East Side resident at odds over proposed developments to bring commerce, housing

Some residents concerned over tax increase

SAN ANTONIO – The East Side community is at odds over proposed projects that would bring housing, retail and restaurants to the area.

On Tuesday, community members met at Coliseum Baptist Church on Hub Street to discuss the Eco East Project, which will bring about 250 to 600 units on approximately 20 acres of property that is currently vacant near Spriggsdale Boulevard and East Commerce Street.

Bertha Sevilla, with the Coliseum Oaks Homeowners Association, thinks the plan is moving along too fast, and the community has a lot of questions about how the plans will affect their mortgage, taxes and lifestyle.

“We want something to be built there, but when you're talking about 200 to 600 units, that's a lot,” she said. “How is it going to affect the community? It's something we need to know.”

Sevilla has started a petition to stop the project.

“My concern is how is it going to affect traffic in our community, the crime rate, tax increase? We have a lot of questions," she said.

Geneva Settiewhite doesn’t own property in the area but has family members who live there and attends church nearby. She thinks the current empty plot is a haven for trash and drug dealers.

“Why wouldn’t you want it developed?” she said. “It's for the better of the community. It will enhance the community.”

Settiewhite thinks the development will add jobs and bring in revenue.

District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw said developers are eager to come in, but he wants to make sure there’s an open dialogue with the community members about what they would like to see.

“A lot of residents are fearful for the tax increase, so how do we balance that?” he said, adding that there’s a need to move the community forward.

Other plans also in the works to bring in more housing include the Essex Modern City and Urban@Olive.

The Eco East Project is still in the infancy stages, according to Rep. Barbara Garvin Hawkins. Officials want to hear from the community about what it wants to see. The project is set to be on the City Council agenda for the Dec. 7 meeting.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.