San Antonio officials paid scant attention to towering retaining walls

San Antonio officials paid scant attention to towering retaining walls

Encino Ridge retaining walls in San Antonio

Jen and I wrote a story that ran in Sunday’s paper and was posted online today about the lack of oversight of retaining walls in San Antonio. We looked at this issue after a retaining wall in The Hills of Rivermist, a neighborhood built by Centex Homes, split apart and jeopardized dozens of houses:

Despite the growing popularity of towering retaining walls like the one that buckled last week, San Antonio officials have paid scant attention to the structures in residential subdivisions and can’t vouch for their safety.

No one at City Hall tracked how many walls were built over the years as thousands of residents flocked to the Texas Hill Country and developers reshaped steep terrain for new homes.

City inspectors never checked the walls.

And, according to members of the real estate industry, it wasn’t widely known that a permitting process existed for tall retaining walls.

“No one can find where the city has ever asked for or insisted on a permit,” subdivision developer Norman Dugas said. “I can’t find anyone who has ever gotten one.”