SAN ANTONIO – A proposed parking lot for The University of the Incarnate Word staff is creating controversy in a north side neighborhood.
It’s no secret the university is getting bigger, and with that growth comes the need for more parking.
That’s why UIW bought an empty lot across Broadway in the Mahncke Park neighborhood, in between Burr Road and Perry Court.
The city gets the final say on the zoning in October, but a lawyer for the school says that process is being put on hold to allow UIW to incorporate concerns from neighbors into the final design.
UIW leaders say making the abandoned land a parking lot is a win-win for the school and neighbors alike.
"I think it has a lot of use and it doesn't, in my opinion, impede the neighborhood's quality,” Lou Fox with the university says. “In fact, it may upgrade it."
He says neighbors have long complained when students and faculty park in front of their houses, the cars make it hard for trash trucks and emergency crews to navigate the narrow roads.
Fox says even just 30 parking spaces for faculty on the lot would fix that.
"You don't have the traffic impediments,” he says.
Fox says most Mahncke Park residents are on board.
But some neighbors are spearheading a petition against UIW and its proposal.
"They've gone on an expansion plan and they have no master plan,” neighbor Scott Day says. "We want to see mixed use, compact, walkable neighborhoods. Parking lots don't do that for us."
"Say they do build this parking lot. I'd like to know if they're going to maintain it,” neighbor Angela Fassold says. “I want to make sure they're not going to make any changes to their plan."
News 4 asked UIW to see the plan. It includes improvements to landscaping, the sidewalks and security.
"It would be gated and keyed in, so it wouldn't be an open parking lot,” Fox says.
He says campus police would also keep an extra eye on the area.
UIW leaders will meet with concerned neighbors on both sides Wednesday evening to discuss the plans. The meeting takes place at 5 p.m. at the Watts Guerra Craft law office at 300 Convent Street, Suite 100.