City Council is expected to vote Sept. 8 on annexation of new territory along IH-10 West and U.S. 281 North, with plans to consider a second phase annexation of Alamo Ranch in Northwest Bexar County in 2017.

If you hold strong views for or against annexation, or simply want to gain a better understanding of the issue, please join elected officials and others at Doc Brown’s Monday from 6:30-8 p.m. for a spirited panel discussion and audience conversation.

Public policy, we’ve learned, often goes down easier when you and your neighbors share a cold beer or cocktail – even if you don’t share the same viewpoint on this timely and important public policy issue. There is more to it than a simple yes or no opinion on annexation of fast-developing areas bordering San Antonio’s current city limits. The right of Texas municipalities to annex versus the State’s right to limit such authority has become a recurring issue in the Texas Legislature and is expected to be the subject of proposed legislation limiting the right of municipalities to annex in the 2017 legislative session.

Part I of a primer on annexation. Chart courtesy of Glasshouse Policy.
Part I of a primer on annexation. Chart courtesy of Glasshouse Policy.

The Rivard Report is pleased to announce the third installment of Place Changing, our periodic event and article series. Place Changing: Annexation will feature State, City, and County elected officials in an informal conversation as well as an audience Q&A moderated by Robert Rivard. This is your opportunity to meet officeholders in an informal, casual setting in one of the fastest growing areas of the city.

We know many suburban residents can’t make it downtown for City Council meetings or hearings, so we are bringing the meeting to you, in your community, in a welcoming setting for a program that is free and open to the public.

Place Changing began in early 2015 as a collaboration between Rivard Report journalists and urban designers at local architecture firm Overland Partners. The project has quickly grown into a broad coalition of partners promoting greater civic engagement and citizen participation in the political process. The goal is to shine a light on San Antonio’s fastest changing places, to spark greater public awareness and dialogue, and to positively influence new development while preserving and protecting the culture, history, and social fabric unique to each neighborhood and community.

So far, Place Changing has profiled the Dignowity Hill historic neighborhood on the Eastside, unearthed untold history at Living Stories during 2016 DreamWeek San Antonio, and harnessed community creativity with the BYOBroadway ideas contest.

This time, we venture beyond the urban core to suburban and peripheral parts of San Antonio.

Place Changing: Annexation will be our first collaborative effort with Glasshouse Policy, an Austin-based nonpartisan think tank dedicated to transparent government and crowdsourced policy creation.

“We’re excited to bring our unique, crowdsourced, and collaborative approach to public policy production to San Antonio,” said Francisco Enriquez, co-founder and managing director of Glasshouse Policy. “Collaborating with the Rivard Report is a great opportunity to engage Bexar County residents in a transparent conversation about annexation and the future development of the region.”

Part II of a primer on annexation. Chart courtesy of Glasshouse Policy.
Part II of a primer on annexation. Chart courtesy of Glasshouse Policy.

If you are struggling to remember exactly what annexation means, fret not. We got you. Read a quick annexation primer (see charts) from our partners at Glasshouse Policy, revisit recent Rivard Report annexation coverage, or peruse our annexation archives.

Panelists include State Rep. Rick Galindo III (R-117), whose district includes Alamo Ranch, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, who currently oversees law enforcement in the unincorporated parts of the county, and City Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8), who also serves on a Texas Municipal League committee addressing annexation issues. Other elected officials have been invited.

The conversation with elected officials will begin at 7 p.m., include an audience Q&A, and end at 8 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited. To RSVP to the free event, click here.

Event co-sponsors from UTSA’s School of Public Policy, the San Antonio Entrepreneur Center, and Participation Studio also will attend. If you or your organization are interested in joining the Place Changing coalition, email us here.

Since the Texas Legislature passed the Municipal Annexation Act of 1963, the statute has been amended multiple times. Legislators have sought without success in recent sessions to amend it yet again to limit the ability of San Antonio and other cities to annex new territory without the consent of those who live or own businesses in the targeted areas. No one is predicting such legislation will pass when it is reintroduced in 2017, but City officials here and elsewhere in the state aren’t taking any chances, either.

See you Monday evening at Doc Brown’s. Don’t forget to RSVP.

Image by Nicolas Rivard.
An infill and sprawl diagram. Image by Nicolas Rivard.

Top Image: Aerial footage of suburban grown on the City’s far Westside.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related Stories:

San Antonio Debates the Costs-Benefits of Growth by Annexation

City Council to Grapple Anew with Annexation Question

Rivard: A Bond and a Vision for San Antonio

Nirenberg Calls For Light Rail Debate, Inclusion in 2017 Bond

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San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.