San Antonio: Zoning Granted on 19-Unit Townhome Project, Denied on 64-Unit Project
Feature Illustration (above): Elevations of each side of the units proposed for Flamingo Bungalows, a 19-unit townhome development. Courtesy: Flamingo Townhomes LLC.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Front façade elevation of a unit in the Flamingo Bungalows townhome development.
San Antonio (Bexar County) — The Zoning Commission approved a zoning request for a proposed 19-unit market rate townhome project, but rejected zoning for a 64-unit apartment project that would have included affordable housing.
Flamingo Townhomes LLC, a project presented by developer Peter Greenblum, originally involved a request to change the zoning from MF-33, which permits up to 33 units per acre, to Infill Development Zone with a maximum density of 18 units per acre.
The project site, 1841 Flamingo Drive, is a block east of Broadway and north of Alamo Heights.
The case was postponed from a June session of the Zoning Commission to allow Greenblum more time to discuss the project with neighbors. It was heard yesterday, July 7.
Under the previous zoning, Greenblum could have constructed as many as 42 apartment units on the 1.27-acre tract. After discussing the project with neighbors and hearing concerns about on-street parking, he agreed to reduce the development by one unit and replace that unit with a visitors parking lot.
All of the units will be three bedrooms and each unit will have a two-car garage. Once constructed, the units will be for sale.
The site plan is to include solid fencing around the perimeter and a gate to the north to provide residents access to the alley.
The development team of Atlantic Pacific Communities of Miami and OCI Group of San Antonio was hit with an onslaught of opposition to their proposed 64-unit, four-story affordable housing apartment project.
This is VBX Project ID 2020-50AD.
Heeding the demands of neighbors, the Zoning Commission rejected their request to change the General Commercial zoning on a 2-acre tract to Multifamily with 33-unit/acre density. This was after the Planning Commission had already agreed to amend the land use from commercial to multifamily.
Located at 528 Everest Street, less than a block north of a busy arterial street, West Sunset Road, the lot is currently occupied by a landscaping operation that daily moves about 40 trucks in and out. The lot is surrounded by retail/office businesses to the south and by apartment communities to the east and west.
The Vista at Everest development was proposed to have 32 one-bedroom units and 32 two-bedroom units, 106 parking spaces, and more than 2,400 square feet of common area space. One bedroom units would average 727 gross SF; two bedroom units average 944 gross SF, and the entire building has a gross area of 53,472 square feet.
Amenities were to include a playground, business center and fitness center. The site plan describes a circular traffic plan within the complex, with secured entrance and exit onto Everest Street via two curb cuts; and landscaping that was compliant with city development guidelines, which includes 25% tree shade.
Vista at Everest concept site plan.
The developers have an active application with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for a 9% low income housing tax credit award, a necessary component of the financing to make the project affordable as workforce housing.
The projected cost of construction is about $8.3 million, with hard costs closer to $6.8 million, according to TDHCA records.
The denial would likely remove Vista at Everest from the 2020 round of TDHCA tax credit awards, unless City Council overrides their decision by a super majority vote.
Many issues were raised concerning the project, but the main sticking point for the commission was the unsuitable condition of Everest Street, which is a narrow neighborhood street with limited sidewalk access for pedestrians and is prone to on-street parallel parking. The majority was also of the opinion that the area was already saturated with high-density housing.
The developers have to option to substantially reduce the size of their project, if they want the commission to reconsider their case. The terms of the real estate assignment give Atlantic Pacific until the end of the year to close on the property.
This project does have support. The developers held three public meetings in January-February and had the blessing of the city’s Planning and Community Development Committee, Development Services staff, and preliminary letters of support from City Council, and State Rep. Diego Bernal.
Atlantic Pacific’s development team includes Vickrey & Associates Inc. on civil, and the design firm of GNB Urban Planning Architecture.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.