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The fight to keep neighborhood plans in place

The fight to keep neighborhood plans in place

SAN ANTONIO - As part of San Antonio's Silent Crisis, News 4's yearlong commitment to explore inequality in our city, we're digging into the fight to keep neighborhood plans in place.

Grassroots meetings are how more than 30 neighborhoods developed official plans that are now filed with the city. The plans address issues like infrastructure and business corridors.

"These are plans that are the road map of our neighborhoods," says Cynthia Spielman from Beacon Hill.

The neighborhood plan for Beacon Hill makes ensuring there's enough affordable housing a priority.

"In our neighborhoods, what is affordable is going away," says Cosima Colvin from Beacon Hill.

Two years ago, the city revamped the planning model. The new SA Tomorrow plan focuses on regional centers rather than individual neighborhoods.

"Instead of thinking what's good for our community, our neighborhood, it's like take five or six neighborhoods plus representatives from businesses, from the development community," Spielman explains. "And that, then, will be the new roadmap for the future."

This spring, tensions flared over land use. Neighbors called out the city for scrapping the plans they crafted.

"We can always do a better job articulating how we will be integrating neighborhood planning," says Rudy Nino, the city's assistant planning director.

He promises the neighborhood plans are being integrated into the regional centers, and that issues like affordable housing remain a priority.

"I think that the benefit of SA Tomorrow really is to try to address issues of inequality from the most local level as possible," Nino says.

Neighbors in Beacon Hill still worry their voices are being diluted.

"And that's where neighborhoods are the boots on the ground. We see it and we're fighting for that," Colvin says.

They're fighting to keep the main points of their neighborhood plan front and center.

"Our tools are really inadequate for us to address that, but it's all we have," Spielman says.

If you have an issue related to the inequality crisis in San Antonio, or a solution, you can reach out to our team at (210) 366-0711 or email us at silentcrisis@news4sa.com.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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