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Council increases impervious cover on sensitive recharge zone land

June 19, 2008

Today, City Council approved rezoning case Z2008018 ERZD at 42% impervious cover (down from 45%).  AGUA spoke against this case, advocating that the impervious cover remain at 30% in exchange for allowing the more intensive land use (Multi-family MF-25).

The site was determined to be particularly sensitive, with several potential recharge features, therefore we felt it was an example of an area that cannot support intense development.  Mayor Hardberger supported AGUA's recommendation and was the only vote against this case. Please take a moment to thank him for "standing alone" (contact phardberger@sanantonio.gov or 210.207.7060).

Sometimes there are disappointments. However, we continue to work for Aquifer protection, and your voice remains an essential component in this effort. Indeed, in the past year, we have seen some remarkable victories, including some rezoning cases being approved at very low impervious cover levels (10-15%). With your help, we will continue to see increasingly more victories in the future.

This property is located at the corner of Bulverde Rd and Jones-Maltsberger, within the Recharge Zone. Check out our rezoning cases map for location information.

Here's why the rezoning was a mistake:

  • In 2006, the property was rezoned to a residential-mixed zone (allows some multifamily) with SAWS recommending 30% impervious cover.
  • The property is now being rezoned to a more intense multi-family zone and a 2008 site inspection revealed that the property was considerably more sensitive than previously thought.
  • However, SAWS has increased the recommendation to 45% despite the site being more sensitive. This recommendation contradicts SAWS' objective to protect the Aquifer.
  • This property is very sensitive and cannot support intense development:
    1. It is underlain by one of the most permeable Edwards formations)
    2. Part of the property is within the floodplain where recharge can occur
    3. A recharge feature was discovered on the property
    4. A fault crosses the property, which is another area where recharge can occur.

Science tells us that at impervious cover levels above 15%, we start to see water quality degradation. This property is too sensitive for 42%.

Elyzabeth Earnley
Technical Research Director
Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas