AP NEWS

Cibolo holds second public hearing on rezoning

May 7, 2019

The expected growth south of FM 78 in Cibolo and how it will be handled was the topic of a recent public hearing on rezoning of the annexed property.

Four major tracts of land amounting to 496 acres in an annexed area south of FM 78 is being considered for a zoning change including SF-5 housing, lots that would allow five or six homes per acre, similar to some suburbs north of FM 78 and off FM 1103.

An April 23 public hearing held by Cibolo City Council was the second such hearing involving the tracts of land south of FM 78, in the Haeckerville Road, Lower Seguin Road and Santa Clara Road area. The item was not on the agenda for a vote, but will likely be brought up for action in the coming months.

Prentiss Cammack, a landowner in the area, approached city council and spoke about the desire to build on his land.

“When we purchased it, it was intended just as a farm,” Cammack said. “Over the years, we’ve been annexed. Since then, we have had some interest in some development. What we’re requesting is that we follow the long-term planning use that city council was requesting, which was the SF-5, which will allow us the flexibility to do what we need to do there.”

Any future development, he said, will require retention ponds and will have to address any flooding issues.

“I just don’t think it (drainage) is going to be a huge issue, after they’ve done their due diligence and adhere to planning that’s required,” he said.

“We intend to farm it as long as we can. But at some point, and everybody in here knows that property is going to be developed, because people are moving in here. I believe the best use of it would be to allow us to have that SF-5,” Cammack said, adding, “We’re not asking for anything that the (city’s) long-term plan didn’t show,” he added.

Cibolo resident Ashley Zimmerman, whose family owns land in the annexed region, disagreed. She said land zoned for larger lots will actually help the city in the long run.

“We believe that south of FM 78 should stay as large lots as possible. I’m not against the development of anything south of FM 78,” Zimmerman said, “but I do believe that since city services are not available to these lots now, that they should be 1-acre minimum lots, so that Guadalupe County will allow them to have septic tanks.”

Land owner Cassandra Kearns backed Zimmerman’s argument, mentioning the lack of city services to areas already developed south of FM 78. Kearns referred to the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan, reading from a page in its Plans and Goals section.

“One goal,” she read, “is ‘to provide adequate infrastructure to support projected growth.’ We all know that, right now, south of FM 78 doesn’t have that infrastructure, unless you plan on putting it out there any time relatively soon.”

Another goal listed in the comprehensive plan is “to provide health, safety, security and general welfare for all citizens,” she read. “Can we provide the fire (protection)? I live out there, and I don’t have a fire hydrant probably within a half-mile of my house. But I’m in the city; right now, you wouldn’t be able to get water to me if my house, or my neighbor’s house, was on fire. That’s a huge issue.”

Zimmerman spoke about infrastructure and a constant sore spot around town — condition of city streets. Larger lots, she said, would limit the number of houses and therefore reduce the constant amount of traffic associated with sprawling subdivisions.

“It also helps out with the infrastructure that’s necessary to add roads and maintain the roads for adding SF-5 zoning and the resulting traffic,” Zimmerman said. “The roads out there are in pretty poor shape. Every time it rains, Haeckerville Road gets really bad and the city had to go out there and patch it or the contractor goes out there and patches it.

“If you guys do approve the high density out there, it’ll be like a domino effect out there,” she added.

Bolton Road resident James Harden advised council to take a look at the drainage issue before taking action.

“Growth is going to happen no matter what happens in this city. I understand that,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of land to be developed in Cibolo. But the drainage needs to be looked at. Anything that increases upstream from me will affect me and others downstream.

“I’m not opposed to the development,” he said. “It just needs to be thought out and processed properly, instead of just rubber-stamping it and worrying about it down the road.”

jflinn@express-news.net