By Moses Leos III
For a second time in the span of a month, Kyle residents turned to the Kyle City Council to express concern over the annexation of 1,500 acres of land.
Kyle’s proposed annexation extends to land east of South Old Stagecoach Road, north of Yarrington Road and west of Interstate 35, outside of the current city limits.
Several residents who live on Opal Lane spoke against annexation.
Kyle resident Juania Parsons, who lives on Opal Lane, asked the city to have an “open heart” and reconsider its plan to annex the area.
Parsons said there “must be a third alternative” to the city’s plan to annex the land.
“I believe there’s a winning hand for all parties,” Parsons said. “As in the Wizard of Oz, there is no wizard behind the curtain.”
Parsons said she believed the city and residents should come together to explore options “for a common goal.”
Gene Hardaway voiced his concerns over having an “extra tax bill” from the city as a result of the annexation.
Resident Debbie Bales, who lives on Opal Lane, asked the city to “put yourself in my shoes” prior to making a decision.
She said many residents in the area wouldn’t benefit, as they already have septic systems and their neighborhoods are patrolled by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re all nearing retirement. It’s a time when we would be able to sit back under large oak trees and enjoy the peace and calm,” Bales said. “Consider how you would feel as a person in our home, facing this decision.”
Leslie Moore, who is the proprietor of the Winfield Inn, also said he wouldn’t benefit from the city’s annexation plans.
“Why annex if there’s nothing on the table that increases my ability to maintain this property?” Moore said. “Small growth in a small city like this is important. … I feel like I’m being threatened. It feels like things are being closed on me.”
Kyle Community Development Director Howard Koontz said the city is not considering annexation “solely in the theater of the 1,500 acres.”
He said the city is looking at the annexation as “greater protections that we are able to afford ourselves regionally,” specifically to the southwest portion of the city, which is largely undeveloped.
Koontz said the city wants to make sure the “nature and style” of any possible development is at the “higher quality” determined by city codes, than relaxed standards of the county.
He also said the city prefers any development happening in that area to be hooked into the city’s wastewater system.
“There are benefits to be had,” Koontz said.
Kyle resident Lila Knight said the creation of an extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) management or an annexation plan could have helped the city. She said residents wouldn’t have been “shocked and surprised” to get letters of annexation from the city in the mail, if a plan had been in place.
But she also spoke about concerns of what the annexation could cost Kyle residents. She said the city was “not doing the right thing” in regards to annexation and that the city doesn’t have “good planning principles.”
“How much more will it cost us to annex this area?” Knight said. “I would love to have them as city of Kyle residents, but until you can demonstrate that we can afford them, we’ll just have to leave them out for a while.”
Koontz said the city had an annexation plan from 1999 to 2002. In order to have an annexation plan, the city had to maintain one that annexes more than 99 homes per action, as per state law.
“The occasional and infrequent annexations the city undertakes is comprised of sparsely populated areas and less than 99 homes in each action,” Koontz said.
He said the city could entertain an idea of an annexation plan in the future.
“There isn’t a reason to expect in the future the city wouldn’t adopt another plan,” Koontz said.