Mahncke Park residents split over historic designation

By Charles Gonzalez - Anchor/Reporter
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SAN ANTONIO - A growing number of residents oppose Mahncke Park's possible designation as a historic district, which began with a petition signed by 30 percent of residents.  

Dr. Gary Cox, who has lived in Mahncke Park since 1984, is upset with the current process and said it allows the minority to dictate over the majority.

"A group of people here at Mahncke Park have gotten over 55 percent of the signatures opposing it, yet it's going to the City Council for a vote with less than 30 percent signature agreement," said Cox.  

The Office of Historic Preservation has twice changed the policy regarding potential historic districts since Knob Hill became the 27th historic district in 2010.  

Back then, opposition from 51 percent of residents would halt the process. In 2012, that part of the policy was removed and the process would begin with just 30 percent of resident signatures.  

"They've changed the policy on it and they're using Mahncke Park as a test area," said Cox.

Scott Day is one of the residents supporting the change. Both he and Cox cited a new development on Carnahan where three large homes were built on a lot that used to house one home.  

"Right now when somebody wants to come in and build something, we have virtually no say in that," said Day. "You're starting to see that because of Mahncke Park's terrific location and success that we're starting to get teardowns, and some of the new architecture that comes in is overwhelming in terms of size and scale and placement, and it's very incompatible with the neighborhood and that's very disconcerting to a lot of us."

"Those three buildings that replaced what were there have enhanced the neighborhood," Cox said. "They've added a more eclectic look to the neighborhood which is what a lot of the younger people moving to the neighborhood like."

The Historic & Design Review Commission plans to vote on the issue in October, but plans to have three information sessions before then for residents. Day believes those sessions will shed more light on what living in a historic district means.

"We want people to be able to come there, people that don't know anything about historic districts, find out more about it and weigh this in an educated manner," said Day.


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