City mistake costs businessman nearly half a million dollars

City finds property listed as commercial zoning for 30 plus years is actually residential

SAN ANTONIO – At 118 Davis Court in Mahncke Park there are all the makings of a coffee shop, minus the customers.

Just weeks way from opening the Commonwealth Coffee Shop, the city turned owner Jorge Herrero's business plan upside down.

"We got all nine final approvals from each of the inspectors, mechanical permit, plumbing, electrical, fire department, occupancy, parking and also health department," Herrero said.

Herrero had done his due diligence, getting inspection after inspection and finally his certificate of occupancy.

Three days later, the city called to inform him the property he bought in February that was listed as commercial was actually residential.

The zoning commission decided the coffee shop would be a good buffer zone between the existing car wash and the neighborhood homes.

On Aug. 19, the zoning commission recommended City Council approve commercial zoning for the 118 David Court property.    

Despite the recommendation, City Council voted against commercial zoning.

District 2 Councilman Keith Toney voted against rezoning, siding with the majority of the Mahncke Park homeowners who were concerned this could set a precedent for future homeowners.

"The mistake that was made 30 years ago and what we had an opportunity to do was follow the lead of our constituents," Toney said.

Toney admitted to the KSAT 12 News Defenders it wasn't fair to Herrero, who had already poured nearly half a million dollars into his business site, but he voted the way he did because it was in accordance with the current statutes.

The councilman plans to reach out to Herrero in conjunction with the neighborhood association to see if there is anything that can be done to mitigate Herrero's loss.

Mahncke Park HOA board member, Daniel Lazarine said, "The situation the coffee shop owners found themselves in is really unfortunate, but in the end we have to stand up for the homeowners who did speak out against it."

There was also concern about the increased traffic and the fact that the city would be setting a precedent for turning residential homes into commercial properties on Davis Court.