Threats of a federal lawsuit did not delay Gordon Hartman's development on Evans Road, so neighbors are going to Bexar County Commissioners Court with one of San Antonio's universal concerns: traffic.
Today, county commissioners are expected to vote on two more plats of Hartman's 527-acre Century Oaks development, near the TPC Parkway.
The site, where 1,493 homes and two schools are proposed, has drawn the scorn of neighbors and environmental groups because it is denser than now would be allowed by city ordinance over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer.
Because Hartman's subdivision takes advantage of grandfathered development rights from 1995, before the city started limiting development over its main water source, the city is allowing him to proceed.
Traffic studies, submitted to the county by Hartman, show that by 2019, Evans Road will have to support 15,059 vehicle trips a day coming from Century Oaks.
“When you are coming from Bulverde (Road), if you are turning left into the subdivision where these 15,000 extra cars per day will be entering and exiting, you can easily be rear-ended because of the curve in the road,” said Barbara Bailey, a member of Cibolo Creek Conservation Society. The group is made up of the neighbors to Century Oaks and all live on lots that are at least 10 acres.
In Hartman's development, the average lot size will be 0.3 acres.
After a successful career as a full-time developer, Hartman founded the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team and Morgan's Wonderland, an amusement park for special- needs children. He still focuses on those projects and does housing development on the side.
In November, CCCS announced its intention to sue Hartman, the city, the San Antonio Water System and the Judson Independent School District in federal court for not doing their part to protect endangered species and the aquifer. By federal law, the suit can't be filed until January. It is supported by the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and the Aquifer Guardians of Urban Areas.
County Commissioner Kevin Wolff sympathizes with his constituents, but said there is not much he can do.
“This is one of those lovely no-win situations,” he said.
Bexar County development services engineer Robert Brach said Evans Road can handle the additional traffic. He also said the dense development was made possible years ago when the city decided to expand its sewer system.
“Based on the current traffic volumes, (Evans Road) should have that capacity,” he said. “The thing is, once the sewer line came there, you lose your rural developments.”
Brach said Hartman has agreed to pay for expanding Evans to add a turn lane and a traffic signal. He said the county would ask for those to be included when Hartman makes his request for approval of the next set of plats.