My name is Olga Cuellar, I live at 246 Drake Avenue. My husband and I have lived at Drake since 2009. My husband’s dad has lived at 246 Drake since 1973. We have a history with several neighbors who have lived on Drake since the 1970’s.
I am against the proposed zoning change to Zoning called R-3.

I strongly feel that today’s city leaders should stand tall and HONOR what was originally designated “as Single-Family-Residence since 1836 when the City of San Antonio was established. This designation has been HONORED again and again and again by all previous city leaders: Ordinance 1259, Aug 3, 1844; Ordinance 76368,
Aug 27, 1992 and Ordinance 93881, dated May 3,2001.

The variance to R3 has no benefit or enhancement to Drake Avenue homeowners or our Collins Garden neighborhood. We do not have cookie cutter homes. Each home has a different design and floor plan. Each home complements each other. Having 2 houses built on one small lot with .75 driveways – one on Drake, one on Marley DOES NOT preserve the character of our neighborhood but will alter the essential character of our homes and neighborhood. Parking for 2 houses on one lot will bring more stress to street parking for family and friends of existing homeowners as well as the new interlopers.

The “R-3” Residential Zoning Single-Family with Conditional Use for two dwelling units on 1 lot is NOT welcomed. Such a rezoning would take away our Hispanic traditions such as having a birthday party in our front yard, having Mariachis sing “Las Mañanitas” in the front yard early in the morning for birthdays and my favorite: walking down the side walk and smelling tortillas for dinner! We have 1st hand experience of Hispanic neighborhoods being diluted by building outside the existing norms, customs, and ignoring the existing vitality.

Today’s city leaders should support and intervene in solidifying the “R-5” Residential Single-Family District future land use designation of low-density residential. The plight of the owner of the property for which the variance is sought is not due to unique circumstances existing on the property.

Our city leaders must safeguard old established neighborhoods and protect them from those wishing to alter appearance, alter distinguishing characteristics, and alter individuality of each Drake house by imposing this variance. We ask our present city leaders for help in maintaining the three Ordinances created by our previous city leaders – “R-5” Residential Single-Family District.

I have spoken with more than 40 Drake Ave neighbors today, 26 Mar 2024. Many of them gave examples of the “R3” home buildings surrounding our neighborhood and have indicated negatively to their appearance and neighborhood demise. Again, we say no to a variance change to “R3.”

We ask our city leaders to stand will all previous city leaders to abide and maintain the establishment of the City of San Antonio in 1836 and the 3 Ordinances (1944, 1992, and 2001) keep our Collins Garden neighborhood’s designation of “R-5” Residential Single-Family District.

Case # Z-2023-10700357
The Zoning Committee Meeting
Cliff Morton Development & Business Services Center
1901 South Alamo Street 78204

Neighborhood History:

Finis Foster Collins (generally called F.F. Collins), born and raised in Rusk County, Texas, manufactured and marketed windmills and pumps that were essential to ranchers and farmers in the late 19th century. Collins settled in San Antonio and purchased a 140-acre farm southwest of the city. He built an imposing home and later divided the land into irrigated truck farms that he marketed as “Collins Gardens.”

One of San Antonio’s many streetcar lines traveled through Collins Gardens and served surrounding neighborhoods including the City View Addition (later called Mount Auburn) and Collins Court, another of Collins’ developments. In 1911, F.F. Collins proposed creating a privately owned, landscaped parkway with elaborate fountains and a large swimming pool with bathhouses. It would be lined on either side with trees, sidewalks, and a driveway to allow residents of the surrounding subdivision to travel the length of the park. The interior space was to be a grassy area where neighborhood children could play. Collins indicated that he would retain ownership and management of the park that would be open to the public. This ambitious plan was not realized, and six years later, in 1917, F.F. Collins donated the land to the City of San Antonio.

City officials considered this long, narrow strip to be poorly suited for park development and negotiated to no avail with Collins to donate a more appropriate park site. Park Commissioner Ray Lambert even suggested an 18-acre site in the shape of San Jose Mission’s Rose Window, but Collins was determined that his subdivision would front on a linear park. The donated tract extended almost one mile from Nogalitos Street to near Frances Court. It was 2,940 feet long and 210 feet wide with 50-foot drives on either side, reducing its functional width to 110 feet.

The fact that the City Council agreed to install sewer service to the area at the time it accepted Collins’ gift evidently encouraged residential development, and bungalows were built surrounding the park. Collins Gardens Park has remained largely a grassy open space with tennis and basketball courts and picnic tables.

In December 1984, the Collins Garden Branch Library, located at the east end of the park on Nogalitos Street, was dedicated and opened to the public. The library was renovated with funds from the 1989 bond election and was rededicated in 1996. A granite gravel walking trail and drinking fountain were funded through the 1994 bond election and were completed in 2000.