San Antonio: Meritage Homes Subdivision Lays Groundwork ACCD Boerne Campus
Feature Photo: Google Earth image highlighting the relationship between the Alamo Colleges District, Meritage homes and Boerne Stage Field properties.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — A single family residential subdivision project is laying the groundwork for infrastructure the Alamo Colleges District needs to proceed with plans for a campus south of Boerne.
In August of 2019, this Virtual Builders Exchange report noted that the community colleges district was planning to develop the I-10 Northwest Education and Training Center (NWETC) on a large tract of land it had acquired that is located northwest of the intersection of Balcones Creek at Interstate 10.
A colleges district spokesman told VBX that the campus would be constructed in phases, with two buildings totaling 40,000 square feet anticipated in Phase 1. The colleges district recently completed the construction of similar education and trainings centers (ETC) in south and west San Antonio–each of them costing in the low to mid $20 million range.
Since the August 2019 report, however, there’s been little mention of activity on that site. The San Antonio Water System did construct a lift station on the property and the ACD has been in talks with neighboring stakeholders on how the ACD can assist with their water needs.
An attorney for Meritage Homes, during a Wednesday appearance before the Planning Commission, said the homebuilder is one of those stakeholders. Patrick Christensen was before the commission to request a land use amendment from agriculture to low density residential for a single family housing project on 62.4 acres that abuts the western boundary of the colleges district property.
The land use amendment was opposed by the owners and users of Boerne Air Field, a small general aviation airport that is directly south of the Balcones Creek road.
Christensen explained that the airport group wants to expand their runway. They falsely claimed that the proposed subdivision would be a safety issue because homes would be under the flight path.
“Kimley-Horn, our engineers, have already reached out to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). We are not in the flight path. It’s very easy to throw it out and say we are, but that’s just not the case,” Christensen said. “The issue with the airport is they can’t expand their runway because they don’t own the land.
“They asked if they could purchase the land, the Alamo community college district attorneys told them, ‘We can’t just sell the land. We purchased it with bond funds … if we did, it would have to go out for bid.”
The colleges district, however, is still intent on building the new campus. The proof of this has been their willingness to work with Meritage Homes to get the infrastructure the school would need on the cheap.
“They want to build a school campus there. If you look at this exhibit, (see below) we are going to help the Alamo community college district by building a road through their property to our property. That will connect Balcones Creek (road) to Boerne Stage Road, which will help alleviate some traffic in this area.”
The lines in blue and red highlight the right of way for the proposed collector road extension and sewer line.
Meritage Homes will also pay for and build a sewer line parallel to the road, across the colleges district property, he added.
“They do not have access to sewer at this time and that is why they have not built any campus up there, thus far,” Christensen added.
In addition to extending Balcones Creek, the street plan includes several neighborhood streets that will provide access to more than 200 lots for future home construction. The project site has an address of 29300 Boerne Stage Road; the land reaches Boerne Stage Road at its westernmost boundary, where Boerne Stage Road crosses the Balcones Creek waterway (not the road that is named after the creek).
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.