Schertz City Council on April 2 denied a zoning change for a property located south of the intersection of Savannah Drive and Irish Creek Road.

The zoning request was to change the area from Single-Family Residential to a Planned Development District, which would contain a maximum of 297 dwelling units.

The background

Originally, the proposal was presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission featuring 11 dwelling units per acre for a maximum total of 486 dwelling units.

The 44.3-acre property is broken into two sections based on the JBSA-Randolph Accident Potential Zones, which are zones where aircraft accidents are the most likely to occur–should they occur, according to the Air Force website.

Of the 44.3 acres, 11.97 acres fall within the Accident Potential Zone II, and would not have dwelling units.

Residents at the planning and zoning and city council meetings voiced concerns about residential density, traffic, property values, safety, infrastructure and other issues.

Resident Brad Parker said bringing in new rental properties could lead to a decrease in rental rates on other properties in the area.

“It’s not that we are afraid of change,” Parker said. “Everyone knows it is going to be developed. We just want to keep it in the same fashion.”

On March 6, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the proposal be denied by city council.

About the project

Following the planning and zoning meeting, the applicant made modifications to the proposal, which would contain a maximum of 297 detached single-family dwellings that would be rentals.

“We immediately went back to the drawing board and essentially cut the density in half,” the applicant said.

Assistant City Manager Brian James explained that a Planned Development District would be the appropriate zoning, so the city may hold the developer accountable for construction in the Accident Potential Zone.

Meeting Highlights

Due to a percentage of land owners near the development area protesting the proposal, City Council would have needed a supermajority to approve the rezoning, meaning six out of seven council members would have to vote in favor of the approval.

Council members held discussions with city staff regarding the increased traffic, rental properties and other concerns from residents.

Councilman Tim Brown said the number of multifamily developments and rental properties should be considered when making the decision to approve the proposal.

“Rental housing is part of the realistic future that we have, because there are a lot of people that do not want to buy homes,” Brown said. “But with that said, I do think that you get to a certain point that you meet the current market and you have an extra amount of housing that you may not be able to fill quickly.”

Councilwoman Allison Heyward supported the proposal and commended the applicant for altering the proposal following concerns from residents.

“I want the residents to know that I hear them, and I know this is very tough,” Heyward said. “But I think about the mission, and I have seen cities where [it is] hard to recuperate from messing with a mission.”

Ultimately, the city council voted to deny the zoning request in a 2-5 vote with Heyward and Councilwoman Michelle Watson voting in favor of the proposal.