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Help Protect Warbler Woods from Harmful Rezoning

Black-capped Vireo, one of the Texas specialties that can be found at Warbler Woods.

Black-capped Vireo, one of the Texas specialties that can be found at Warbler Woods.

Warbler Woods, a 124 acre ranch in Cibolo, Texas, is one of the best sites in Central Texas for migrating warblers. Though it’s privately owned by Margie Bonnes and Susan & Don Schaezler, the site has been maintained as a publicly accessible wildlife refuge for years. In 2011 they were the recipients of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Lone Star Land Steward award for their work maintaining the property, a jewel in the middle of the increasingly developed Guadalupe County.

Birders from all over the ABA Area have visited to take advantage of its location at the intersection of the South Texas Plains and the Edwards Plateau to see some of the nearly 300 species of birds that have been recorded on the property, including the 40 species of warblers that give the site its name.

Unfortunately, the site finds itself on the wrong end of a plan by the local Zoning Commission to rezone the surrounding area to increase density from 2 units per acre to up to 12. The newly rezoned property is no more than 850 feet from the Warbler Woods property.

Increasing density so near to the property has the potential to have significant and detrimental impacts on the quality of the habitat at Warbler Woods, with concerns including increased traffic, air and water pollution, and runoff, among others.

The Schaezlers have asked that ABA members help them in convincing the local Planning and Zoning Commission that this is not in the best interests of the community. Comments need to be received by Tuesday, November 12, in order to be considered. They can be addressed via email to [email protected].

Ms Schaezler has helpfully included a sample letter that can be used in full, or edited to meet your specific needs. It is as follows:

To whom it concerns,This concerns a rezoning action by the City of Cibolo, Texas, described as follows:

92.32 acres asking for rezoning from SF-1 to SF-3, which is part of a 98.406 acre tract that extends from FM 1103 to Dean Road.

This rezoning will change the nature of development of the land from two residential units per acre (rural residential) to 5.5-12 units per acre.

Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary is a privately owned and managed nature preserve that is shared with the public upon request. It represents an asset to the surrounding communities of nearly immeasurable values, economic, environmental, and intangible.

We believe the proposed rezoning will be overly destructive to the habitat and environmental amenities of the area. We also believe the rezoning will be specifically destructive to resident and migratory bird populations that use Warbler Woods.  Warbler Woods hosts dozens of endangered, threatened, and rare species and birds of Conservation Concern. Among the dozens of species are Painted Bunting, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Cassin’s Sparrow, and Texas Indigo Snake. The proposed development, if rezoned, would represent excess population, traffic, runoff, air pollution, noise, light pollution, and elevation challenges.  This new rezoning would be ~850′ from Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary property line.

Please vote NO to the proposed rezoning.

Once again, please send your comments to [email protected] by Tuesday, November 12. With your help, perhaps we can help maintain the site as an oasis for birds and wildlife in central Texas.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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