Don’t jeopardize military installations with anti-annexation legislation

Airmen parade during the basic military training graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on June 16. A bill that could be considered in special legislative session, could imperil the city’s local bases. (Photo: Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News )

narrative, one deployed simply to undercut her mission to limit city annexation powers.


But there is nothing false about the concern that uncontrolled growth could diminish military missions in the region and across the state.

During the regular session, state Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, proposed creating buffers around military installations where cities could regulate use. The buffers could be either 5 miles or whatever the military might recommend.

Campbell fought the amendment, and her bill ultimately died in a dramatic filibuster to close out the session.

It deserved that demise. Campbell’s anti-annexation legislation, which would give residents the right to vote on annexation, is flawed because it ignores the strain residents in unincorporated areas put on cities and because it encourages sprawl. But if it becomes law in the special session, then it should at least include protections for development around military bases.

At a recent state hearing, roughly a dozen officials with the military spoke about how development could affect missions at military installations — light and noise pollution, higher densities or a lack of tree canopy.

With another round of base realignment and closures, or BRAC, possible in 2018, it’s foolish to put our military bases at any disadvantage. San Antonio is home to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Camp Bullis.

These bases generated an estimated $48.7 billion in economic impact in 2015. City regulations can help ensure that continues.

The annexation debate has focused on limiting cities without any consideration for empowering urban counties to control and manage growth. It’s a gaping hole in the policy discussion, which is exactly why these buffers are needed.

The city has far more tools in its toolbox than Bexar County to manage growth around these bases. Yes, as annexation opponents have noted, some big growth has already occurred. But it’s occurred in a way that doesn’t jeopardize military missions. For example, at the hearing, Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, head of San Antonio’s Office of Military Affairs, said development south of Camp Bullis happened with city and military approval.

City projections call for massive growth over the next 20 years in the proposed 5-mile buffers around Camp Bullis and Lackland. Nearly 25,000 more people will live around Lackland. More than 10,000 more people will live near Camp Bullis.

If that growth undermines area bases and their missions, we will have only ourselves to blame.

Ki Monique
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Ki is an actress, tv personality, and reporter. She has many hobbies and talents. Her father is a retired military veteran.