city of San Antonio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 19-8498   
Type: Staff Briefing - Without Ordinance
In control: Zoning Commission
On agenda: 11/19/2019
Posting Language: Discussion and Action on proposed Ordinance adopting changes to Chapter 35, the Unified Development Code (UDC), Section 35-310-01 Table 310-1 Lot and Building Dimensions Table, relating to Lot and Building Dimensions in "RM" and "MF" districts. Staff recommends Approval. (Catherine Hernandez, Development Services Administrator, Development Services Department)
Attachments: 1. RM MF CCR, 2. RM MF Code Updates PC Approved
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
No records to display.

DEPARTMENT: Development Services Department






SUBJECT: UDC Zoning Amendments




Briefing and Possible Action on proposed Ordinance amending the Unified Development Code (UDC), Chapter 35, of the City Code of San Antonio, Texas, with changes to Section 35-310-01 Table 310-1 Lot and Building Dimensions Table.




Pursuant to a City Council Request (CCR) jointly submitted by Council District 1, Development Services staff was asked to review areas within District 1 that have multi-family zoning not consistent with adopted land use plans or current patterns of development and possibly update Section 35-310, relating to existing “MF-33” and “RM-4” zoning designations to address the growing need for housing without compromising the integrity of neighborhoods. 


Development Services Department (DSD) staff organized an RM/MF Task Force, consisting of 16 members from both neighborhoods and the development community. The Task Force met seven (7) times to discuss proposed changes to current “RM” Residential Mixed District and “MF” Multi-Family Districts regulations.


Planning Commission Technical Advisory Committee (PCTAC) considered the item on Monday, October 21, 2019 and recommended approval with 2 amendments to help clarify the code in one amendment and provide additional protection and compatibility with the other amendment.  On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed changes with the two amendments.  The details of the two amendments are provided below.


The Planning and Community Development Committee considered the item on Tuesday, November 12 and recommended the item move forward for consideration. 




The current “RM-4” and “MF-33” zoning designations allow for construction up to 35 feet and 45 feet in height respectively.  There are neighborhoods within Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,  that have “RM” and “MF” zoning prevalent within their neighborhoods as well asother areas of the city, that have lots zoned for this type of development scattered throughout the neighborhood, either through a rezoning approved decades ago or the 2001 UDC code conversion.  Redevelopment of these properties is resulting in incompatible height and lot coverage than adjacent developed properties.      


The proposed amendments to the “RM” and “MF” regulations that the Taskforce is recommending address height, front setback and street orientation. 

                     The proposed code amendment related to height would restrict the height for these districts if directly abutting a single family residential use creating a more appropriate scale for development of multifamily properties within single family residential streets. 

                     To address the lack of a minimum front setback for “MF-33” zoning, the proposed amendments to the “MF” regulations will create a more consistent setback across the blockface for development of multifamily developments within residential blocks. 

                     The proposed amendment that addresses street orientation would require development of 2 to 4 units on these lots that are within residential blocks to have a front entry and walkway face the street for the unit abutting the street, creates the street orientation consistent with the entire residential blockface. 


PCTAC and Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed amendments put forth by the Taskforce and also recommended two amendments that staff is in agreement with:

                     Adding the words “and abutting” in reference to when height limits do not apply.  This will help to clarify that if a property zoned “MF” is abutting a lot zoned single family residential but not used for residential purposes, the restrictive height limitations do not apply.  The property is able to build to the height restrictions for that district.

                     Applying the height restriction of 35 feet/2 ½ stories for multi-family construction on MF-18, MF-25 and MF-33 zoned lots less than one third of an acre.  Lots larger than one third of an acre may be able to exceed the 35 feet/2 ½ stories using the setbacks for height increases after 50 feet from the property line of the residential use. This would help to maintain compatible scale and massing within residential blocks. 


There were other items discussed by the Taskforce related to re-defining height, percent of lot coverage, requiring multiple units to be attached, site plan requirements prior to building permit, and water management and LID requirements that didn’t receive consensus.  As these items have a more global impact and will affect other zoning districts, the Taskforce agreed to table these until the 2020 UDC amendment process to allow more discussion if submitted by any of the Taskforce members during the application process. 




As an alternative, the City Council may choose not to recommend approval of the proposed amendments to the Unified Development Code.








Staff recommends approval of the proposed amendments to the Unified Development Code for the Mixed Residential Districts and Multi-Family Districts as put forward by the Taskforce, Planning Commission Technical Advisory Committee and Planning Commission.