Critics of annexation say proposed bill won't threaten military installations

Special session to consider limiting cities ability to annex

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - It is a question city planners and county residents have grappled for decades: How should the city grow and who should have the final say in annexation? It is one of 20 topics that will be on the table as the legislature moves to a special session next month.

Some lawmakers argue the bill that failed in the regular session that would give residents the power to vote on annexation of their own communities would also threaten military installations.

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State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, who filed the annexation bill, said there are already military protections in place and that claims about limiting annexation put the military in jeopardy aren’t true.

"It is a false narrative to use a military base as an excuse to give San Antonio or any city extra room for annexation," said Campbell. "If you look at what San Antonio has done around Camp Bullis already, they got a lot of development."

Mike Stewart, who leads the group Homeowners Against Annexation and is against the city annexing a 15-square-mile area along Interstate 10 west in far Northwest Bexar County said he agrees.

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"We support the military mission a 110 percent," Stewart said. "We will do what we need to do to protect the military and I think we can achieve both. I think the mechanisms to protect that exist today and nobody disagrees that we have the right to vote on who governs us."

The issue came up Monday at a hearing before the Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by state Rep. Roland Gutierrez.

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Gutierrez had fought to include a military protection amendment in Campbell's bill.

Both Gutierrez and state Sen. Jose Menendez have spoken against the bill in the past saying it did not offer adequate encroachment protection for military bases.

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