BOERNE, Texas – Boerne Lake is known for its pristine water and view and now there's a fight ensuing to preserve those assets.
KB Home has plans to build about 300 homes on about 100 acres of a property it owns on the southeast part of the lake named Shoreline Park. The developer has gone before the planning and zoning commission for an initial plat approval to begin its first phase of construction, which is about 50 homes.
A group named Save Boerne Lake has collected signatures, fighting the development they say will bring pollution to the lake. The lake provides about one-third of the city's drinking water.
Denise Lindemann, spokesperson for the group, said the group has written a 75-page Cibolo Creek Protection Ordinance to protect their vital resource. The plan would need to be approved by the City Council.
"Look out there. You wanna go jump in that water right now. If that [development] happens, you’re not gonna wanna get near the water," she said.
The group said it's not against development, but the number of homes expected to be built is just too many for its members.
Nigel Benchoff, who is also against the project, wants the developer to be conscientious. He wants a compromise that would regulate the density requirements.
Benchoffhas a message for the developer: "Your slogan is Better for People or something to that effect, and that’s absolutely not what you are doing, not listening to the community."
Jeff Thompson, deputy city manager, said the property is owned by a private developer, and based on the current ordinances that are in place, they have the right to develop it as they wish. The developer's plan to mitigate the pollution from stormwater runoff exceeds the current requirements in place, Thompson said.
"Our ordnance requires that they capture that half-inch [of rain stormwater runoff] and that they treat it in natural ways, like biofilters and other natural treatments, before it gets to the lake and before it gets to the Cibolo Creek, as well," Thompson said.
The strategy the developer plans to use, Thompson said, will end up capturing about 92% of the pollutants before they enter the lake.
"In the size of our lake and the size our watershed, the 8% that remains will be, in my view, inconsequential and not of impact to our water supply," he said.
KB Home issued the following statement.
“KB Home’s Shoreline Park is designed to be a beautiful, welcoming community for residents who want a responsibly planned, eco-friendly and energy-efficient neighborhood to live. Protecting and enhancing the environment is central to all we do at KB Home. By using a low impact development approach and other proven strategies to water management, we will meet or exceed all city, state and federal requirements to protect local wildlife and the water quality of Boerne Lake.”
Thompson said the size of the contributing watershed is approximately 12,560 acres, and it contains farms and pollutants.
For Thompson, the pollutants from KB's property would be a contribution to pollutants that already exist in the water.
The city started monthly testing of the water to track the pollution before and after the development gets started.
"We love the lake. We wanna protect the lake, and we are going to make sure the City Council understands what 29,000 people understand. That, and that this is a threat to our drinking water," Lindemann said.
The issue will be on the Planning and Zonning Commission meeting agenda next week.
The city is in the process of annexing the property in question, as well as two other properties that could be set up for development in the future. Thompson said that will give the city the power to control the density regulations of those properties if they happen to change.
The annexation would not impact the Shoreline Park development.