Neighborhoods released from San Antonio’s ETJ to vote in May whether to be annexed into Converse

CONVERSE, Tex. (KTSA News) — The City of Converse is continuing forward with its annexation plan after reaching another benchmark at the start of the month.

Converse is set to annex the Dover and Parc of Escondido neighborhoods later in 2020, should the residents in those neighborhoods agree in the May 2nd election, as part of an agreement the City of Converse made with the City of San Antonio to turn over extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and some of its land to Converse over the next 13 years or so.

The City of San Antonio released its ETJ of Dover and Parc of Escondido on January 30th.

On February 1st, the Converse City Council made the following moves:

  • It accepted the ETJ of those neighborhoods, making them eligible for Converse to annex.
  • It approved its resolution of intent to annex those neighborhoods.
  • It ordered an election be held on May 2nd for residents there to approve the annexation.

Friday, the city informed the residents that will be impacted by the annexation of the election, the services that would change following the annexation, and public hearing dates on the annexation.

The city will hold five meetings — two city council public hearings and three town hall meetings — on the matter:

  • February 19th, 6:30 p.m. — Town Hall Meeting at Elolf Elementary School
  • February 25th, 6 p.m. — City Council Public Hearing at Converse City Hall
  • March 18th, 6:30 p.m. — Town Hall Meeting at Elolf Elementary School
  • March 28th, 10 a.m. — Town Hall Meeting at Converse City Hall
  • April 7th, 7 p.m. — City Council Public Hearing at Converse City Hall

Early voting on the annexation election will be from April 20th to April 28th.

This is part of the City of Converse’s annexation plan that will have its city limits extend west to Windcrest in the northwest and Foster Road in the southwest, and south to Interstate 10.

What changes after annexation?

Generally, a city annexing unincorporated land will offer more services and zoning control to residents.

Specifically in Converse’s case and the annexation of the Dover and Parc of Escondido neighborhoods, the following changes will be seen:

  • FIRE and EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES: This part of Bexar County is serviced by Bexar County Emergency Services District No. 1, which contracts out its services to the City of Converse.  Operationally, there will be little difference seen by the user of these services, but the financial and oversight structure of these services will be very different.  Current property owners pay property taxes to the ESD to receive these services.  Upon annexation, that will be removed and replaced by the city property taxes.  The City of Converse says it plans to hire more personnel to cover this area.
  • POLICE: Currently, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office provides police protection to these neighborhoods.  The sheriff’s office covers the entire county, but are the primary responding agency for 911 callers outside city limits.  After annexation, Converse police will instead be providing these services.  The City of Converse said it will be hiring additional staff to service these neighborhoods.
  • PLANNING, ZONING, CODE ENFORCEMENT and INSPECTIONS: There are no current building code enforcement officers nor zoning regulations for property outside city limits.  Generally speaking, there is no restriction on what someone can build or do on their properties outside of city limits in the State of Texas, except some of the more obvious exceptions generally handled by state law.  By being annexed into a city, property owners will be confined to zoning regulations.  While this limits what people can build or operate on their property, it also gives neighbors more control over their community by having a city council that can decide what is permitted to be built and what is not permitted.  Annexation will also require residents and contractors to obtain permits when doing construction or remodeling in the city.  Additionally, the city will have code enforcement officers to maintain minimum housing standards intended to remove nuisances, junk and debris.
  • LIBRARY: Currently, people living outside the city limits of Converse can use the library for a fee.  After annexation, access will free — paid through city taxes.
  • ANIMAL CONTROL: Bexar County currently provides animal control services for the county and shares a facility with the City of Kirby for a shelter.  When these neighborhoods are annexed, those services will instead by handled by the City of Converse and its shelter on FM 1516.
  • ROAD and STREET LIGHT MAINTENANCE: Road maintenance in unincorporated parts of Bexar County are handled by the county — unless they are state highways, which TxDOT maintains.  Upon annexation, the City of Converse will take over what the county had been maintaining, including the installation of new street signs.  The cost of keeping street lights on in neighborhoods is currently paid by the homeowners association.  The city will pay those bills after annexation through the property taxes.
  • WATER and SEWER: These services are currently handled by the San Antonio Water System and will continue to be after annexation.  Residents will see no difference.
  • GARBAGE: Currently, trash pickup in unincorporated parts of Bexar County are handled by private trash collectors.  After annexation, the City of Converse will handle these services.  It will no longer be necessary to pay a third party for those services, but will be billed separately through the city.  The city says residents in newly annexed areas will have two years to convert over to the city’s trash services.

NOTE: Story has been updated to correct Converse’s trash pickup billing arrangement.

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