Video: Mahncke Park Neighborhood Association June 2017

Neighbors heard about a victory for the Neighborhood Conservation District plan, got a preview of the Midtown Master Plan Process and heard about the Brackenridge Park Community Cat Project at the June 20, 2017 meeting of the Mahncke Park Neighborhood Association.

MNPA Board Secretary Camis Milam said she attended the June 19 meeting of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and testified against three of the five variances sought by the DSW Construction Co., which proposed building 45 two- and three-story town homes near the southeast corner of East Mulberry and Tendick.

The Board of Adjustment did not grant the three variances (scroll down to see the full report from the newsletter).

“Anyone can do it, I would encourage you to do it,” Milam said about her Zoning Board testimony.

Neighbor participation in the process is critical because “we’re in a hotbed of developers,” said MPNA President Joanie Brooks.

Newly-elected District 2 City Councilman Cruz Shaw made brief remarks.

Garrett Phillips, Senior Planner with the San Antonio Department of Planning & Community Development introduced the Midtown Master Plan process which includes Mahncke Park.

Thomas W. Christal, Vice President of the Brackenridge Park Conservancy shared information about the Brackenridge Park Community Cat Project and the service it provides to the community.

From the MNPA newsletter:

After purchasing multiple properties representing 20 lots near the SE corner of E. Mulberry & Tendick and removing 1 of the 3 the single family homes there, developer PSW applied to the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for 5 variances to existing zoning provisions. The requested variances were a 5’ variance from 20’ rear yard setback facing Ft. Sam Houston, a variance to maximum 50’ wide multi-family building maximum width to allow 62’ width, a variance to maximum 80’ wide multi-family building maximum width to allow four 130’ wide buildings, a variance from minimum building spacing requirements to allow buildings as close as 8’, and a variance from the provision requiring parking be located behind front building façades.

The MPNA’s Land Use Committee reviewed the proposed plan and provided the follow ing comments for the MPNA Board’s consideration:
The removal or demolition of 3 structures eligible for historic designation along with the acquisition of the easternmost portion of Brackenridge Ave. from the City were a significant loss to the historic character of the Mahncke Park N’hood, as well as the city as a whole. The project falls well short of offering a buffer zone between the proposed construction and the public right of way. In addition, allowing substantially wider buildings would significantly increase the visual massing of the buildings, making the new buildings read as more of a monolithic mass and less like a grouping of several structures thus putting the project in conflict with the existing context and proportions of the neighborhood.

The parking variance request to place parking in front of the building façade would put emphasis on the presence of cars rather than the architecture of the buildings and would not be pedestrian-friendly.

The MPNA Board voted not to oppose the first variance (provided Ft. Sam Houston was not opposed) and to oppose the last four variances, then notified the City of San Antonio of its position and justification. The City’s Zoning Division staff agreed with MPNA’s position and recommended the Zoning Board of Adjustment approve only the first variance.

On June 19, the Zoning Board of Adjustment voted to grant the first variance (to allow a 15’ rear yard setback facing Ft. Sam Houston) and grant the last variance (to allow parking in front of building facades), but the Board of Adjustment did not grant the other 3 variances.

Alan Neff, City Council District 2’s representative on the Board of Adjustment, voted to grant all 5 of the
requested variances.