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Concerns Zarzamora Street zoning an obstacle to growth

Concerns Zarzamora Street zoning an obstacle to growth

SAN ANTONIO – As the city reviews hundreds of properties that could be incorrectly zoned, a large stretch of Zarzamora Street is raising big concerns.

Over the years, most of the thoroughfare was zoned industrial. That's why there are now so many vacant buildings that neighbors would like to see open for business.

“We were just a group of people who cared about the community,” says Minister Shawn Price, cofounder of West End Hope in Action.

The group was first formed to fight crime and is now working to improve the near west side’s economy.

"We don't have enough business here to facilitate employing the people who live in the community,” Price says. “For Zarzamora, I'd love for that to be a mainstay for people to be employed on the west side."

More shops and restaurants would create jobs, but buildings along Zarzamora have stayed empty for a reason.

"There are a lot of vacant buildings that are just not zoned properly - one of which is a church zoned industrial. How is that possible?" says Councilman Roberto Trevino.

He’s forming a task force to examine why so much of Zarzamora is zoned industrial, an obvious obstacle to growth.

"You're creating hurdles and barriers for people to want to invest and do something in areas that already have a tough time doing that,” Councilman Trevino says.

The task force will help property owners make changes, something Price hopes will make the area safer.

"Economic development seems to always, consistently, be the key of bringing down crime,” the minister says. "There has to be buy-in and reinvestment into the west side, and that means a lot of the neighbors who made money and moved away, they need to come on back and help revitalize it."

The task force is also working with homeowners near downtown who have found because their homes are zoned incorrectly, they’ve been paying more in property taxes.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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