Tree-clearing developers told to 'sin no more'
Mayor Phil Hardberger stood on the steps of City Hall, announced he intended to close a loophole in San Antonio's tree preservation ordinance and told wayward developers Friday: “Go and sin no more.”
The mayor was flanked by state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, who has authored legislation to give the city “more muscle” to enforce its land-use ordinances. A small crowd of environmentalists applauded Hardberger and Villarreal.
Friday's news conference was missing mayoral candidate Diane Cibrian, who, like the mayor, had pledged to fix the tree ordinance.
The city's rules are intended to protect San Antonio's diminishing tree canopy from urban sprawl, but a loophole allows developers to bulldoze trees for ranching or farming. Gutierrez had leased his property to a rancher, who bulldozed thousands of trees. Then one of Gutierrez's companies filed plans to develop the property.