The City of San Antonio’s planning department is reviewing initial survey results on residents’ opinions on future development around Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The survey feedback follows a Jan. 30 meeting where the City of San Antonio’s Planning Department hosted the first All Residents meeting for the Texas A&M San Antonio Regional Center. Resident input from the surveys will assist the City’s Planning Department to draft the vision and goals for the Texas A&M San Antonio Area Regional Center Plan.
According to the “All Residents meeting survey response summary,” residents expect to have easy access to more grocery stores, entertainment, shopping areas, and more healthy food options in the future. The community requests more sidewalks and driving lanes to allow an easy way of transportation, including better access to VIA transit.
The city’s future building plans include shopping centers, housing options, transportation and more, according to Mary Walker, facilities coordinator at A&M-San Antonio.
The City’s Planning Department says it has launched an effort to begin implementing the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan to ensure that it remains responsive to the needs of the community. SA Tomorrow is a comprehensive development plan that guides future growth and development. Land use, economic development, housing, environmental protection, cultural and historic preservation, transportation, are some of the topics that SA Tomorrow addresses.
During the meeting, “area residents were invited via post card mail-out notices, flyers, emails and social media to the event,” according to the city’s planning department.
The communication invitations included a QR code and link to the “Vision & Goals Questionnaire” online survey. The survey window began Jan. 6 and will close on Feb 26. A second on-site opportunity to complete the online survey was also provided during the event via iPads provided by the city’s team.
“The meeting today was focused on the residents of the Texas A&M-San Antonio area. What we are trying to do is make a conscious effort to engage as many residents as possible throughout the planning process and really get their input,” Carlos Guerra II, senior planner with the city of San Antonio, said as he gave a quick overview on what the meeting was about.
During the meeting, largely attended by area residents, some expressed they liked the rural character, quiet and livestock area. Others mentioned they would like a solid, stable, internet connection, retail uses and restaurants. Residents also expressed they would like to see less junk yards, auto auctions, illegal dumping and trash.
The Sub-Area planning is currently on Phase 2. This phase consists of developing plan elements; focus areas and key corridors; transformative projects; and the community meeting number 2. Upcoming phases are, Recommendations & implementations and documentation & adoption. The Sub-Area planning is expected to finish by mid-2020.
A powerpoint presentation by Guerra II, explains the Sub-Area planning project phases.
“In the future we would definitely like to present more to the community based on what we hear from tonight,” Guerra, II said. “Based on the kind of comments and feedback we get through our online surveys and also what we’ve heard today at the meeting as well.”
The presentation went over SA tomorrow, the comprehensive plan, Sub Area Plan, topics the plan will cover and how to get involved. Because of the city’s population growth since 2010, the city of San Antonio has started to plan for its future. San Antonio’s planning approach includes community plans, urban centers, regional center plans and corridor plans.
The existing conditions, vision, and goals have been discussed for the Texas A&M San Antonio regional area and now the framework plan is what they are to discuss. The framework plan consists of land use, transportation and mobility, parks, public space, recreation, infrastructure, amenities, focus areas and transportation projects. After the presentation the floor was open for questions and comments from attendees.
At the beginning of the meeting, attendees were able to get information from displays on SA tomorrow and the sub area plans. At the door there was a table with sign in sheets which requested name and email addresses for attendees. The table had handouts where attendees could write down comments and turn them in before leaving. While waiting for the presentation, attendees were able to give their feedback by posting their opinions and requests on boards that had written questions like, “what is missing from this area?”
Silvia Ramon shared information about property she has owned on South Zarzamora since 1999. She inherited the property from her father in the 60s. Ramon said she pays commercial taxes but gains nothing from it.
“The [City] loans increment money, tax incentives to developers to build the Quarry, to build Pearl Brewery, to build downtown and what happened to the south side? There’s hundreds of acres to build affordable housing and they talk about, we need affordable housing. Well there’s thousands of acres out here,” Ramon said. “Why doesn’t the city buy these acres on the south side and have affordable housing? But they don’t. They give these developers tax incentives so that they can build downtown.”
Rudy Nino, assistant director of the city of San Antonio’s planning department, mentioned how this plan can affect A&M-San Antonio’s students.
“From the students perspective, as we continue developing infrastructure, as we continue to see growth and development occur, that’s good for the university and good for the city,” Nino said. “It provides nearby opportunities for internships and for housing options and choices, so really trying to provide opportunities for folks.”
Nino added he hopes residents will reach out to the City and participate in the process as much as they can.
Those interested in helping with the planning and providing feedback can visit SAtomorrow.com or sacompplan.com to submit your email and receive newsletters and updates. You can also answer the survey that can help them with feedback, the survey is available until February 26.