UIW and Mahncke Park Residents At Odds Over Proposed Parking Lot

Oct 4, 2012

A piece of land that sits along Perry Court between North New Braunfels and Broadway has been sitting vacant for about eight years.

It doesn't have the curb appeal that many other homes in the Mahncke Park neighborhood have, with overgrown grass and untrimmed trees in the front of the lot, but according to resident Scott Day, that doesn't mean the property is lost on the neighborhood. He said the he does not want the University of the Incarnate Word, who owns the property, to develop a parking lot for university staff members.

"We just feel that the parking lot is really out of character, and there's no precedence for this type of development in this area," he said.

Day said the rezoning commission has already rejected the idea, but UIW plans an appeal to city council members.

UIW's Lou Fox says the lot would provide staff members a parking space, especially as the university is rapidly growing.

"I don't see any totally negative impact, if it's screened properly," Fox said.

Fox promised there would be round-the-clock security and he doesn't see a problem with the prospect of a parking lot. He said the area has already been introduced to the idea.

"San Antonio Country Club has a parking lot on the corner of New Braunfels and Burr Road, which is just kind of caddy-cornered from where we are so it's really nothing new in the area," said Fox.

But Mark Fassold said the parking lot is a slippery slope to more development projects that would be unwanted by residents.

"Then they would be able to buy neighboring properties and likewise develop that property in an undesirable way, and continue to depreciate the values of the properties surrounding it so as to ultimately buy up the property that it needs to expand," he said.

An unofficial agreement has been circulating on the internet as having been negotiated between the university and the Mahncke Park Neighborhood Association.

In it, both sides have agreed to use restrictions. There is also a stipulation that UIW would donate $5,000 to the neighborhood association to be used for sidewalk, crosswalk, and bike lane improvements.

Day said the majority of the board members on the neighborhood association do not agree to the terms of the document and that he and others plan to protest the city council meeting during an appeal by the university to have the property rezoned.