COPS/Metro to city: "Public dollars should not be used to displace people"

COPS/Metro leaders oppose developer incentives

About two dozen people gathered for a show of force outside City Hall Wednesday, Dec. 12, imploring the San Antonio City Council to stop “ramming through a policy” on housing development incentives.

Community leaders said they want more time for people to understand specifics about the policy, how it has already impacted neighborhoods and families.

Lourdes Menchaca, a COPS/Metro leader with Our Lady of the Lake Guadalupe Shrine, said the Center City Housing Incentive Policy, CCHIP, has already “caused serious gentrification in nearby neighborhoods.”

“Public dollars should not be used to displace people,” she said. (Click here or scroll down to watch NOWCastSA video of the news conference)

The news conference came as City Council members were being briefed on proposed revisions to the CCHIP policy and a new fee waiver program (formerly ICRIP). City Council was to vote the next day, Dec. 13, on the developer incentives. COPS/Metro and neighborhood leaders are asking for city staff to delay the vote.

Click here or scroll down to watch the Citizens to be Heard comments about the CCHIP and ICRIP policy. The measure is supported by for-profit and nonprofit developers who were instrumental in writing it, and largely opposed by neighborhood leaders. The  public hearings were held to seek input on the measure.

Among critics' grievances are questions about the average median income numbers the city is using to determine , a lack of transparency and a lack of concern for neighborhoods where the most vulnerable people in the city live.

During the news conference, Linda Davila, a COPS/Metro leader, said neighborhood leaders are calling for four immediate action items.

* An impact study of neighborhoods where residents were affected by the first CCHIP, including how increased tax burdens and rising rents have affected residents.
* A more detailed explanation about the proposed Affordable Housing Fund that includes more information about how the find will be used and by my whom.
* Making “affordable” units at 60 percent average median income (about $40,080) instead of 80 percent ($53,440).
* Eliminating building height criterion.

Watch the COPS/Metro news conference here:

Watch Public Comments from the B Session Citizens to be Heard here