SAN ANTONIO – A Northwest Side appliance store on Bandera Road is trying to rezone in order to keep some of its appliances outside. However, neighbors in the community are calling the storage section of the property an eyesore.
The store owners and neighbors have different solutions in mind.
Primrose Ladduwahetti and her husband opened "A Used Appliance Outlet" in October 2016, storing many appliances on the back of the property.
"We are a retail and wholesale business. Which means we might end up with just 20 pieces. We might end up with 200 pieces, and we are not going to have 200 pieces for months and months. People are going to come in and buy 50 pieces at once, 100 pieces at once," she said.
In February, the business got a citation.
"We did not know we were not supposed to put appliances outside. We did the rezoning wrong and we started applying for the rezoning. We had to do the conditional rezoning," Ladduwahetti said.
Months before that, longtime neighbors like Dexton Shores began to complain about the appliances, which are visible from the road and next door subdivision.
"Not only does it lower the property value by being such an eyesore at the entrance of the neighborhood, but if a child ever wanders over there and gets in those refrigerators somebody's going to be liable for that," Shores said.
On May 2, the city's Development Services Department recommended approval of rezoning with conditions. The Zoning Commission agreed with staff's recommended conditions, which include screening the storage area with a fence. City Council has the final say and will make a decision June 1.
About a quarter of the property is already fenced in with a 6-foot wooden fence. That is the same type of fence they would place around the rest of the area, if the City Council agrees with the Development Services recommendation in June.
"I'm just surprised that the city zoning commission has already approved that and I would strongly urge the City Council when it comes up before them in June to not approve it," Shores said.
He and other neighbors said a fence isn't good enough and they want a warehouse or shed built.
"All the animals that are going to be hiding under those appliances and providing places where water can accumulate when it rains for mosquitoes to breed," Shores said.
Ladduwahetti said she and her husband knocked on doors two weeks ago, talking to neighbors whose homes back up to their property. She said several of those neighbors told her a fence would be less of an eyesore.
"One of the neighbors told us they will even move if we build a warehouse," she said. "I don't want people to open their back doors and walk out with a cup of coffee in the morning to a big warehouse. So I would like people to think that also. We can have a big warehouse to store our appliances but it will not look nice."
Ladduwahetti said if the City Council decides they have to build a warehouse, they will do it.
"We still want to reach out to some of the neighbors who we haven't had a chance to speak to so we can talk to them, clear things up, clarify the situation, and we all can get together because we are all one community," she said.
The other stipulations laid out in the Development Services approval said all lighting should be directed onto the site and point away from residential properties, and outdoor amplification speakers are not allowed during the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
It also said the appliances should be confined to 1,000 square feet. The current space is about 2,000 square feet and during the June 1 hearing the owners will request to keep it that way.
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