SAN ANTONIO – The Trouble Shooters have learned Joint Base San Antonio is pushing back against proposed development near Randolph Air Force Base, fearing it could jeopardize the flying mission.
The plans for the mixed-use development, called Santé 51, include shopping, restaurants, hotels, a medical clinic and outdoor amphitheater.
“It will truly be the nicest shopping center along [Loop] 1604,” Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert says.
The shopping center and community gathering spot would go on land the county owns at Loop 1604 and Rocket Lane.
Commissioner Calvert says it would be a shot in the arm to the area’s economy.
“The people in the northeast side felt the county had really abandoned them,” he explains.
Several years ago, Bexar County bought the land specifically to calm any fears of encroachment. The land has served as a buffer for Randolph and its runways.
In a letter earlier this month, JBSA leaders expressed safety concerns with the ambitious project. Commissioner Calvert showed us his response, saying the plans follow federal guidelines as well as a land use study.
“I feel very confident that we are not encroaching on Randolph,” Commissioner Calvert says.
One of his fellow county leaders disagrees.
“Not too long ago, we had a major accident where a jet crashed and thankfully the pilots survived,” Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff says. “And luckily for us, it crashed in an area that wasn’t developed. That’s the point in trying to keep that encroachment away.”
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce – normally very much in favor of development – is not supporting Santé 51.
“Right now, we are in a battle with every other city that has bases in it to protect our missions and make sure they don’t go someplace else,” chamber president Richard Perez says.
On Monday, JBSA responded to the controversy in a statement to the Trouble Shooters.
“Any development this close to our fence line potentially creates operational and security vulnerabilities and potentially limits our future capabilities. In addition, certain development outside the fence line affects not only our ability to sustain our current mission, but also potentially restricts capability for future missions and base expansion,” wrote Brig. Gen. Lenderman (502 ABW/JBSA Commander) and Col. Robinson from (12FTW – JBSA Randolph).
We’ll let you know what happens next. Meantime, a new Bexar County Sheriff’s Office substation has been built on the property with the military’s full approval.
Article originally published by News 4 SA – Emily Baucum