City sides with developers over height of apartment complex

Board unanimously approves request by developer

The Board of Adjustment unanimously approved the variance request made by a developer on how tall a new apartment complex on the northeast side can be built.

Developer Phillip Bakke wants to build a 44-foot tall apartment complex in the 3800 block of Harry Wurzbach.

Neighbors weren't opposed to the apartments, they just didn't want the building to go beyond three-stories.

Some residents feel the scope of the project would cause traffic and noise problems in the area, which is surrounded by a church and school.

"He needs to stay within what the law says, and we definitely don't want four stories. It's going to ruin privacy. It's going to drop down property values," said Drew Meyer.

Other residents said it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

"I've lived in the neighborhood my entire life. I think this is a wonderful project," said Jennifer Delmer. "Mr. Bakke has exceeded the city requirements on every phase of this project. He's been willing to meet with any homeowner who wants to meet with him any time, show them everything about the development. In the end, what he's asking for is 44 feet, 9 inches. That's a foot shorter than I am."

According to the city, Bakke purchased the land in the 3800 block of Harry Wurzbach in 2007. He then applied for and was granted development preservation rights.

Those rights allow Bakke to build the complex under the old and now defunct development code, which does not cap a building's height at 40 feet.

"He had been working on project for six years and then they put the (Metropolitan) Overlay District in," said former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, Bakke's attorney. "That height restriction was never there."

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