Newsletter January 2008

Newsletter January 2008

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Ted Trakas

A lot of different things are going on so I will not even attempt to make this one flow.

Annual Meeting. Please show your support and get involved . . . Attend our annual VJ neighborhood association meeting at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, January 22th, 2007, Colonies House, 3511 Colony Drive, which is on the north side of Colony Drive between Tioga and Vance Jackson. Councilwoman Diane Cibrian will be our guest speaker.

Boobie Rock. Citizen opposition to this bar is unmistakable; we received 90 signatures at the D8 picnic on Nov 3, and 212 signatures from our November newsletter. As of this writing, the case goes to court on January 7th for a decision on deed restrictions. The court case revolves around the legal issue of whether Boobie Rock qualifies as a business of ‘prurient nature’. I do not believe we will be asked to present our petitions at trial. God-forbid, if the bar survives the January court case, we definitely will use our petitions when the case goes before an administrative judge on the issue of granting a liquor license.

Digital Billboards. Again, citizen opposition to Digital Billboards is unmistakable; we received 90 signatures at the D8 picnic on Nov 3, and 211 signatures from our November newsletter. VJ issued an official statement opposed to the draft sign ordinance on November 1. (See reprint.) I and many others spoke at the City Council meeting on December 6 in opposition. (See reprint.) Unfortunately, neighborhood representative and common citizens lost. (I have written a rather long, brutally frank, post mortem analysis as to why citizens lost and Clear Channel won, which I would love to share with
you, but cooler heads have prevailed in arguing against wide distribution.)
Councilwoman Cibrian voted on the wrong side of this issue, but promised on the record to make constituent inputs a deciding factor when the 1-year pilot program comes up for review. June Kachtik has contributed a positive, forward-looking article from Scenic San Antonio, which addresses how citizens can have a more active voice on the issue.

Kudos to D8. Councilwoman Diane Cibrian held a highly successful District 8 picnic on November 3rd that enjoyed great weather and a good turn-out. And in display of strong and positive leadership, Cibrian got the abandoned house on 3019 Clearfield condemned.

4118 Honeycomb Drive. Attorney Chris Pettit is back again to see if he can get zoning to allow him to use the white house next to his law office for commercial purposes. (He wants to use this property – or is currently using it? – as part of his law practice.) I and members of the Sunburst Condos met on December 7th with Councilwoman Cibrian to discuss what would be acceptable to the neighborhood. No hard promises were made at this meeting beyond personal commitments to try to work something out that would benefit all parties. More later.

11043 Vance Jackson. You may have notice that large sign on this property identifying it for office use. Also the realtor D. B. Harrell Commercial is advertising the property on its web site as “Land, Northwest Side; 174,240 Total Area (SF); Approx. 4 acres for office use on Vance Jackson approx. 1.5 miles NW of Wurzbach Rd.; topography: slightly sloped; Numerous heritage oaks; Convenient IH-10 access; Info on 3 homes & well on site avail upon request; Zoned R-6”. Given the current R-6 zoning of the property, these representations for office development are optimistic. (Yes, it is possible
that the association and affected neighbors would agree to such a re-zoning but such agreement is totally dependent on the right development plans and legal protections.)

3235 Rock Creek Run. Based on our last newsletter, one of our readers offered to help with legal representation. Furthermore, VJ Neighborhood, Inc. offered to help financially (up to $500) if it comes to this. No word from the neighbors yet on how they want to proceed.

Kudos to VJ. LBJ once said that if you don’t blow your own horn someone will come and take it. I propose our association can celebrate at least 2 things. First, VJ was honored for the best home owners association newsletter in the city by the Neighborhood Resource Center. Secondly and more importantly, VJ had the greatest response of any neighborhood group on 2 major issues in 2007.

‘Thank You’ to VC & NN. Special thanks to our editor Victor Comacho and our
publisher Neighborhood News for all the good, award-winning work in 2007 and particularly for the quick processing of our last-minute request to add the petition insert in the November newsletter.

Allow me to close with a New Years’ Resolution. In 2008, we promise that our
association will continue to aggressively represent your interests, regarding Boobie Rock, Digital Billboards, and any other issues that arise.

2007 Officers:
President – Ted Trakas (The Summit)
Vice President – Ann Ryan (River Oaks)
Secretary – Norma Baird (Charter Oaks Condos)
Treasurer – Laura Saher (Woodland Manor)
Newsletter Editor and Database Manager – Victor Camacho (Colonies North)

 

Digital Billboard Update
The Bad News: Neighborhoods Lost Round One
The Could-Be-Good News: There will be a Round Two

San Antonio is one of the unique cities in the United States. Aren’t we fortunate to live here, work here, and be a part of its fabric? While we embrace change, we want to conserve those elements that contribute to the special qualities of our City – the San Antonio River Walk, the City’s historic character, and its unspoiled scenic vistas. They appeal to you personally, and they also appeal to businesses looking for a home. “Quality of Life” is definitely a factor valued by the business community when determining location.

Yet, on December 6, 2007, your City Council representative voted with 8 others to pass an ordinance to allow billboard companies to place 15 digital signs anywhere in San Antonio during 2008. These signs will replace existing sign faces. So, that means you have now lost the protection of each scenic corridor that through an intensive public process had banned any new billboards.

In District 8 the scenic corridors include:

  • IH 10W from Wurzbach northward
  • FM 1604
  • The Wurzbach Parkway

In other areas of the City, scenic corridors were established along:

  • US 281 between the airport and downtown
  • Hwy 151 on the west
  • The remainder of FM 1604
  • All of City South
  • Corridors in some inner-city neighborhoods

Each billboard of any kind reinforces the perception that ugliness is the price of progress – that our quality of life depends on destroying the very resources we most value. This is a false choice and bad public policy. It is your elected official’s job to uphold good public policy. In this instance Councilwoman Diane Cibrian did not do so.

The Mayor has said that this issue will come up again by the end of 2008, but it may occur as soon as the next six months. So, now you have a job to do – convince our councilwoman to vote for good public policy.

In October 2007, a City-wide Task Force was formed to maintain San Antonio’s scenic environment by limiting billboards. This Task Force will continue. One of the members, Scenic San Antonio, will be asked to do more. Scenic San Antonio will have a re-organizational meeting:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
The River House, 509 King William, behind the Steve’s Homestead
(from King William, turn on to Johnson toward the river & in to the driveway)

I have agreed to co-chair Scenic San Antonio, and I need your help. Please attend this meeting. And, please email: scenic@scenictexas.org to join Scenic San Antonio. Scenic San Antonio promises you information on this complex situation and the opportunity to get involved during 2008 to set good public policy.

June Kachtik
junekac@aol.com