There is a continued commercial development trend going on along the S. Alamo corridor. Two major commercial properties, the former vending machine warehouse at 1811 S. Alamo and an adjacent tract at 1302 S. Flores, were purchased by David Adelman. The S. Alamo property is scheduled for mixed-use with creative office space, plus a restaurant and/or bar. The King William Association has been following the process through HDRC and Zoning, and formally requested that no outdoor amplified music be allowed. The Zoning Commission approved the IDZ zoning with C2 and Bar uses without restricting any amplified noise. The property adjoins a potential historic neighborhood adjacent to King William and a prominent multi-story loft is located across S. Alamo along S. Flores, residences that are well within the “sound shed” of amplified noise.
The King William Association has long opposed the use of amplified music along the S. Alamo/S. St. Mary’s commercial corridors. One possible solution to the amplified noise issue is for the City of San Antonio (CoSA) to craft an ordinance restricting amplified music in mixed-use neighborhoods such as King William and Lavaca. Amplified noise, whether music or megaphone, certainly can be intrusive in the lives of those living in proximity to the commercial establishments. KWA has been fighting the amplified noise issue now for many years, especially on First Friday. Noise meters are of no real use; we have gone that route. Code Compliance is rarely in position to enforce the noise when it is excessive. Some action by CoSA would certainly be desirable from our neighborhood perspective.
Neighbors have expressed concern over tour buses and “pub-crawl” bikes. On May 31, KWA Executive Director Cherise Bell, Transportation Chair Rose Kanusky and I attended a meeting at the KWA office with Gary Gilmore of CoSA Ground Transportation, Karen Lindsey with City Sightseeing double decker busses, and Officer David McCall. Two residential neighbors were in attendance as well. The group wanted to express concerns about the use of amplification and inappropriate stops by the double decker busses on Guenther and S. Alamo Streets. The meeting was cordial and we feel some resolution was achieved. It was at this meeting, however, that KWA first learned of group cycle services being approved by city ordinance, and that the request was for three group cycle routes.
We do not recall group cycles being mentioned to us in conversation with Councilman’s staff in February, and no local business or CoSA departments involved in the group cycles approval process ever contacted KWA for input. Group cycles are multiple carrying vehicles that can hold up to 15 passengers. Passengers can bring their own beer or wine, but the entertainment involves stopping at multiple bars along the way. According to the city ordinance for group cycles, they can only operate on commercial corridors in King William and cannot use amplified noise. Specific information for group cycles can be found city ordinance Chapter 33-Vehicles for Hire, Article III. Group Cycle Services.
However, King William has a no-open container ordinance in force, so the question is: Can the no-open container ordinance apply to the pub-crawl bike passengers? One response we received was that the group cycles are like limousines, which are exempt from no-open container ordinances. We continue to research this issue with CoSA.
As your president, I am most concerned about the trend of S. Alamo corridor becoming a bar strip. We continue to be stymied by zoning and grandfathering to prevent it. I thank you for all of your encouragement and positive comments as we continue to work on these important and sometimes daunting issues to preserve our neighborhood.