Historical association fights law office move

Soulsby: I'll be better neighbor than the college students who used to rent it

SAN ANTONIO – Is it an improvement to the neighborhood or another chip away at its character?

That's the question the San Antonio City Council will have to deal with when voting on a crucial zoning change for a Monte Vista home that a local attorney wants to make into her new law office. However, she faces stiff opposition from the Monte Vista Historical Association.

"I fell in love with it. It's a beautiful home," said attorney Kate Soulsby, who wants to relocate her practice to 125 W. Mistletoe Avenue.  

Soulsby said she likes the idea of working in a historic home, but she's not planning to move into it. She said she can't use the space as a home office because it would require getting rid of one of her two employees and cutting the other's hours.

A Development Services spokeswoman said Soulsby actually wouldn't be able to have any paid employees.

So she's seeking to change the zoning. While she has letters of support from people in the neighborhood, the Monte Vista Historical Association is firmly opposed.

"We oppose any zone change away from residential," said association president Ernest "Cee" Parker.

"We want people living here," he said. "We want people living here at night. We want neighbors."

 It's not just about Soulsby's lot. Parker says every time this comes up and the neighborhood loses a residential home, it loses part of its character. 

"It adds up over time," he said. "It's like dominoes."

Though there are other businesses already on Mistletoe Avenue, like an architecture firm and a gift shop, Parker says they still want to protect the residences.

Residential or not, Soulsby said, she's fixing the house up and thinks she'll be a better neighbor than the college students who used to rent it.

"So I'm disappointed there's been so much resistance from the Historical Association because really my goal is just to restore the home to its original grandeur," Soulsby said.

Parker is still holding out for people making a home, though.

"Well my house was a fraternity house and it was a flop house, and now it's single-family," he said. "So we think that it can happen. There are people out there who love these old houses enough to live in them."


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