Opinion: Tier One Neighborhood Coalition calls for community action on Infill Development Zoning

Tier One Neighborhood Coalition meeting

By Tony Garcia with Cynthia Spielman

Infill Development Zone (IDZ) codes were developed to help developers create projects in older neighborhoods by offering certain variances regarding parking requirements, massing, setbacks, etc. to provide an incentive to those wishing to develop in downtown areas. Often IDZ presented challenges to neighborhoods as they, in one City staffers words, allowed “developers to write their own codes.” 

After Councilman Trevino (D1) and then-Councilman Medina (D7) filed a Council Consideration Request (CCR) to address concerns, the IDZ Taskforce (that included neighborhood representatives) was formed to create changes to the ordinance that made IDZs more structured and limiting.

The T1NC Steering Committee supports the proposed ordinances for Infill Development Zoning (IDZ), Single-Family Residential Zoning (R-1 and R-2) as well as Mixed Use Development (MXD) that have been developed and vetted by the IDZ Taskforce.

We believe the proposed IDZ ordinance, which separates IDZ into three categories based on intensity of use, size of lots, and corresponding levels of site requirements, addresses neighborhood concerns that prompted Councilman Trevino’s and Medina’s CCR in April of 2017.

By providing structure and transparency, this ordinance is a first step in addressing neighborhood concerns and provides an increased level of transparency for neighborhoods and developers alike.

The Tier One Neighborhood Coalition’s Steering Committee also supports the proposed Single-Family Residential Zoning Category (R-1 and R-2). This type of zoning would address improperly zoned smaller residential lots found in San Antonio’s older neighborhoods. The ordinance would allow an accurate development of residential homes on these smaller lots. 

This new Residential zoning, which relies on setbacks and height standards, will be augmented by current City codes. This addresses the need for expanding the affordable housing market in our inner-city neighborhoods while respecting the neighborhood’s character.

It is very important that Zoning Category (R-1 and R-2) pass City Council in order that it to be added to Urban Low Density Residential land use category which would allow this future land use to be applied in most of our neighborhoods. This would help address concerns we have about the land use categories now.

Furthermore, the T1NC Steering Committee supports the proposed MXD ordinance because it offers flexibility in developing neighborhood corridors making for a more walkable and sustainable mixed-use environment. A site plan requirement with lot specifications and building stipulations offers a level of protection for abutting single-family districts while strengthening corridors.

The T1NC Steering Committee views these proposed ordinances as a first in a series of compromise steps ensuring our legacy neighborhoods participation in San Antonio’s future. 

We request your support. Contact your Council member and the Mayor to voice your neighborhood’s support of the IDZ proposed changes by coming or sending a representative to the City Council A Session meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. at San Antonio Council Chambers.