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  #1  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 4:47 AM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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SA - Council plans to downsize historic review panel!

Council plans to downsize historic review panel

Web Posted: 05/02/2007 10:17 PM CDT

Scott Huddleston
Express-News
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/met...C.33e76bc.html

City leaders plan to create a new River Walk advisory panel and downsize the Historic and Design Review Commission, which one councilman said has become "obstructionist."

By the end of the month, the City Council may vote to form a new seven-member river panel, and reduce the review commission, or HDRC, from 15 to seven members. To lower the number of cases going to the commission, city planning staff would approve or deny small-scale projects such as fences, swimming pools and rear additions without sending them to the panel.

That would streamline the process, allowing up to 95 percent of cases to move forward, Assistant City Manager T.C. Broadnax told the council at a work session Wednesday.

The commission then could focus on more complex projects, he said.

Of the 1,136 applications received last year, 54 percent were reviewed by the commission.

But commission chairman Xavier Gonzalez said the proposed changes eliminate options for appeals. Commission members who are trained in architecture, historic preservation and community relations no longer would be able to mediate cases that aren't cut-and-dried, where potential conflicts between developers and surrounding neighbors exist, he said.

"There won't be a public review process," Gonzalez said. "One example is Sandra Cisneros and her purple house."

Cisneros, a local author, clashed with the commission after she repainted her house purple in the King William Historic District in 1996. She later got a shade of pink approved.

The ire of citizens, however, was on the minds of council members Wednesday.

Councilman Richard Perez said he was tempted to "whack" the panel out of existence, after hearing complaints "about how long it takes to get to the HDRC."

"I heard a lot of anger, a lot of issues with the work of this committee," Perez said.

Legally, the city could eliminate the panel. It then would have to hand historic oversight to the state on projects such as Main Plaza renovation, or assign the state's five required disciplines — history, architecture, design, business finance and archeology — to another city body, such as the Zoning Commission.

Perez and Councilman Chip Haass said they want to downsize the commission, which they said has lost sight of its objective. Haas said developers and others have said the panel has been "slowing down projects to the point where you almost called it obstructionist."

But council members Patti Radle and Roland Gutierrez said they'd prefer an 11-member commission, appointed by the mayor and each council member, minus the four current at-large seats.

Although the review process has a 60-day timeline from application to review, many cases get approval in two weeks, Gutierrez said.

"We need to give folks the ability to ask questions," rather than relying on staff to decide cases, he said.

Afterward, Gonzalez said the council is making decisions based on complaints from lobbyists who've become weary of the review process. Now, the integrity of the process is at stake, he said.

Under the proposal, routine applications denied by staff could be appealed to commissioners. But there would be little means for the panel to mediate other cases that draw neighborhood concerns, Gonzalez said. While city officials have blamed the commission for delays in the Main Plaza project, the delays were a result of design changes by planners, he said.

"And now, it's a much better project," he said.

The commission still would have historic-review oversight in the city's river overlay districts. The proposed new River Commission would be the first city body monitoring all aspects of the river since 1992.

Several council members raised concerns about creating a new layer of bureaucracy, since 13 advisory panels now already have some dealings with the River Walk. But most agreed with Mayor Phil Hardberger that "one dedicated group" assigned to the river is needed.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 1:06 PM
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Get rid of it altogether.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 2:59 PM
Saddle Man Saddle Man is offline
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The Review Panel has become extremist, but getting rid of the Review Panel is just as extremist. There needs to be some sort of review of projects. Otherwise you'll be stuck with bad projects indefinately.

Last edited by Saddle Man; May 3, 2007 at 9:55 PM.
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  #4  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 8:20 PM
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Thank God they are doing this now just as our condo boom is starting to take off! Now lets see some larger projects.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 9:47 PM
potts potts is offline
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Yay! The old conservative farts of the Historic Design and Review Commision need to go! They have been a huge block to many potentially grand San Antonio buildings (i.e. Grand Hyatt and Vidorra).
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  #6  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 3:03 AM
NBTX11 NBTX11 is offline
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This is great news. Now maybe they will stop scaling projects down. Too bad this didn't happen before, because we would have had a great looking Vidorra and a 600 foot CC Hotel.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 3:05 AM
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METALMiKE METALMiKE is offline
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Maybe Vidorra can change the design now.



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  #8  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 3:33 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The article
Legally, the city could eliminate the panel. It then would have to hand historic oversight to the state on projects such as Main Plaza renovation, or assign the state's five required disciplines — history, architecture, design, business finance and archeology — to another city body, such as the Zoning Commission.
Encouraging news, but ^ that part could be even worse. You don't exactly want the state bossing San Antonio around when it comes to what goes where and what comes down and is protected, otherwise nothing will get done since they'll be heavy handed on protecting everything.

Quote:
"There won't be a public review process," Gonzalez said. "One example is Sandra Cisneros and her purple house."
Love it.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 3:52 AM
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Thank GOD this is happening...that commitee just kept screwing things up....it gets old, and I really think its been hindering us from getting new projects in here....when developers find out the hurdles they have to go through just to build a building in SA....some would rather not...

COME ON ATT...I wanna see A high in the sky BADASS for SA's 300th!!!!
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  #10  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 5:35 AM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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the is a GOD and i have always been a beiever... now i bet that we are gonna be gettin some good news headed our directions... watch out for any new mentionings on the city's site about new bulding or new days to watch for!!! im happy! go Att & GO SPURS GO
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  #11  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 8:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matttwentyeight View Post
the is a GOD and i have always been a beiever... now i bet that we are gonna be gettin some good news headed our directions... watch out for any new mentionings on the city's site about new bulding or new days to watch for!!! im happy! go Att & GO SPURS GO
^^^
Ha Ha Ha......is that an alternate spelling of:


but seriously, now AT&T improves the chances of building the tallest in Texas!
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  #12  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 9:02 PM
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haha, I wish! Tallest in Texas in SA is almost to near impossible.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 5, 2007, 4:52 AM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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i'll tell you what starving... that is one sexy beaver!!! i wrote that after my ambien started to kick in the other night so excuse my grammar and my beaverish ways... GOT WOOD? ok im a dork, but a fun one at least!
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  #14  
Old Posted May 5, 2007, 5:44 AM
texboy texboy is online now
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ATT seriously needs to get its shit together....Comcast is currently building one mammoth badass in Philly that reflects its status...ATT's buildings do not reflect the powerhouse fortune 100 company that it is!
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