The mission of the Fair Oaks Ranch Homeowners' Association (FORHA) is to be good stewards of the homeowners' common properties and funds; to preserve the homeowners' investments by promoting deed restriction compliance; and to provide appropriate forums for communication.
Fair Oaks Ranch City & Homeowners Association (FORHA) Background
As its name implies, the City started as a ranch. The ranch – stretching across the frontiers of Bexar, Kendall, and Comal counties – was acquired in the 1930s by Ralph Fair Sr. After a fire in the 1950s, the family remodeled the house into the 13,000-square-foot home that is known today as the Fair Oaks Ranch Golf and Country Club and remains a focal point of activity in the community.
Fair was a successful oilman and rancher from California. He moved to Dallas, married Dorothy Dunlap Exline, and they began putting together tracts of land into the ranch that became their home and where they raised their family. Fair’s passions were horse raising, and cattle ranching and breeding, according to the Texas State Historical Society. In the 1940s, Fair is known for developing his own Hereford strain (red and white cows without horns) and for his pioneering work in a bovine artificial insemination program. In fact, The Ranch still pays tribute to one of Fair’s favorite Hereford’s named Battle Intense. The bull’s namesake is the Men's Golf Association's largest invitational of the year – and is the name of a City street.
After the parents died, the family decided to take the 5,000-acres that made up Fair Oaks Ranch and make it into a residential community. They started selling off small acres of land and started a homeowner’s association in 1975 with Boots Gaubatz as the president. The Fair Oaks Ranch Homeowner’s Association (FORHA) was incorporated in 1975 and became the most important organization serving the needs of the community. In 1985 Boots Gaubatz, organized the FORHA Board on a functional basis.
In 1977, the tennis club was constructed and a year later Fair’s son, Ralph Fair Jr., built his own house, moved out of the family ranch house and opened up the club. In 1987, Fair Jr. sold the club to Robert Dedman, then the owner of ClubCorp of America.
Expansion continued and by the 1980s FORHA undertook the task of determining the feasibility of forming a city. Two cities, Fair Oaks North and Fair Oaks South, were formed due to state restrictions on population density. Don King became the mayor of Fair Oaks North while FORHA president Gaubatz became the mayor of Fair Oaks South. One major hurdle to becoming one city was the fact that the Ranch was located within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of San Antonio and as such could not incorporate without the consent of the City of San Antonio. An agreement was reached whereby the new City of Fair Oaks would be allowed to incorporate if it gave up all extraterritorial jurisdiction claims outside the boundaries of the Ranch proper to the City of San Antonio. The agreement was accepted and the cities of Fair Oaks North and Fair Oaks South were incorporated. On January 21, 1988, after an election was held, the two cities were combined with the council from the South becoming the City Council for the single City of Fair Oaks. Subsequently, the name was changed to the City of Fair Oaks Ranch. King, Gaubatz and an HOA board member, Bob Herring, worked together to combine the two communities into one and are considered the city’s founders.
The City is approximately 22 miles northwest of San Antonio and 7 miles southeast of Boerne. It is considered part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area. The original 5,000-acre city grew to include an additional 3,200 acres of extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), ceded from San Antonio, as well as land absorbed from Boerne. Most of the City’s ETJ was annexed by Fair Oaks Ranch in late 2017.
The City has its own police force. EMS and fire protection are provided by the nearby Leon Springs Volunteer Fire Department/Bexar County ESD #4. Much of Fair Oaks Ranch is part of the Boerne Independent School District, which built Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary school in 1995. A smaller part of the City is in the Comal Independent School District.
The City today is primarily single-family residential, with a few commercial uses scattered through the City, mostly near I-10 or at intersections for a few major streets, such as Dietz Elkhorn at Fair Oaks Parkway and Dietz Elkhorn at Ralph Fair Road.
Fair Oaks Ranch was originally conceived by a single-ownership family working with a small group of builders and planners, ensuring a relatively common standard of development in the City’s early years. The City has never implemented a zoning ordinance, though one was drafted in the 2000s and never adopted. Restrictions committees within homeowner associations are active throughout most of the existing City today and have been the main source of land use regulation.