Residents fight potential annexation of Fair Oaks Ranch

Eyewitness News Reporter Alicia Neaves has the story.

FAIR OAKS RANCH - Some residents are now calling Fair Oaks Ranch "Unfair Oaks Ranch", thanks to an annexation up for a vote this week.

The city wants to annex portions of the surrounding area for economic reasons, but homeowners are speaking out, saying their property can't and shouldn't be taken away.

"My grandfather is one of the founding citizens of this community. He is being stomped on because he would never, ever want to be annexed," said homeowner Tim Corley, whose family moved to his northern Bexar County property in the late 1800's.

Corley inherited his land bordering Fair Oaks Ranch from his grandfather.

"We're the largest track owner out here," he said. 

Corley's land is part of the extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, the area of about 100 households around Fair Oaks Ranch that the city potentially could annex.

"They did send us a letter that went to our post office box that we didn't get, but I never received a phone call to be involved in any of the planning that they're trying to do on our property," said Corley. "We've fought and retained our CCN rights for water and sewer and we'd be willing to work with the city if we are going to do something with this property. That starts with a two-way conversation."

Wes Pieper, a resident of Old Fredericksburg Estates, also in the Fair Oaks Ranch ETJ, says the city sent him a notice announcing the annexation back in October.

"They're fast-tracking this in order to beat SB6 before it goes into effect Friday, Dec 6, and vote [Tuesday] night and Wednesday night to forcibly annex all of their ETJ, including all of our 2.5-acre property," said Pieper. "I've been standing on the street corner handing out flyers these last three days, and time,
after time, after time, Fair Oaks Ranch residents say, 'What's going on?'"

Senate Bill 6 will not allow cities to annex land without the consent of the owner.

Pieper says despite a Home Rule vote in May, he does not want city services or a hefty tax bill.

"Just give us a right to vote in the future," said Pieper. "Just let December 1, SB 6 take effect, and do it the right way."

Fair Oaks Ranch Mayor, Garry Manitzas, says beating the December deadline is in the community's best interest. He says the purpose of the annexation is to manage the city's growth responsibly and to protect the quality of life for residents.

"In Texas, we have to be able to annex a property into our city to be able to apply regulations like zoning, which is a way of managing that growth," said Manitzas. "The decision making on how the area around our city gets built out would effectively be in the hands of a little over 100 property owners to the total exclusion of the 3,000 households that reside in our city."

City officials say they distributed non-annexation development agreements to all homeowners in the ETJ.

Pending land use purposes, some owners have been granted deferred annexation for up to 45 years.

"It's a beautiful setting, beautiful area, beautiful schools. We're trying to do our part to try to keep it that way while respecting the rights of the property owners who do have a right to develop their property," said Manitzas.

Manitzas says he also anticipates property values would go up with the potential annexation.

Tuesday and Wednesday evening, Fair Oaks Ranch city leaders will vote on whether or not to adopt the ordinances.

If the annexation happens, citizens tell KENS 5 lawsuits will follow.

For more information on the annexation, click here.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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