Scott Ball / Rivard Report
San Antonio and Converse are planning a series of annexations and boundary adjustments that will provide Converse municipal services, including full-time fire protection and garbage collection, to the unincorporated neighborhoods of Camelot II and The Glen.
Additionally, Converse will be adding the San Antonio neighborhood of Northhampton. Under the agreement announced Monday, Converse will add 5.2 square miles to its city limits, with San Antonio giving up 2.2 square miles of land through boundary adjustments, including the Northampton neighborhood, land along Gibbs-Sprawl Road east of Eisenhauer and Walzem roads, and areas south of Converse’s current city limits.
Specifically, Converse will annex unincorporated land to its south, north of Interstate 10, and unincorporated land between its western city limit and Windcrest. That area includes Camelot II and The Glen, which have been scrutinized for blighted conditions and a lack of trash collection service.
San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and Converse Mayor Al Suarez announced the land transfer plans in a press conference at City Hall. Taylor said the annexation is designed “to bring progress to an underserved area.
“I think we’ve done what makes sense for both communities and to address concerns we’ve had in those areas that have been challenged with lack of services,” Taylor said.
The annexation will be done in two phases and occur over seven years, officials said. This approach will bring all Converse city services – fire/EMS, police, public works, among others – to Camelot, The Glen and other areas, Taylor said.
Leaders from each city will spend the rest of January and February working toward an agreement that will detail San Antonio’s transfer of land.
“We are so looking forward to our partnership with Converse, and our other municipal partners, in the planning and development of the unincorporated regions in our area,” Taylor said.
In late 2015, San Antonio and Bexar County began a pilot program to provide trash service in Camelot. However, the City last year excluded Camelot and the I-10 properties from its long-term annexation plans, as local officials deemed it too costly to add them.
As of 2013, Converse had a population of more than 20,000. It continues to see residential and commercial growth. In response, Converse is building a new municipal complex, a second fire station, and an animal control facility. The city is also hiring six more police officers. The construction of a permanent county sheriff’s substation near Loop 1604 and Rocket Lane also has begun.
“We continue to grow, and this move toward annexation will make us grow even faster,” Suarez said.
For years, the Bexar County Emergency Services District No. 1 has been providing fire and EMS services to part of the unincorporated areas, north of I-10. At the end of November 2016, Converse finished a 10-year interlocal agreement with San Antonio to provide fire and EMS service to Northhampton.
“Expansion through annexation will give us sufficient revenue to provide much-needed public services to the area,” Suarez said.
Suarez said his city will do what it can to answer questions from residents in the newly annexed areas. San Antonio City Councilman Alan Warrick (D2), who has been serving Northhampton, pledged to do the same for the neighborhood’s residents as the transition occurs.
Marie Kalista, a member of the Northhampton Property Owners Association board of directors, and neighbors attending the news conference said they have questions about the annexation process, but called the plan a win-win for all involved.
“We have some issues in Northampton,” she said. “Our streets, for example, so we need to clarify. We have 50 acres of undeveloped land. Will (Converse) take it? These are the things we just want explained for the long term.”