Hair Salon in Mahncke Park Home Divides Commission

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One of the neighbors' complaints against the hair salon is that the front yard of the home at 143 Perry Court has been turned into a parking lot. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

One of the neighbors' complaints against the hair salon is that the front yard of the home at 143 Perry Court has been turned into a parking lot. Photo by Iris Dimmick

The owner of a small hair salon has a big problem: the historic Mahncke Park home that it's located in is still officially considered a house.

At least six neighbors from the Mahncke Park Neighborhood Association attended the Zoning Commission meeting on Tuesday to speak against a zoning change that would allow for the small business to operate in Mahncke Park, less than a block away from the busy commercial corridor on Broadway.

The advisory commission voted 6-5 to hold off on making a recommendation on the matter because the owner, local hair stylist Andrew Guerra, had hired an attorney Tuesday morning – the same morning of the meeting – and he needed a chance to get up to speed.

Commission Chair William Shaw III, who also represents District 2, said it was a matter of "professional courtesy" to allow the attorney, Patrick Christensen, time to properly prepare. He hoped that Guerra would take the opportunity to meet with neighbors on the matter. The Mahncke Park residents at the meeting said Guerra had not reached out to the neighborhood association.

"I want an opportunity for dialogue,” Shaw said.

The high-end salon, which was by-appointment only, was operating for some time, as recently as last week. The owner, Andrew Guerra, has received at least one citation from the City's code enforcement for doing so and has upcoming hearings in municipal court, Christensen said.

The five commissioners that voted against the continuance agreed that the owner's actions seemed to purposefully defy the City code in part because the salon continued to operate.

"I'm troubled by rewarding that behavior,” Commissioner Paula McGee (D9) said.

The case will be heard for the last time by the Zoning Commission during its next meeting on Tuesday, April 12, before heading to City Council with the commission's recommendation. Council members could choose to follow or ignore the commission's recommendation.

Andrew Guerra renovated the house at 143 Perry Court to become a salon, but has yet to obtain necessary zoning to operate a business out of the home. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

One of the neighbors' complaints against the home at 142 Perry Court becoming a hair salon is that the front yard has been turned into a parking lot. Photo by Iris Dimmick

"(Guerra) is a professional hair (stylist) who doesn't understand zoning," Christensen said, but the work that Guerra has done to the property should be considered as well. The 1939 home was purchased for about $250,000 and Christensen said Guerra had done about $100,000 worth of work on the interior and exterior.

"I feel strongly that this applicant knew that this property was not zoned (for commercial use)," said Commissioner Cecilia Garcia. "This sets the wrong tone in our community.”

Other commissioners agreed with Chairman Shaw and felt that more time wouldn't hurt.

"I don't see any bad faith in his actions," Commissioner Ricardo Briones (D5) said. "The best scenarios I’ve seen are when people have come together."

Christensen will be asking the 17 area residents that sent Guerra letters of support to come to the meeting later this month to express that support in person.

As San Antonio keeps growing, he added, this kind of zoning issue will become more frequent as density increases in the center city.

Projects like the Pearl Brewery complex have demonstrated the viability of mixed-use zoning and accompanying lifetyle, he said. Mahncke Park's proximity to Broadway makes it a prime target for blurring the lines between commercial and residential zones.

 

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

 

Top image: One of the neighbors' complaints against the home at 142 Perry Court becoming a hair salon is that the front yard has been turned into a parking lot. Photo by Iris Dimmick

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8 thoughts on “Hair Salon in Mahncke Park Home Divides Commission

  1. I think certain (and limited) businesses CAN operate in urban neighborhoods. In my own historic neighborhood, I would not have a problem with professionals offering services based out of their “granny flat”. Not a big deal, in my opinion, but residential should still be the primary use… and parking should be inconspicuous.

    Unfortunately, it appears that this owner decided that he didn’t need to follow any of the existing rules – zoning, certificate of occupancy, and (apparently) reaching out to the neighborhood. I have also noticed a disturbing trend in SA of “getting forgiveness vs. permission”, where a zoning change is proposed after a violation has been noted. Commercial and residential CAN work together, but there needs to be a willingness by the business owner to work within the rules and to compromise if necessary. Too often, the neighborhood is the only one who is asked to give in. Considering that the neighborhood is the reason the business owner wants to move there, that is unfair.

  2. Having moved recently from San Antonio to Portland, I see only value in being able to walk to places of business in my neighborhood versus driving. This is in every neighborhood in Portland, and while there are some streets that are more commercially zoned than others, having a walkable neighborhood is key and Mahncke Park should consider this.

  3. Mahncke Park is already a walkable neighborhood. There are at least three other salons within 2-5 blocks of this one. All of those are operating legally in commercially zoned areas. I feel for those people who own homes next door to this, an illegally operated business in the middle of a residential block.

  4. Iris Dimmick, the money the owner spent should not be considered! Here are some facts for you since you did not contact me:
    – 143 Perry CT is zoned R4 NCD-6 (residential). The owner started construction and spending money prior to receiving approval for his business.
    – The city was alerted on December 1, 2015 of construction that was against the NCD standards. At this time it was clear the owner was preparing for a business, building a double wide driveway (not allowed) and parking in the rear of the house.
    – On January 28, the Mahncke Park Board received confirmation from by Councilman Warrick’s office the owner was illegally using the house as a hair salon, which is commercial. The owner was issued citations and was going to be taken to court. It was also revealed the owner falsely obtained permits in the summer for residential remodeling.
    – Threatened with a lawsuit, the owner submitted for rezoning to avoid court. Notices went out on March 4.
    – The owner has never reached out to the Mahncke Park Board nor any of the residents of his plans.
    – 143 Perry CT as a business will NOT serve as a buffer zone for Broadway. It is in the middle of the street. This is what the owner is communicating. In fact the business operating illegally is causing increased traffic.
    – The owner is violating the Mahncke Park Neighborhood Master plan and the Neighborhood Conservation District standards. In the MP neighborhood plan it clearly states “Mixed Use” should be located at an intersection or a collector street. 143 Perry CT is right in the middle of the street with a residential home next to it, and residential property across the street.

    • It’s amusing, and somewhat offensive, when the lawyers start talking about how much a business spent in upgrades to a property. As if their money counts more than money spent by a home owner. I’m willing to bet that most home owners in this area have spent at least that much in upgrades and needed repairs etc. I know I have.

    • ” 143 Perry CT is right in the middle of the street with a residential home next to it, and residential property across the street.”

      AND BILL MILLERS BAR BQ NEXT DOOR ON THE WESTERN SIDE. One residential house to the east of it followed by apartment buildings.

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