said Larson.

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