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Boerne leaders tease road updates as Kendall County outgrows existing infrastructure

"When you have uncontrolled growth, it can be hard on the city," Boerne councilman Ty Wolosin said. "We've been big proponents of what we call 'smart growth.'"

SAN ANTONIO — Kendall County leaders are devising plans to improve infrastructure as the area's population soars. 

"What we've had is a growth of the suburbs: Fair Oaks, Boerne," Boerne Mayor Pro Tempore Ty Wolosin said. "That growth went faster than a major highway could take." 

Roughly 50,000 people live in Kendall County, outpacing state leaders' 2010 expectations. At the time, they estimated the area's population would nearly double by 2040. 

County leaders formed a transportation task force, charged with creating traffic solutions to meet new road demand. 

But a number of Boerne residents say they are worried new plans would require them to cede land to the Texas Department of Transportation for construction.

Stoking concerns, Boerne Councilmember Nina Woolard said last week she expects residents will have to give up some property eventually. 

"The need for new roads will require land and we must recognize that will result in the taking of someone’s land," she wrote in a Facebook post after the meeting. "I am not advocating the taking of land, I simply pointed out that would be the result. Whether the owner is compensated or not, the result is the loss of someone’s property."

The public's fear largely stems from a 2018 state report that included a proposal for a Loop 1604-style bypass around the county. After public outcry about this particular proposal, county leaders say their predecessors largely abandoned the entire report.

"If you did a hand-raise of anyone on the (Boerne) council, no one wants to see a 300-foot easement circling Kendall County," Wolosin said. 

"Too often, (with) any (discussion of) transportation improvements, people just assume it's going to be a giant loop," he continued. "The great thing about this committee is they're coming up with innovative ways to redo roads or intersections that reduce the need for new roads."

He said "the last thing we want to do" is take people's land. 

Wolosin says the transportation committee will consider a number of options to ease congestion. The city already plans to replace some confusing intersections with roundabouts and add turn lanes to four-way stops that back traffic up. 

Boerne's mayor, Tim Handren, has asked for a final compilation of ideas by the year's end. From there, the council would solicit public input before prioritizing projects and seeking funding. 

"Doing nothing is not the best answer," Wolosin said. "Boerne is going to grow, and we're hoping that it's a smart growth. We have to think about about we can do, transportation-wise... not just short-term, but think where Boerne will be in 50 years."