Hill Country View - More Hill Country News
Continued construction near Camp Bullis builds concern PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 November 2007

By Joni Simon
Contributing Writer

Camp Bullis, formerly a haven in the Hill Country, was a perfect location in the past to train soldiers. In recent years, however, the Army has discovered that night lights aren’t the right lights for their purposes.

“Our concerns are commercial and residential lighting that impact the natural ambient light levels in the area,” said Fort Sam Houston spokesman Phillip Reidinger, adding the Army has received promises from the Rim that have helped. “The developer has agreed to place appropriate lighting fixtures for ‘dark sky lighting’ that will allow us to continue night maneuver training.”

Yet, with continual growth, the surrounding area is getting brighter at night. The latest concern is a sizable parcel of land near the Rim where clearing and construction has begun.

“I am not sure what the intended purpose for the construction is at the intersection of the IH-10 access road and Old Camp Bullis Road,” Reidinger said. “We understand that the area will be a multi-dealership auto mall.”

Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, has also expressed concern about what impact a business on the massive lot neighboring the Rim will have.

“I hope it’s not going to be an auto mall because I really think auto sales and service is something that should be prohibited on the recharge zone because of extensive use of chlorinated solvents and different chemicals that they use,” Peace said. “Camp Bullis is becoming increasingly more important in terms of being a pristine recharge area and also an endangered species habitat.”

According to Peace, even if land being developed is within a mile of the recharge zone, what’s built would have a bad impact on the area’s water supply.

“That includes really high density development because of the increased runoff,” she said. “If the water runs across a parking lot, that’s not quality water. You also have the problem of increased flooding. This development out at the Rim is a double whammy because we’re impacting our water supply and we’re also having a negative impact on one of San Antonio’s major employers - the Army.”

Peace says the future of Fort Sam Houston is linked to the ability to retain Camp Bullis as a training site supporting the missions of Fort Sam Houston tenant commands. Reidinger agrees. He says Camp Bullis is a significant regional training area with associated maneuver areas that currently supports the missions of the Army Medical Department Center and School. The average daily student population training today is 5,500.

“Camp Bullis is vital to the expansion of the Medical Education Training Campus that will provide allied health care education and training for the Defense Department,” Reidinger said. “Therefore, Camp Bullis will be the medical training site for all DOD medical training in approximately 20 medical specialties for enlisted personnel.”

The average daily student training population will grow to approximately 10,000, according to Reidinger. Camp Bullis also serves as a training site for Army, Air Force and Navy Reserve and National Guard units. The Army Reserve training and sites in the San Antonio area are all being consolidated at Camp Bullis. Camp Bullis has weapons range facilities used by all services, with Reserve and National Guard using sites on weekends.

“Our approach is to work with the local community and interested parties to manage development to prevent adverse impact on Camp Bullis training and associated environmental and land management programs,” Reidinger said. “The developer has currently agreed to protect training and environmental management programs at Camp Bullis.”

According to Reidinger, the Army is concerned about four issues in vicinity of Camp Bullis. Those include:

n Artificial lighting,

n Encroachment by endangered species (and an increased requirement for designating more maneuver area for habitat) due to destroyed habitat in areas under development around Camp Bullis,

n Protection of watersheds for Glen Rose, Trinity, and Edwards aquifers due to the role of Camp Bullis in contributing zones of aquifers within recharge zones and the protection of three endangered cave species in the aquifer recharge features, and

n Traffic congestion that impacts access to Camp Bullis from IH-10 and Loop 1604 due to intense development in the vicinity of Camp Bullis.

“Further, Old Camp Bullis Road is an Army owned roadway and protection of this road as an Army use only roadway is becoming an increasingly important asset to retain controlled access to Camp Bullis and training areas,” Reidinger said.

< Prev   Next >



    Try Netflix for Free!
  Click here to download shopping coupons for free!