One of the big issues being tackled at the Texas Legislature’s special session is annexation.
City leaders say that annexation reform could be bad for city planning and growth as well as bad for military installations. Because of that, San Antonio is taking center stage in the big debate.
Two state lawmakers, including State Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels, have come up with legislation that would allow residents to vote on whether they want to be annexed by a city.
“San Antonio is Military City USA, and we’ll do anything in our power to protect our military installations,” said State Rep. Roland Gutierrez said. “Current legislation being proposed, however, fails to take into account the preservation of our military bases, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs in Texas.”
Gutierrez and others, like Mayor Ron Nirenberg, have come out against the legislation, saying it will make it difficult for cities to grow effectively and zone appropriately, especially in areas around military bases.
Gutierrez introduced a bill on Tuesday that would create a military zoning board. The bill would also be a five-mile buffer around military installations.
Other bills call for a much smaller buffer of quarter of a mile to half a mile.
“I appreciate the work that Representative Gutierrez has done to find good compromise that allows us to retain some of that local land use authority to make sure we’re meeting the needs of the defense community as we continue to grow as a city,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
Gutierrez’s bill has been referred to committee, while the senate approved Campbell’s bill last week.