Every five years the City reviews its Unified Development Code (UDC) and reviews input from staff and citizens. KWA requested adding a noise restriction to commercial properties similar to the “no alcohol” restriction. After review by many commissions, City Council approved adding NR as part of the UDC update.

Two zoning cases went before City Council on August 4: 1009 S. Alamo and 1811 S. Alamo, using the NR (noise restriction) to prohibit any outdoor amplified noise.

Read more: Noise Restriction Added to S. Alamo St. Developments

The King William Association is a registered neighborhood association with the City of San Antonio.  This means the Association receives notifications regarding zoning requests within our boundaries and can make comment reading the zoning change.  I have often been asked why some places need to rezone and others do not.  Below is an interview with Catherine Hernandez, COSA Zoning Manager.

Cherise Bell: What does “change of use” mean?

Catherine Hernandez: A “use” is defined as the legal enjoyment of property for a specific purpose.  A “change of use” is an action to make the use of the property different from its previous use.  

Read more: Interview with COSA Zoning Manager

Sidewalks and curbs

How about the sidewalk and curb area right in front of your home? This area is considered city right-of-way, used for public passage and for the installation of curbs, sidewalks and utilities.
However, it’s the responsibility of the adjacent homeowner to keep the right-of-way free of obstructions including any type of debris, grass and weeds, and other plants that impede the passage of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This includes weeds growing out of the sidewalk or curb, that are along the street pavement. In addition, the correction of major cracks and unlevel surfaces along the sidewalk is also the responsibility of the property owner (City Code Ch. 29-11a).

Read more: City Code Reminders

KWA submitted an amendment proposal on the City’s Unified Development Code (UDC) regarding external sound systems for commercially zoned properties. Every five years the public can submit UDC amendment proposals and comments as part of a public process. City staff reviews the requests and makes recommendation to various City Commissions, which make recommendation to the City Council. City Council then votes on which changes to incorporate into the UDC. The process takes over a year to complete, so any changes adopted at the end of the current 2015 update program would not become code until 2016. Furthermore, the new codes only affect those projects started in or after adoption of the changes. Established properties or projects started in 2015 retain their previous “rights” and are considered “grandfathered.”

Read more: KWA Submits UDC Amendment Proposal

Why Should I Apply for a Permit?

Permits must be obtained prior to starting a building project so that the City can make sure it complies with the building safety codes. Most construction and remodeling work requires a permit (even if you’re doing the work), with the exception of minor repairs such as painting, wallpapering, carpeting and tiling. Electrical, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and most plumbing work requires that a licensed trade professional do the actual work in addition to obtaining a permit. They are also required for: re-roofing, fences (including repair or replacement of over 25% of existing fences), carports, room additions, demolition, repairs affecting the structural components of a building (walls, foundations and roof system to include replacement of windows and doors), replacement or alteration of public sidewalks, curbs and driveway approaches, storage sheds over one story or over 120 square feet in size and most decks, new installation or major alteration of plumbing, HVAC or electrical systems. All new structures exceeding 120 square feet also require a permit.

Read more: Why Do We Need Zoning?

Zoning is a tool a city has to regulate land uses, including the size and shape of development. The City of San Antonio Unified Development Code is flexible in order to accommodate the changing neighborhood and conditions that may necessitate a zoning change. The City of San Antonio has many zoning districts, of which 2 are featured below: BASE districts and OVERLAY districts.

Read more: A Zoning Primer