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 in June 2022 after gaining the endorsement of the Zoning Commission the prior month. Over two dozen CHP residents registered comments and attended the hearing. In the year leading up to the commission vote, CHPNA negotiated 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 be completed by Summer 2024.
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 at any time 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 leaders some leverage for concessions.
CHPNA lobbied two presiding councilmen for months. At the time, the site resided in District 9 which is the jurisdiction Councilman John Courage, but was scheduled to shift to District 1 overseen by Councilman Mario Bravo after citywide redistricting modifications took effect in June 2023. The majority of CHP already sat in District 1 and CHPNA lobbied aggressively during the City's 2022 redistricting process to consolidate CHP residents and the impending apartment dwellers who will likely advocate for mutually beneficial city improvements in years to come.
A myriad of protections will lessen the impact on CHP.
When the apartment complex was raised for consideration, CHPNA surveys and meetings with 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 changes in 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 complained of difficulty entering and leaving CHP. As part of the negotiation, CHPNA secured funding for re-striping to create a center turn lane in the existing roadway providing safe harbor for turning vehicles.
CHPNA also lobbied for a stop light to accompany the complex's primary entrance on Jones-Maltsberger and city funding for this safety feature appears likely. City engineers initially proposed the primary entrance would align with Trafalgar, but the decision to align with Colwyn Pass was made when staff realized the regulatory distance to the nearby stop light at Ramsey would not be achieved and poor motorist visibility due to the curve of the road at Trafalgar would create a safety hazard. As a result, CHPNA is now lobbying the City to address narrow Colwyn Pass and meetings gathering feedback from nearby neighbors will be conducted in Summer 2023.
The complex will feature a secondary right-turn-only exit opposite the Natatorium approximately 80 yards north of Trafalgar. CHPNA secured agreement from the developer to help lobby the City for future improvements at the nearby Ramsey intersection near 281 which becomes dangerously congested during rush hour. Funding for improvements to that intersection may be secured in the 2027 Bond Measure.
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 bridge costing upwards of $1 million. 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, CHPNA negotiated new landscaping be added to the three large median islands on the community's east side which the organization 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 lawncare expenses. Additionally, the complex's dog park will also not be allowed to abut the roadway which will further mitigate noise to nearby CHP residents.
When these safeguards were presented at the CHPNA Annual Meeting in June 2022, 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.
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.