Townhome owners claim SAHA pulled bait-and-switch

Artisan Park residents say new master plan not as promised

SAN ANTONIO – Artisan Park townhome owners say SAHA's altered master plan for the former Victoria Courts public housing project goes against their original promise of limited public housing.

Many of the residents attended a Lavaca neighborhood meeting Tuesday night at La Tuna to voice their displeasure directly to a SAHA representative who attended to hear their complaints.

"My charge today was to come to deliver a message," said SAHA Sr. Development Manager Ramiro Maldonado. "We will listen to the general public to what the Artisan townhome owners want and I will convey that message to my boss and board members."

Many townhome residents learned last week after SAHA's monthly meeting that the group altered its Master Plan for the former Victoria Courts area, now called Victoria Commons.

There are currently 22 townhomes in the project, six of which are affordable housing.

The 16 others were sold at market value, including one purchased late last year by Carlos Borrego and his family.

"When we bought our house, that was what the pitch was," said Borrego adding that he signed a copy of the master plan which did not include multi-family housing. "Beautiful townhomes, single family homes, young professionals coming up moving downtown. That's what the mayor was pushing."

Other Lavaca residents said they are not against public nor affordable housing but the suggested split of 80/20 with the majority in affordable in public housing is too high.

"If you get the public housing above, what HUD told us twelve years ago was 25 percent, then nobody will buy in," said Bob Carabin who has lived in the Lavaca area for nearly 20 years.

Maldonado said SAHA will revisit the idea to alter the master plan but Borrego and other townhome owners say that's not enough.

"We're not going to revisit," said Borrego. "We're putting our foot down and we're going to say no, we're not going to have these apartments."

"We want to make sure that this master plan is adopted by everybody and supported by everybody because they have to live beside what we create," said Maldonado. 

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.