CHPNA secures protections before developer gets city approval for apartment complex.
A proposal to re-zone a 15-acre vacant lot along Jones-Maltsberger to allow a 351-unit apartment complex was approved by the City Council on June 16 after gaining the endorsement of the Zoning Commission on May 17 in which over two dozen CHP residents registered comments. CHPNA secured several important community safeguards from the developer and city officials before the project secured what experts warned was likely approval. The complex is scheduled to break ground later this year.
The vacant 15-acre site along Jones-Maltsberger had long been zoned for commercial development, but its out-of-sight location and proximity to the Robbins School on Trafalgar limited developer interest. Only a few proposals were raised over the decades, however a conforming business venture could have legally proceeded with little community input. But to build its apartment complex, developer Trammel Crow Corp needed the City to approve a re-zoning request which gave CHPNA some valuable leverage for negotiations.
CHPNA lobbied two councilmen for nearly a year. The site currently resides in District 9 which is the jurisdiction Councilman John Courage, but will shift later this year to District 1 overseen by Councilman Mario Bravo. The majority of Crownhill Park already sits in Bravo's district and the consolidation was secured by CHPNA during the city's recent contentious redistricting process. Bravo has been an attentive advocate for CHP since taking office last year.
A myriad of protections will lessen the impact on CHP.
Surveys and meetings with CHP residents revealed several critical concerns. At the top of the list was fear the development may eventually decline into a government subsidized complex, which statistically carries higher rates of crime impacting the surrounding area. CHPNA secured a permanent deed restriction which mandates the complex, regardless of future ownership, may only offer market-rate housing.
Because the complex will add 490 vehicles to area roadways, traffic was also a top community concern. Congestion has been steadily rising on simple two-lane Jones-Maltsberger and residents already complain of difficulty entering and leaving the neighborhood. CHPNA secured funding for re-striping to create a center turn lane in the existing roadway providing safe harbor for turning vehicles. A stop light at the complex's primary entrance, which will likely align with Trafalgar, is also anticipated but cannot be confirmed by City planners at this time. The developer also agreed to partner with CHPNA in lobbying the City for future improvements at the Ramsey intersection near 281 which gets dangerously congested during rush hour.
CHPNA had hoped to convince the developer to install at least one entrance adjoining the 281 access road to the east of the complex, but a meeting with TxDot officials revealed the concept may not be feasible due to space constraints for necessary turn lanes as well as significant obstacles including a wide concrete drainage culvert which would require a costly bridge. CHPNA relented when City officials advised the developer could not be legally forced to install such an entrance.
To buffer the sound impact on CHP residences nearest the complex, new landscaping will be added to the three large median islands on the community's east side which CHPNA currently pays to mow periodically. The developer will install dozens of new shrubs and trees intended to create a green barrier which will also reduce CHPNA mowing expense. Additionally, the complex's dog park will also not be allowed to abut the roadway which will help mitigate noise complaints.
When these safeguards were presented at the CHPNA Annual Meeting in June, a straw poll found the majority of residents shifted their opposition and agreed not to object to the development any longer. Experts warned CHPNA that City officials feeling pressure to increase San Antonio's constrained housing stock, were likely to provide approvals if reasonable concessions to the neighborhood had been offered. Some residents also expressed relief that a commerical development with potentially worse traffic and noise had been averted. Others were pleased to know the homeless encampment that occupied the site for several years would be displaced when construction begins.
Your CHPNA Board is proud to have secured meaningful concessions on a project that was likely to proceed regardless of community opposition. Our volunteers will update this website as future details emerge.