How To Use This Plan

Plan Purpose

This Plan proposes a medium-term vision, recommendations, and strategies for improving and developing the Midtown Area Regional Center over the next ten years. The Plan is an implementation component of the City of San Antonio’s SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. Adopted in 2016, the Comprehensive Plan is the City’s long-range land use and policy plan that is intended to be a blueprint for future growth and development through the year 2040. The Midtown Area Regional Center Plan is an implementation-oriented Sub-Area Plan that will further develop recommendations from the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan to improve quality of life for San Antonio residents, guide growth and development that accommodates projected housing and employment increases, and to fulfill other Comprehensive Plan goals and policies through a community-based planning process.

The Regional Center Plan honors and integrates previously adopted neighborhood and community plans while providing an equitable path for all neighborhoods to participate in planning, to create priorities, and to advocate for implementing their priorities in the future.

Intent of the Plan

The Midtown Area Regional Center Plan will be the essential tool to guide future development and City investment in the plan area based on the vision and goals for the Midtown Area. A diverse assemblage of stakeholders met for a series of ten planning team meetings over 22 months to make recommendations that support both the policy direction of the Comprehensive Plan as well as the community’s aspirations. This work culminated with achievable recommendations and strategies that will be utilized by City Departments, partner agencies, private entities, and community partners to guide policies and investments that implement appropriate and desired development patterns as well as the creation and support of livable, complete neighborhoods.

How to Use This Plan

The vision for the Midtown Area Regional Center can be realized through implementation of the Plan Framework, with recommendations and strategies related to the following topics: Land Use, Focus Areas, Mobility, Amenities and Infrastructure, Housing, and Economic Development. These recommendations and strategies include policy and regulatory matters, partnerships, and investments. Plan recommendations are written to provide actionable specificity while still allowing the flexibility needed to adapt to unforeseen challenges or opportunities.

Coordination with Adopted Plans

The City of San Antonio adopted several plans in recent decades for individual neighborhoods or parts of the Midtown Area Regional Center. Each of these plans is described in the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan. Some specific recommendations from these plans are directly referenced as complementary to achieving the Midtown Area Vision and Goals. Each of the plans was used as a foundational element for creating the Midtown Area Plan. The previously adopted plans include important historical information, policies reflecting the values of participants at the time of their adoption, detailed information and recommendations for specific places and issues such as for a single neighborhood or for Brackenridge Park, and topics not addressed by the Midtown Area Plan in the realms of social services, law enforcement, and organizational strategies for neighborhood associations and other organizations that created the plans. These plans include but are not limited to:

  • Government Hill Neighborhood Plan
  • Westfort Alliance Neighborhood Plan
  • Mahncke Park Neighborhood Plan
  • Tobin Hill Neighborhood Plan
  • Five Points Neighborhood Plan
  • Midtown Neighborhoods Plan
  • Brackenridge Park Master Plan
  • MidTown Brackenridge Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone(TIRZ) Master Plan

The Midtown Area Regional Center Plan was also developed to complement and contribute to the implementation of the following regional and citywide plans:

  • San Antonio’s Housing Policy Framework
  • SA Tomorrow Multimodal Transportation Plan
  • SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan
  • SA Corridors Strategic Framework Plan
  • VIA’s Vision 2040 Plan

In implementing the Midtown Plan, further consideration should be given to the recommendations of emerging and ongoing planning processes, including but not limited to:

  • VIA’s Rapid Transit Corridors planning
  • SA Climate Ready
  • San Antonio’s Housing Policy Framework implementation programs
  • San Antonio Parks System Strategic Plan
  • San Antonio Sidewalk Master Plan
  • Vision Zero San Antonio initiative
  • ConnectSA

Statutory Requirements

Once adopted by City Council, the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan becomes a component of the City’s SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. Previously adopted neighborhood, community, and sector land use plans that are contained within or partially overlap the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan are identified as a foundational part of the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan. However, where a previous plan and the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan have conflicting land use designations within the adopted boundary of the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan, the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan will be the plan of reference. Similarly, where a previous plan and the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan have conflicting policies or priorities within the adopted boundary of the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan, the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan will be City policy.

By virtue of the plan adoption process, all proposed projects must be found to be consistent with the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, and as such, the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan must be consulted when proposing a public investment or a land use project that requires deviation from current entitlements.

Plan Framework Recommendations

Focus Areas

Strategy #1

Major transportation infrastructure projects should be designed to improve mobility for multiple transportation modes and contribute to creating unique and high-quality public places in focus areas and mixed-use corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Priority should be given to funding major infrastructure and amenity projects that support the vision for the Midtown Area focus areas and mixed-use corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Design justice principles should guide design processes for major amenity and infrastructure projects. Design justice rethinks design processes, centers people who are normally marginalized by design, and uses collaborative, creative practices to address the deepest challenges our communities face.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Create zoning districts in the Unified Development Code (UDC) that make pedestrian, transit, and amenity supportive urban mixed-use development the default and predictable path for new development to take in mixed-use corridors and focus areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

The Planning Department should work with relevant City departments and community and private stakeholders to evaluate and update as needed tree planting, green stormwater management, and access management ordinances/guidelines for their impact on new development feasibility in focus areas and mixed-use corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

The Planning Department should manage rezoning processes for selected portions of mixed-use corridors and focus areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Consistent with the Midtown Area future land use plan, zoning code and map changes in the vicinity of VIA’s planned Rapid Transit Corridors station areas should follow guidance provided by the:
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

The Midtown Area’s focus areas and mixed-use corridors are appropriate places for the City to apply new affordable housing incentive and funding tools, such as the Neighborhood Improvements Bond funds, Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP), San Antonio Fee Waiver Program, density bonuses, Low Income Housing Tax Credit support, public housing, land banking, and other recommendations from San Antonio’s Housing Policy Framework.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Existing affordable housing in focus areas and mixed-use corridors should be incentivized to remain affordable.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

City-initiated rezoning in focus areas and mixed-use corridors should be done strategically to not preclude opportunities to incent new affordable housing.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Amend the UDC to remove barriers to implementing the future land use plan in small-lot formats in mixed-use corridors and focus areas; potentially considering changes to parking and other site improvement requirements.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

In rezoning selected areas of mixed-use corridors and focus areas and considering rezoning requests, consider fine-grained development at densities supported by the land use plan a value that should be pursued.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Mobility

Strategy #1

Continue evaluating and implementing proven strategies and best practice improvements, potentially including traffic calming and Complete Streets principles, which improve pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic safety and help achieve San Antonio’s Vision Zero goals. Severe Pedestrian Injury Areas not overlapping 2017 Capital improvement Bond Project locations that should be prioritized include:
  • McCullough Avenue from Cypress to Dewey Place;
  • Cypress from Maverick Street to Main Avenue; and
  • San Pedro Avenue from Laurel to Euclid Avenue.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Actively work with property owners, appropriate City departments, and partner agencies on access management strategies and best practices to reduce and consolidate the number of driveways and curb cuts that can be potential points of conflict between pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. Take advantage of public street improvement projects such as those funded by Capital Improvements Bonds and the Infrastructure Management Program (IMP), as well as Unified Development Code (UDC) amendments, zoning changes, and resulting private development. Beyond the 2017 Capital Improvements Bond Project locations, additional priority areas to implement this strategy include San Pedro Avenue and McCullough Avenue.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Conduct Complete Streets studies on the following roadway segments:
  • San Pedro Avenue
  • Main Avenue
  • McCullough Avenue
  • Cypress
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Incorporate streetscape improvements into complete streets projects and in segments of other prominent streets that serve or will serve a large number of pedestrian users including:
  • San Pedro Avenue from Ashby Place to I-35;
  • Main Avenue from Cypress to Ashby Place;
  • Josephine Street from St. Mary’s Street to Broadway;
  • Hildebrand Avenue from the San Antonio River to Broadway
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Complete the bicycle network by implementing priority projects and adding facilities as streets are repaved or reconstructed. Preferred bicycle route improvements based on input from the Midtown Area Planning Team and public involvement include:
  • St. Mary’s and Mulberry Avenue, connecting Downtown, Tobin Hill Neighborhood, Brackenridge Park, and the Broadway Cultural Corridor;
  • Broadway, Avenue B, and/or Alamo Street connecting Downtown to the University of the Incarnate Word and the City of Alamo Heights;
  • Ashby Place and Josephine or Grayson Streets connecting Government Hill Neighborhood to Fredericksburg Road, the Cincinnati Avenue buffered bike lane, and associated Westside Greenway Trails;
  • Main Avenue or McCullough Avenue connecting Downtown to Ashby Place and the associated McCullough Avenue bicycle lane north of Ashby Place; and
  • Fredericksburg Road, connecting existing bicycle facilities along North Flores Street and Cincinnati Avenue.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Prioritize street and intersection design for transit reliability chokepoints and prioritize multimodal investments to ensure reliable alternatives to vehicular travel. Areas with reoccurring congestion that directly impacts transit service reliability include:
  • Hildebrand Avenue between US Highway 281 and Broadway;
  • Josephine Street from the San Antonio River to Alamo Street; and
  • The intersection of Ashby Place and San Pedro Avenue.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Evaluate the following potential improvements to transit reliability on the priority transit routes indicated on the Mobility Framework Map:
  • Peak hour bus-only lanes and special event priority lanes giving priority to buses in times of heavy traffic;
  • Queue jump traffic signals allowing buses a chance to get ahead of the traffic; and
  • Bus bulbs allowing buses to pick up passengers without exiting/entering traffic.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Implement more first/last mile strategies, such as sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, bicycle facilities, etc. at VIA Metropolitan Transit (VIA) Primo and Rapid Transit Corridor station areas. Promote and enhance access to transit by creating inviting, quality public space at stations where large numbers of people benefit from amenities like shade, seating, and safety lighting, as well as placemaking initiatives. Investments focused in station areas should consider the implementation timing and prioritize areas of both rapid transit and fixed-route services. Based on the most recent analyses, stations associated with VIA Rapid Transit Corridors or Primo routes are anticipated on the following roadways:
  • Fredericksburg Road;
  • San Pedro Avenue;
  • Broadway; and
  • Cypress, Euclid Avenue, and Grayson Street.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

When VIA Rapid Transit Corridor Stations are designated, the Planning Department should complete studies determining the application of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning, and future developments in these station areas will require consistency with the VIA Urban Design Guidelines for Transit Station Areas, including:
  • Density - Increased neighborhood amenities and destinations near stations and stops influence the type of transit services offered in an area. Transit frequency is directly dependent on density – the more people and jobs within an area, the more transit frequency is justified.
  • Design - Buildings designed for the pedestrian; placed and oriented along the front of the street with parking on-street, placed behind or structured, and with direct access to first floor building activities are vital components of transit-supportive design.
  • Mix of Uses - Providing a mix of residential, employment, and retail uses within walking distance of a transit stop or transit station is beneficial to the community and make walking and riding transit more efficient choices for meeting daily needs.
  • Walkability - Pleasantly designed, walkable places are attractive areas where people desire to travel on foot or by mobility device. Active streets that have development that is continuous along many blocks encourages economic activity. Investments to improve the pedestrian realm include streetscape enhancements in public spaces, such as continuous level surfaces, street furniture, lighting, landscaping, and shading devices, where applicable.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Amenities and Infrastructure

Strategy #1

Construct drainage improvements from north of the Witte Museum, where floodwaters would otherwise begin to flow out over Broadway and surrounding areas and route the water through large culverts under Broadway for about 1/2 mile south, before releasing them into the Catalpa Pershing Channel, behind Avenue B, south of Brackenridge.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

  • Completing the drainage improvements simultaneously with future phases of the Broadway reconstruction contemplated in the Broadway Cultural Corridor Concept Design would enable cost sharing and savings on otherwise redundant expenses. The projects should be funded, designed, and built cooperatively
  • Low impact development and green stormwater infrastructure should be used in areas east of Broadway to prevent local flooding and water accumulation. These tools can reduce the need to construct additional local storm drains to handle local flooding. Green infrastructure and low impact development can contribute to achieving several other community goals simultaneously.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Interim improvements to San Pedro Springs Creek at the Five Points intersection should include lighting, seating, and waste bins. As any redevelopment occurs adjacent to the creek north of the Five Points intersection or at Myrtle, public access to the creek should be improved. In the long term, San Pedro Springs Creek should be a high-quality pedestrian gathering and recreation place for many people to enjoy, with continuous public access from the Five Points intersection to San Pedro Springs Culture Park. Connections between the San Pedro Springs Culture Park downtown, and upstream sections of San Pedro Springs Creek and San Pedro Springs Park would be enhanced by following the recommendations of the North Reach Collaborative to enhance Camaron as a biking and pedestrian friendly street from the San Pedro Springs Culture Park north to its intersection with Cypress, Laredo Street and I-10, effectively connecting the portions of San Pedro Springs Creek that are open to public access. This recommendation would include closing the Camaron onramp to I-10, reducing neighborhood cut through traffic on Euclid Avenue, and making Camaron a more multimodal street. If this concept for Camaron were ultimately deemed infeasible, alternative routes could be used to improve connections between upstream and downstream portions of San Pedro Springs Creek, including trail and sidewalk connections following Edwardo Garcia Park west of I-10 or following Flores Street.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Catalpa Pershing Channel should be improved following the recommendations of the Brackenridge Park Master Plan, as an accessible, landscaped water feature that manages stormwater, creates a place with a unique identity, and complements a vibrant pedestrian environment on Avenue B.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

San Antonio River from US Highway 281 to East Mulberry Avenue should include a trail more closely following or touching upon the river, to provide more consistent access for river walk users north of Pearl. Several Brackenridge Golf Course fairways cross the river in this area, making public river access inconsistent with the current golf course layout.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

The San Antonio River from Miraflores Garden Pedestrian Bridge to the Blue Hole and Headwaters at the Incarnate Word Nature Sanctuary and Trail System, should include an intuitive and comfortable pedestrian route across Hildebrand Avenue. Despite being only several hundred feet from the San Antonio River’s headwater springs at the Blue Hole, San Antonio River trails in Brackenridge Park are disconnected from the river’s source. Crossing Hildebrand Avenue and connecting river trail sections on both sides of Hildebrand Avenue to the street crossing would have to be considered in developing alternative routes and methods of signing the path way to trail users.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Amend the Unified Development Code to require a public facing green stormwater management facility as a part of new development in focus areas and mixed-use corridors. Incentivize additional visible green stormwater management practices through bonuses or parking reductions. This recommendation should be implemented to avoid direct costs to affordable housing projects that reflect the focus areas and mixed-use corridors recommendations for small lot development.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

New public investments should include street trees and green stormwater infrastructure. Accommodating street trees and green infrastructure should be a default element of budgeting and designing street reconstruction projects in high growth areas, with flexibility for obstacles that emerge during the design process. Similarly, where landscaping is being installed in public rights of way, it should be functional landscaping that slows, infiltrates, and cleans stormwater from surrounding street areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Within the San Pedro Creek watershed, San Antonio River Authority’s San Pedro Creek watershed assessment should be used to identify opportunities for new public improvements to incorporate stormwater quality facilities that could also serve as amenities complementing the streetscape or public plazas.
For example, a plaza adjacent to Fredericksburg Road or San Pedro Avenue that serves as a public gathering place could incorporate a water feature that slows down and cleans rain runoff before it flows to San Pedro Springs Creek.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Public facing green stormwater management facilities are encouraged to include artistic sculptural pieces or educational exhibits about the function of green infrastructure and the ecological and cultural value of San Antonio’s rivers and creeks.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Implement the 2017 Brackenridge Park Master Plan. All of the plan’s recommendations are important, however as it relates to the larger Midtown Area context, critical big picture recommendations are to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and visual access from multiple park perimeter areas, carefully manage automobile routes and parking, limit any further encroachment of built structures into the park from Broadway, and ensure compatible built environment design at the park’s edges.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Complete 2017 bond improvements to San Pedro Springs Park, and continue implementing the San Pedro Springs Park Master Plan.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

As the Main Avenue Focus Area increases in population, Crockett Park can serve multiple roles as a place to gather and connect, and a place to experience urban nature and green space. This plan doesn’t include specific recommendations to change the park, however its maintenance and care will become increasingly important in the future as more people use the area.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Improve Mahncke Park as a high-quality place featuring the fountain, stream, and trees. The park and recommended trail improvements should connect Brackenridge Park and the Broadway Cultural Corridor with the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The Neighborhood Profile and Priorities section for the Mahncke Park neighborhood includes more information on this project.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Pocket parks and plazas should be developed amidst areas with a diverse mix of uses, transit service, and density to support their use at most times of day. Given anticipated population and employment growth, reprogramming existing park spaces and creating new park spaces may be needed to serve the population. The North Broadway Focus Area, McCullough and Main Avenues between Cypress and I-35, San Pedro Avenue near Cypress or Evergreen Street, and Fredericksburg Road would all be appropriate places to include plazas for gathering and interaction as more people live, work and play in the Midtown Area. Urban plazas in Mexico and other Latin American countries should be considered sources of inspiration for plaza design, and for understanding the complementary built environments, land uses, and densities that support successful and vibrant public plazas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

The City should include street trees when reconstructing sidewalks, curbs, and gutters in mixed-use corridors and focus areas. In San Antonio’s climate, shade is important to making walking a viable transportation option, similar to a sufficiently wide sidewalk or a sidewalk without obstructions built in the middle of it. Shade is also important to making sidewalks serve as places in themselves to enjoy.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Developers should be given credit towards tree maintenance and landscaping requirements for planting and successfully maintaining street trees that are large enough to shade sidewalks.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

In highly urban environments where blank walls face a secondary street, murals or greenscaping with vines or green walls is encouraged.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Decorative street lighting should be installed at selected commercial mixed-use nodes within focus areas and mixed use corridors where the mix of uses, transit service, and density will support active pedestrian uses at night. This condition is currently apparent on Main Avenue and St. Mary’s Street. Portions of Broadway, Josephine Street, San Pedro Avenue, and Fredericksburg Road would also be appropriate places for decorative street lighting as they come to support more people and develop a unifying identity.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Decorative lighting and other pedestrian treatments should be used to encourage pedestrian connections across I-35, I-10, and US Highway 281. However, more than lighting and art are needed to make highway underpasses feel comfortable, safe, and secure. Consistent with the future land use map, dense mixed-development that serves a variety of users at all times of day will support an abundance of pedestrians and ground floor users. An abundance of fellow pedestrians can make underpasses feel more secure, and an enticing street scene on either side of a highway can draw people to cross from one side to the other. The San Antonio River Walk crossing under I-35 and Pearl Parkway crossing under US Highway 281 are two local examples where a combination of landscaping, lighting, art, and fresh paint on concrete columns coupled with high density mixed development generating significant pedestrian traffic have combined to make a highway underpass a more tolerable environment to walk through. Notably, in the case of Pearl Parkway, most landscaping and other improvements were made next to the highway rather than under it.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Public art should be installed amidst transit-oriented development and other locations supporting a dense mix of uses. The San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture conducts comprehensive and strategic planning for public art projects.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

The City should complete the art master plan for the Broadway Cultural Corridor.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Where consistent with City of San Antonio laws and regulations, grassroots art in public spaces is encouraged. This conceivably may take a variety of forms, including decoratively painting utility boxes, performing “intersection repair,” or decoratively painting concrete road construction barriers or retaining walls.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

The Midtown Area land use plan was created to accommodate significant population and employment growth, which in turn should support additional full-service grocery stores. Subsequent land use decisions should support an additional grocery both east and west of the San Antonio River.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Alternative healthy food sources, such as a local cooperative grocery, farmers markets, temporary fruit and vegetable stands on vacant lots, community gardens, and gardens at homes, businesses, schools, and places of worship are supported.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Land use decisions, affordable housing policies and incentives, and UDC emendments should all support housing for families with children in the Midtown Area, so that area school enrollment is stable and robust. Schools are centers of community and civic engagement, and quality schools supported by steady enrollment are in turn needed to support a diverse population that includes families. These decisions will not only be exhibited by supporting the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing single family homes, but also by allowing and using incentives to support multi-family housing with units that include multiple bedrooms.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Housing and transportation choices should be improved for students attending vocational programs, colleges, and universities in the Midtown Area and surrounding areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Parking in the Midtown Area that is supported by City funding should contribute to interrupting the trend of single-use surface parked development and instead serve to catalyze fine-grained, high-density mixed-use development envisioned for focus areas and corridors, where parking would typically be shared in multi-story or underground structures.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

New public investments in parking in the Midtown Area should be recuperated and directed to improving other priority infrastructure, housing, and amenity improvement projects in the surrounding area.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Special parking management districts or parking benefit districts, parking fees, development code amendments, and construction techniques that make parking adaptable to new uses may be needed to ensure that parking effectively contributes to the comprehensive vision for surrounding areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Land Use

Strategy #1

Write new Transit-Oriented Development and Mixed-Use zoning districts into the Unified Development Code (UDC) to create unique pedestrian- and transit-oriented places with diverse and affordable housing options.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Rezone selected portions of mixed-use corridors and focus areas, where the private market would otherwise not create development that is consistent with the Midtown Area Regional Center Plan.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Where the private market is strong enough, the City should support property owner-initiated rezoning in other mixed-use corridors and focus areas, using requirements and bonuses to incentivize more diverse and affordable housing and a high-quality public realm.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

As Midtown’s and San Antonio’s transportation system evolves toward offering more efficient and affordable transportation choices, the City should reduce and replace parking requirements in the UDC with requirements that help achieve community goals for diverse and affordable housing, environmental quality, mobility, equity, and place-making.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Scope and execute a planning process for inner-city residential design standards and zoning regulations that ensure stability of neighborhood residential character while allowing targeted housing types:
  • Housing accessible to people with disabilities
  • Affordable housing
  • Housing for larger households
  • Other diverse housing types
The process described below that is nearing completion in Portland, Oregon may serve as a reference for creating a planning process to implement this recommendation in San Antonio. Responding to a housing shortage and forecast growth of 100,000 households by the year 2035, barriers to the development of diverse and affordable housing, and other zoning requirements that allow new buildings in neighborhoods that are too large to fit with neighborhood character, the City of Portland has recommended a package of zoning code and map changes that will allow duplexes and triplexes in many areas where large single-family houses are currently allowed. Critically, the additional dwellings must adhere to new and more restrictive requirements on building mass, height, and setbacks and at least one of the dwellings on a property must have accessibility features including a no-step entry, wider halls and doors, and a living space and bathroom on the first floor. Modest increases from the new building size restrictions are allowed for affordable dwellings. Portland’s process for developing these recommendations included a one to two year investigation and concept development phase that included input from over 7,000 Portlanders and multiple concept reports prepared by staff, economic and design consultants that were adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council. That phase was followed by a two-year, inclusive public process to develop and refine zoning code and map amendments based on the adopted concept reports.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

The conditional rezoning process should typically be used in residential neighborhoods instead of changing the base zoning district, in order to provide relatively certain outcomes for new development and adaptive reuse of existing buildings.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Discourage the rezoning of residentially zoned properties to commercial zoning in residential neighborhood areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Inventory and designate identified landmarks and districts in the Midtown Area.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Support the continued use of existing structures and new construction that reflects cultural building forms such as incrementally constructed box and batten style homes, and site designs that facilitate interaction between households.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Housing

Strategy #1

Work with the development community to identify potential Unified Development Code (UDC) amendments that would reduce barriers to development of context sensitive higher density projects within focus areas and mixed-use corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Use City-initiated rezoning to allow for and require greater density of housing and mixed-use development within focus areas and mixed-use transit corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Proactively identify development sites to purchase for future affordable housing development that are in focus areas and along mixed-use corridors through a community land trust, and through partnership with San Antonio Housing Authority and other non-profit housing partners. Develop a systematic approach to identifying priority sites based on their proximity to transit (existing and future), employment, services (commercial and social), and other factors that will help address affordability and access to employment.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Develop a program to incentivize the preservation of existing affordable housing projects that are near the end of their required affordability term.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Develop financial and regulatory incentives to encourage development of affordable housing in regional centers, especially near planned high capacity transit corridors.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Partner with San Antonio Housing Authority and/or other developers to target the construction of a mixed-income affordable housing project within Midtown’s focus areas and catalyst sites.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Explore expansion of home owner assistance programs, such as the Minor Repairs Program, Under One Roof Program, and Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #6

Identify mechanisms and tools the City can use to reduce the impact of property tax increases on vulnerable homeowners and avoid involuntary renter displacement. San Antonio Housing Policy Framework Action Item #4 includes several strategies that the City should pursue.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #7

Support rezoning in focus areas and mixed-use corridors that facilitates substantial housing development, so that the housing market includes ample alternatives to converting naturally occurring affordable neighborhood housing into more expensive housing.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Partner with local industry groups, such as American Institute of Architects (AIA), and other Midtown Area stakeholders to create a neighborhood infill, middle-density housing development toolkit.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Partner with local industry groups, and other Midtown Area stakeholders to hold a neighborhood infill design contest that showcases infill housing prototypes that are feasible, fit within current zoning regulations, and can increase density within neighborhoods while minimizing impacts to existing residents.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Encourage additional neighborhood housing such as accessory dwelling units and middle-density housing types (e.g. duplex, triplex) where consistent with the Future Land Use Plan and policy.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Prevent demolition of housing where at least equal replacement of housing units is not provided.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Support rezoning in neighborhoods that reduces barriers to rehabilitating and improving existing structures.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

As the programs, funding sources, and policies recommended in San Antonio’s Housing Policy Framework are established, support their use and implementation in the Midtown Area Regional Center.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Economic Development

Strategy #1

Encourage the development and rehabilitation of buildings for office space, arts and culture within the Midtown Area’s mixed-use areas through supportive zoning and incentives where needed.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Support the continued use and rehabilitation of existing commercial structures, and preservation of historic buildings and neighborhood landmarks that define the character of unique places in mixed-use corridors and focus areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Continue supporting Broadway Cultural Corridor as the Midtown Area’s primary collection of regional destination places by implementing the Focus Areas, Amenities, and Land Use policies related to Broadway.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Maintain the viable industrial and flex building areas in the Midtown Area by implementing the Midtown Area land use policy for the employment/flex mixed-use areas and the light industrial area.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Support the diverse population of creators, employees, entrepreneurs, and customers by maintaining and expanding the Midtown Area’s diverse housing stock.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Explore the creation of a Texas Cultural District within the Midtown Area, for the whole area or for one or more of the arts/culture districts, to increase public awareness and opportunities for collaboration amongst local artists and entrepreneurs.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Create a non-profit organization/entity with the mission to promote and market the Midtown Area and its attractions and advocate for the business and cultural institutions in the area.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #3

Study the formation of an additional Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) in the central portion of the plan area to capture and reinvest the Midtown Area’s value locally.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #4

Provide financial and technical support to merchants  associations, public improvement districts, or similar entities that enable local stakeholders taking collective action to improve streetscapes and public spaces.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #5

Encourage the development of amenities and services that complement the cultural resources in the Midtown Area, such as hospitality, dining, retail, trails, parks, and plazas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #1

Support land use decisions and infrastructure investments for private commercial and residential uses and public space amenities at the interface between campus edges and mixed-use areas.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments

Strategy #2

Partner with major institutions considering the future of their large campuses and landholdings to conduct joint planning studies to integrate the institutions’ plans with City and community goals.
  • Regulatory + Policy

  • Partnerships

  • Investments