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Council rezones Kyle-Seale ranchland

June 21, 2007

San Antonio's City Council approved a controversial rezoning involving sensitive ranchland over the aquifer recharge zone. Although the new zoning will allow high intensity commercial development, impervious cover will be limited to 50%.

Councilwomen Cisneros and Radle (Districts 1 & 5), and Mayor Hardberger voted against the upzoning. Although SAWS staff recommend allowing 65% impervious cover on the tract, Councilman Hall imposed a 50% limit at the last minute.

While this is not the 15% maximum that AGUA advocates for, it was a small step in the right direction. Thanks to representatives from the Helotes Heritage Association, Scenic Loop/Boerne Stage Alliance, and the Sierra Club for advocating aquifer protection at the hearing.

Please contact those City Council members who voted with us in opposition to this case to thank them for their efforts. Finally, to all of you who contacted your representatives in regards to this case, thank you.

Background info

  • Case number: Z2007045 (Kyle Seale Development)
  • Size/location: 85.88 acres of undeveloped ranchland in District 8 between Kyle-Seale Parkway and Hausman Rd. just outside Loop 1604. All 85.88 acres are located within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
  • Description: Although originally scheduled for City Council consideration on May 17th, the hearing was postponed because of substantial opposition by neighbors and AGUA. On May 31st, sensing that the rezoning would be defeated, Councilman Hall moved for and obtained another continuance to June 21st.
    Under the proposed plan, the entire tract of land, excepting a few acres, was rezoned from DR "Development Reserve", which functions like a medium-density residential zone, to C-2 "Commercial", a high-intensity commercial zone (only C-3 is higher).

Facts about the rezoning

  • Scientific studies, including ones conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, have demonstrated that areas with as little as 10% impervious cover within a watershed can impair water resources.
  • C-2 will allow the following development:
    • Big-box retail such as Wal-Mart
    • Carwash
    • Auto Tire Repair
    • Lawnmower Repair and Service
  • The mulch fire that burned for months in Helotes underscores the need for greater limitations on what can be done over the Recharge Zone. Efforts to put out the fire resulted in contamination of nearby wells. What if a box-store like Wal-Mart were to catch fire over the Recharge Zone?
  • The Edwards Aquifer is the only drinking water source for over 1.7 million South Texas residents, including 1.1 million San Antonians.