Companies affiliated with Altman Nursery allege that a 385-acre plant nursery, which operates as Lone Star Growers on the far Southwest Side, has experienced “flooding and runoff issues” from neighboring residential developments. The companies have sued two major homebuilders and San Antonio-based Pape-Dawson Consulting Engineers LLC over the issue. Homes are seen behind the nursery on Monday.
A person waters plants on April 4 at the Lone Star Growers commercial nursery off Cagnon Road on the far Southwest Side. The nursery has experienced “flooding and runoff issues” caused neighboring residential developments, a lawsuit alleges.
Homes are seen Monday behind Lone Star Growers nursery, a division of Altman Plant. Altman companies allege in a lawsuit filed this month that “increased flooding” from neighboring residential developments “is cause for serious concern and has material damaged” the plaintiffs’ property.
A person waters plants April 4 at the Lone Star Growers nursery off Cagnon Road on the far Southwest Side. Companies connected to the nursery have filed a more than $1 million lawsuit over flooding from neighboring residential developments.
Homes are seen Monday behind Lone Star Growers nursery, a division of Altman Plants, on the far Southwest Side. Companies affiliated with Altman allege in a lawsuit that two major  homebuilders “wrongfully changed the flow of surface water” in their residential developments adjacent to the nursery, causing flooding.
Homes are seen Monday behind Lone Star Growers nursery, a division of Altman Plants, on the far Southwest Side. Companies affiliated with the nursery allege in a lawsuit that it has suffered irreparable injury as a result of flooding from nearby residential developments.
The Lone Star Growers nursery, a division of Altman Plants, is seen Monday on the far Southwest Side.
Plants are seen April 4 at the Lone Star Growers nursery off Cagnon Road on the far Southwest Side.
A large plant nursery on the far Southwest Side of San Antonio has a problem with its new neighbors.
Companies affiliated with Altman Nursery, which has a 385-acre operation on the east side of Cagnon Road south of FM 143, allege that the property has been adversely affected by “flooding and runoff issues” from adjacent single-family developments primarily built by two giant homebuilders and designed by a San Antonio engineering firm.
This month, California-based Altman Specialty Plants LLC and Big State Nursery LLC sued D.R. Horton Inc., Pulte Homes of Texas LP and Pape-Dawson Consulting Engineers Inc. seeking more than $1 million in damages. The Altman companies accuse the defendants of “wrongfully” changing the flow of surface water onto the nursery property, leading to the flooding and drainage issues.
Article continues below this ad
TREE TUMULT: Bulverde sues 2 San Antonio companies for removing at least 114 trees without a permit
Altman also wants the defendants to conduct remediation and reconstruction to prevent flooding in the future.
“Altman Nursery has experienced a large flow of water runoff from recently developed adjoining properties that has damaged its property, operations, and personnel,” it said in an emailed statement sent by San Antonio lawyer Frank Burney. “The nursery on Cagnon Road has been established since the 1970s and has not experienced this level of flooding prior to the new housing developments.”
The nursery has greenhouses, offices, distribution facilities and supporting infrastructure on the property.
Representatives for D.R. Horton, Pulte and Pape-Dawson didn’t respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in state District Court in San Antonio.
Article continues below this ad
The suit also names as defendants the Applewood Residential Community Inc. and Westlakes Property Owners Association Inc., though the latter appears to have been included in error, said its registered agent, San Antonio lawyer Ty Hunter Sheehan.
Westlakes is the property owners’ association for a residential subdivision known as Crosslakes at Westlakes, which was built by Rausch Coleman Homes and is about 5 miles from the nursery, Sheehan said in an email.
The subdivision directly east of the nursery and south of FM 143 is known as Cinco Lakes, where Pulte has built homes. Westlakes appears under the legal description, however. Applewood, where D.R. Horton has a development, is directly north of FM 143. Both subdivisions have been under construction since 2018.
Big State Nursery owns the nursery property, Bexar County property records show. The nursery operates as Lone Star Growers, a wholesaler and an affiliate of Altman that grows indoor and outdoor plants sold at the Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart.
Article continues below this ad
Altman had the San Antonio office of engineering firm Westwood Professional Services perform a flooding study and recommend flooding mitigation solutions for the nursery.
ALSO READ: San Antonio-based Pape-Dawson Engineers agrees to settle class-action lawsuit over 2022 data breach
J.W. Balch, an engineer and certified floodplain manager, conducted the study and issued a certificate of merit, which is an affidavit by an independent third-party licensed engineer certifying that the claims in a lawsuit are factually supportable.
Pape-Dawson, as the design engineers for the two residential developments, “demonstrated negligence and incompetence” in not providing “appropriate mitigation measures to ensure no adverse impact” to the nursery property, Balch said in the certificate of merit.
Specifically, he said Pape-Dawson’s “failures” have resulted in “substantial increases in the severity of flooding issues, increased risks to onsite workers and loss of productivity due to longer site closures as a result of increased volume of surface runoff and increased peak discharge and velocities, increased risk of loss of products, and increased erosion and damage to the Altman Nursery facility.”
Article continues below this ad
According to the lawsuit, the added impervious cover and drainage modifications from the two residential developments were supposed to have been offset with stormwater detention. But the detention facilities are inadequate and were negligently designed, the suit alleges.
The plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction requiring the defendants to redesign or repair the water detention facilities on the properties.
Patrick Danner is a business reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. Email Patrick at