City of Helotes Responds to Inaccurate Reporting Over The Proposed Ranch Creek Apartments

0
516
Helotes News Ranch Creek Apts Image
Image Source: Change.org

HELOTES, TX. Multiple San Antonio-based news agencies incorrectly reported the proposed Ranch Creek Apartments leaving Helotes residents misinformed. The news reports covered a proposed mix-used development of commercial spaces and multifamily residences, otherwise referred to as apartments. The location is outside Helotes City limits but within the City of Helotes Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Texas legislation provides the City of Helotes with some municipal regulatory authority and is limited to tree preservation, landscaping, traffic impact analysis, and exterior signage.

According to one online article dated August 26th, 2022, and updated on August 28th, 2022 from mysanantonio.com:

The commissioners’ court delayed approval of the plans for the Ranch Creek Apartments in the Helotes after hearing the homeowners’ concerns. However, County Public Works Director Renee Green told the court that the apartments’ plans met engineering requirements, so they received staff approval. The City of Helotes has also approved the plans, and the Texas Department of Transportation approved the traffic impact analysis.

San Antonio-based news channels picked up the story as well. In one clip, viewers can observe a reporter standing in front of the City of Helotes’ digital message board, stating, “But the City of Helotes as well as the engineers have already approved these plans….”

Helotes News searched our database that records the Helotes City Council Members’ votes based on City Council meeting minutes and could not find any record of this proposal being “approved,” as reported by the San Antonio media.

When asked for comment, Helotes City Administrator Marian Mendoza said:

I saw the KSAT report last night and was very displeased with the information provided to their viewers. They stated that the City of Helotes approved the plans, which is incorrect since we do not have jurisdiction to approve a plat in our ETJ. Our City Engineer reviews the plat and Storm Water Management Plans (SWMP) and forwards comments to the County staff for consideration and consolidation with their comments/review process.  Ultimately, the County approves the plat/SWMP.

I am sending a letter to KSAT to correct this information, especially since no one from KSAT contacted us to verify the process.

Helotes News asked follow-up questions to Ms. Mendoza about the original reporting by San Antonio-based news to clear up the apparent inaccurate reporting. Multiple reports reference the Bexar County Commissioners, City of Helotes, and “Helotes Neighbors.” Possibly indicating gaps of knowledge as to what Bexar County has jurisdiction over, what the City of Helotes doesn’t have jurisdiction over, and who is a resident in the incorporated City Limits of Helotes. Helotes City Administrator Marian Mendoza further commented:

The County is responsible for floodplain management, flood control, drainage, stormwater management plan (SWMP) approval, and any associated permitting. The County is also responsible for building and fire protection systems permitting all commercial and multifamily developments within the City’s ETJ. Since this property fronts Bandera Rd the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) requires TxDOT review and approval – our City Engineer reviews the TIA and sends comments to TxDOT for them to consider and consolidate within their review.

What the news reports are getting right is the observed commercial and residential growth in the Helotes area in recent years. Clearly, people desire to live in Helotes and businesses to build in the city and surrounding area. There is also a strong desire by Helotes residents to limit new developments that continue to move North on State Highway 16 at what seems to be an ever-increasing pace.