Mike Kueber's Blog

March 22, 2013

The Lone Star Community District

Filed under: Economics,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:11 am
Tags: , ,

Should San Antonio pay for the relocation of an industrial-use facility – Newell Recycling – that may stymie the growth of southern downtown?  According to Bob Rivard of The Rivard Report, the answer is yes, even though he admits that further growth is also contingent on the appearance of a rich White Knight wanting to develop a second white elephant in the neighborhood – the long abandoned Lone Star Brewery. 

In his article, Rivard acknowledges that the city’s acceptance of financial responsibility for this relocation “might provoke taxpayer protests in some districts,” and that is certainly accurate.  Taxpayers in District 8 will want to know why they should pay to have an industrial-use facility moved from its current location in Districts 1 and 5 to another district in town, possibly even to District 8.  (A deal the city previously brokered to move Newell to District 4 foundered when residents of District 4 objected.)    

The key to this matter seems to be the imposition of new industrial-performance standards (attached below) that would essentially shut-down Newell Recycling.  Based on my cursory review of zoning law, it appears that Newell’s “nonconforming use” of the land would be grandfathered, and any attempt to put Newell out of its recycling business would require full compensation from the city.   

Prior to attending a Council meeting earlier today that approved the creation of The Lone Star Community District, I visited the Lone Star neighborhood and observed its relationship to Newell and the abandoned Lone Star Brewery.  The vast gentrification of the neighborhood was deeply impressive, and, although the dilapidated brewery certainly is in need of a White Knight, I don’t see it standing athwart future development because its location is mostly to the side of the District.  The same thing can be said for Newell Recycling.

Thus, I think the City should impose industrial-use performance standards throughout the district while grandfathering Newell’s current activities to the extent that is required by zoning law.  Doing more through compensation would be too much city-directed urban development.  Instead, let’s let the market do its job.   


Industrial Use Performance Standards

▫ Use of vehicles with two (2) or more rear axles and/ or vehicles that require a Texas commercial drivers license is limited to the hours between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm and fifteen (15) trips per day.

▫ No outdoor storage, outdoor disposal containers, outdoor operations, or outdoor loading docks unless fully screened from view of public rights-of-way and abutting properties.

▫ Between the hours of 6:01 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., noise levels measured at the property line do not exceed sixty-three (63) dBA.

▫ All lighting is aimed, located, designed, shielded, fitted and maintained so as not to project light into a neighboring use or property.

▫ At any time and at any point on the property line, ground vibrations do not exceed the limits of displacement prescribed in UDC Table 209-16.

▫ No dust, ash, particles, or other debris are transmitted or allowed to drift beyond the property line.

▫ No refuse is incinerated.

▫ No liquids are disposed onto the site or into adjacent drainage systems, except for sanitary waste.

▫ No noxious, odorous matter is emitted in a quantity that creates a hazard or public nuisance beyond the property line.


Lone Star objectives

Eliminate existing zoning that allows industrial uses that do not meet the performance criteria in Table LU-1.1.

Encourage the relocation of industrial uses that do not meet the performance criteria in Table LU-1.1 to suitable locations on city-owned property located away from the plan area. Assist relocating industrial business owners with environmental clean-up expenses to prepare the vacated sites for reuse/ redevelopment.

Allow small-scale industrial uses associated with low-volume production by an artisan subject to the performance criteria in Table LU-1.1.


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