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San Antonio Center Precise Plan Calls for Shared Parking

Original post made by Jim Neal on Mar 19, 2014

I am sure that those of you who regularly attend and/or watch City Council meetings are asking yourselves "What do you mean the Precise Plan calls for shared parking when the plan is still in the works?". Well, as I recently discovered, the Council is working on a NEW Precise Plan for the San Antonio Center. The Precise Plan that I am referring to was originally created in 1988 and can be found here:

Web Link

I read through is and found some very interesting things there. The first line of the Vision Statement on page one says:

"Coordinated efforts amongst the property owners are a key element to
improving the current condition of the shopping center."

The last line of the vision statement on page two says:

"To ensure coordinated access and circulation, reciprocal parking and access
agreements will be required for all properties provided, however, residential uses shall provide private resident parking"

I may be a little slow, but I am sure that the Milk Pail is not a residence and therefore should be covered under the reciprocal parking agreement that covers ALL PROPERTIES.

On page 9 in section 3.2.2 on Site Design in the Coordination paragraph it says:

"Site improvements and buildings shall be coordinated with adjacent
properties to ensure the potential, if not the immediate, realization of
shared access and coordinated parking (residential uses shall provide
private parking). Grading, parking and landscape treatment shall
relate to adjoining properties. Mutual access agreements shall be
required."

Again, this seems pretty clear to me that shared parking is REQUIRED under the existing, current precise plan. It specifically states that the improvements SHALL BE coordinated with adjacent properties. No matter how some might try to parse this, shall means "this is NOT OPTIONAL".

On page 13 under "Location" the plan says:

"The parking spaces required (including loading, bicycle and handicap) shall be determined for each proposed development and shall be contained within the ownership associated with said proposal; however, all parking other than private residential parking shall be accessible to other properties in accordance with the existing Reciprocal Parking Agreement in the Center."

This also appears to be very clear to me. However, I have been told that this section was added in 2011 and refers to the original Reciprocal Parking Agreement that was established in 1962 between the three original owners and therefore applies only to them (or in this case to their successor, the developer). I disagree with that interpretation because in my opinion, the 'existing" Reciprocal Parking Agreement was the one that was written in the 1988 Precise Plan.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that the information that I was given is the correct interpretation and it applied only to the three original owners and now to the developer. In that case, it means that the Milk Pail expanded in good faith under the agreement that existed at the time (the 1988 Plan) and is now facing extinction because of a change made in 2011! As far as I can tell, the Milk Pail fully complied with the requirements for parking and then had the rug (or parking in this case) pulled out from under it.

This is extremely troubling because it means that no business can ever be sure that they will not find themselves suddenly at risk. Especially if Precise Plans can be modified to change existing rules to their opposite after the fact.

Not only that, but let us further suppose that only the developer has shared parking rights. What happens if the developer decides to sell off sections to three or four different owners? Will they now have to provide separate parking?

Regardless of which way this is interpreted, in my opinion, the Milk Pail is getting the short end of the bucket. It should either be grandfathered in under the original 1988 Plan, or special accommodations should be made to allow it to find parking on a parcel outside the site.

What do you think?


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link
info@electneal.org

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