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Environmental Group Asking Council To Overturn SAWS Sewer Agreement for Comal Development

Bat Conservation International

A regional water watchdog group is asking for the City of San Antonio’s help in shutting down the efforts of a developer who wants to build a high-density neighborhood north of San Antonio.

The Crescent Hill development is situated on the banks of Cibolo Creek and has a San Antonio address. It advertises on its website that it is the first conservation development in Comal County, embracing the principles of sustainability and connectivity.

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) said the subdivision is platted for too many houses to pass San Antonio’s impervious cover ordinance protecting the Edwards Aquifer.

Executive Director Annalisa Peace said her group will ask city council this week to rescind the San Antonio Water System’s decision to provide sewer and water lines to the area in Comal County.

"SAWS customers will actually be subsidizing the expenses of this development," Peace said. "SAWS is planning on paying 50 percent of the cost of providing an oversized sewer main to that area. That will mean other developments can tie off on that, and so it actually will encourage other development on the recharge zone out there."

There is some discussion that SAWS is required by law to provide sewer lines to the area. However, one SAWS board member who voted against the decision wrote a letter to city council after the board’s vote, explaining he did not believe SAWS is required to provide the services in this case.

Other groups are expected to appear before council Wednesday to speak about other reasons that the development should be stopped.

The subdivision borders the Bracken Bat Preserve, which is home to the largest colony of Mexican Freetail Bats in the world, and is also close to the Cibolo Bluffs Preserve.

"That is a preserve that Bexar County and the Army purchased to protect Golden-Cheeked Warbler habitat so that the Army could get those mitigation credits, which allows them to increase their operations on Camp Bullis," she said.

The group plans to present its case to city council on Wednesday at the B Session meeting.

*Note: You may notice that the link to the Crescent Hill development web page is no longer there. The Crescent Hill page was removed from the developer's website on Wednesday night.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.