While San Patricio County officials seem excited about the new proposed courthouse annex building possibly being constructed in Sinton, some residents took to commissioners court to voice their concern.
The proposed 11-acre, 80,000 square feet courthouse annex building could also feature a new jail and would be located on 25 acres across from the appraisal district – and next door to residents living on St. Anthony Drive and Elizabeth Street.
“Nobody wants an annex/courthouse or jail in their backyard,” Sinton resident Ernest G. Flores told commissioners last Monday. “Also we have an objection to the location because of safety. There’s a lot of kids moving to that area now.”
Flores said he gathered signatures from about 98 percent of the residents in the area who oppose the location of the new building and said that even the ones who didn’t sign had questions about why the county was doing it.
County Judge David Krebs said that he understands the citizens’ concerns because it is near their neighborhood.
“The land is there and the county needs to expand,” Krebs said. “But we’ll build buffer zones, and most of the courthouse annex will be closer to the highway, leaving plenty of area for possibly a park and treeline.”
Another Sinton resident, Emiliano Alaniz Jr., said he had been living there for about 30 years and didn’t know about the county’s plans until recently. When he looked into it, he found out that it would be located in his backyard.
“And from my understanding, that property was initially zoned for residential development,” Alaniz Jr. added. “But my biggest question was the price of the property agreed to is $65,000 – three times as much as the developer purchased that land for.”
He also said that the new annex would be located on one of the prime residential areas in our community.
Krebs stated that the developer had the land zoned for light industrial such as warehouses with a small track located in that area for single family housing.
Alaniz Jr. also said that while he’s all in favor of new development that would help county growth, he would like to see the new annex building located somewhere else. He added that he had spoken to residents all over the county – from Portland to Mathis – and none agree with the location.
“I have yet to receive anyone in favor of this particular location,” he said. “I realize that your courthouse is old, that it needs to be renovated, but I think the county commissioners and the court need to consider other locations before finalizing this particular item.
“Will the county voters be able to vote on this? Because my understanding is this is probably about a $15 million project when it’s all said and done.
“There needs to be a bond election for the voters to vote on.”
“I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out with the residents; I’m almost positive that we can,” Krebs said. “It’s either have a nice building nearby or have light industrial which could be bring noise at all hours of the day and night.
“But I’m sure we’ll reach an agreement. We just all need to sit down and discuss it.”