Thursday, February 16, 2006

Public Hearing on Proposed Grandfathering Ordinance

City staff was directed to meet with stakeholders (AGUA, cTc, San Antonio Conservation Society, Greater San Antonio Builders Association, and San Antonio Council of Realtors) to discuss recommendations for changes submitted by each of these groups. Recommendations will be considered by City Council after a public hearing on Thursday, February 16th at 5:30 pm at the City Council Chambers (114 W. Commerce).

AQUA will focus on the following issues:

  • Grandfathering is degrading our sole source of drinking water. Today, most new development is exempt from the aquifer protection ordinance, eleven years after it was passed.
  • Grandfathering is enabling clear-cutting of thousands of acres of trees, causing more air pollution and flooding. San Antonio cannot afford to give away more grandfathering than Texas law requires.

This hearing will determine how the City will recognize vested rights, the Council will to some extent determine whether San Antonio will be able to enforce regulations for aquifer protection, tree preservation, safe drainage, signs and bill boards and other issues that will determine what our city will look like in the years to come.

AGUA, the cTc, and others are calling upon City Council to adopt ordinances that recognize grandfathering in a manner that gives the City the greatest possible latitude, under State law, in enforcing good ordinances to protect trees, water quality, regulate drainage and billboards, and other measures that will make ours a more livable city.

AQUA supports requirements for developers to submit more specific plans in order to be recognized as having a vested right. Some special interests are opposing this because such changes will make it harder to sell grandfathered rights (aka "vested rights") along with the land.

AQUA support elimination of a loophole in the aquifer protection ordinance that makes it nearly impossible for developers to lose their grandfathering. This leads to absurd situations where a project is exempt from the 1995 aquifer protection ordinance but NOT exempt from the 2003 tree ordinance.


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