Possible Zone Change Threatens Privacy, Safety


“When we moved there six years ago, we had the woods, we had the deer; like we were living in the country. Now the apartments are growing up fast and furiously,” stated Vera Kirkpatrick at the City Council Meeting.

Never mind the fact that the area she lives in is less than half a mile behind Sam’s Club, where a zone change would mean new apartments.

The five-acre tract of land is located on Southland and Green Meadow, and is currently zoned as single family residence (RS-1), though Greg Huling, the landowner, wants it to become a multifamily residential zone (RM-2).

On September 16, the planning commission voted 4-2 in favor of Huling’s five acres to be RM-2, even though there can be no restrictions can be placed upon zoning, and there were concerns about privacy and traffic.

The very same concerns were brought forth again at the City Council Meeting Tuesday, by Rocky Templin and Vera Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick is more concerned about Bonham Elementary, “I fear for the safety of the children,” she said in regards to traffic.

Templin, on the other hand, was concerned about the height of the new complex and the privacy of the homeowners on his land.

 “When I purchased my property, this property was zoned in RS-1. I purchased my property based on that zoning,” said Templin, “ RM-2 is the most intense residential zoning there is in San Angelo. There is no height restrictions and no size restrictions…someone could build a 15-story building right there,” expressed Templin.

The size issue is one of privacy. Templin expressed concerns that anything over three stories would make him vulnerable to occupants spying into his and other homeowners’ backyards. Councilwoman Farmer, as with the majority of the councilmembers present, sympathized with Templin.

Huling however, feels there’s no need for anyone to worry about that, “I don’t need to do that,” Huling said in reference to comments about constructing 15-story buildings, “No one wants to carry groceries up more than three stories.”

Bill Wynne of the Planning Commission spoke on behalf of the decision, explaining that they figured the traffic would hardly be noticeable, and should the new complex follow Fire Marshall rulings and parking lot allowances, the buildings would be far enough from Templin’s property to ensure residential privacy.

Lack of an obvious solution to make all parties happy resulted in the decision being tabled until Huling can provide more information. A specific date to reconsider the zone change proposal has not yet been set.

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How does this zone change impact the homeowners property value? I would think many of those home owners purchased their homes with the understanding that other homes would be built on that land. I could understand that on paper it wouldn't have any impact on the property value but if no one wants to buy your home because they don't want to live next door to an apartment complex then you would have no choice but to lower your selling price. The home owners next to this property should be able to vote on this zone change. The land owner knew the zone when he purchased it so any change should be at the mercy of his neighbors. If I wanted to build a tall carport behind my house and one of my neighbors objected I would have to do without. There's really no difference.
SMD6 council rep (Ms Farmer) gave her support to this zoning change at the meeting. Of course, she's a well-known apartment magnate in the area - but has she given any attempt to talk to area residents in SMD6 and discover how we feel about this zoning change? Ms Farmer needs to spend some time in her district and listen to the folks that are living over here off of Southland!!! Small poll yesterday after noon (just 2 streets worth) - - Nobody (not one person) thought that location was a good idea for apartments. Nobody minded that area being residential - homes - but not apartments. C'mon Ms Farmer just once represent the feelings of the folks in your district! (Or at least, ask!) If you live in SMD6 then you need to email and/or call Ms Farmer and let her know how you feel about this zoning change. This is a residential area - homes, not apartments - and right across from the elementary school too - talk about safety concerns - along with the shopping traffic from Sams', Walmart and Sherwood Way - - I just don't see putting apartments at that location as a good thing. Homes - sure - this is a residentail area, build homes - - but NOT high-rise apartments!
As a city grows, it must expand. Do people really think they are exempt from this. Sooner or later growth will touch all out lying areas.
Just thought I'd follow up on my own post. Ms Farmer replied to my email and indicated that she had also reconsidered her support for re-zoning that property for apartments. She indicated that she spoke with the developer and told him that she did not support the re-zoning effort. Thank you Ms Farmer! For "growth" - - no body is against a growing community. However, some orderly planning and safety considerations should always be involved when looking to develop areas such as this one - across the street from an elementary school, directly behind an extremely busy shopping area, and directly across the street from the fire/ambulance station. Not a place for hi-rise apartments.

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