The actualization of our local ordinances affects every aspect of our daily lives. VICINIA believes that our built environment affects not only the visuals we see but the choices we make and the patterns we live. This direct correlation in our individual “life essentials” is worthy of serious consideration.
Humans have been conditioned over the last fifty years to lives revolving around the automobile. While this has afforded great convenience, it has also managed to take the “humanness” out of our communities and, arguably, civility out of our lives.
A Transit Oriented Development (TOD), is a compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use community centered around high-quality transit systems. This vibrant, livable, sustainable community makes it possible to live a lower-stress life without dependence on a car for mobility and survival.
The best examples of developments that offer a sense of security, human relevance and comfort to the residents are found in older towns. The way these towns developed more than one hundred years ago reflected what made sense – what best accommodated the daily life of the individual. These towns were not concerned with the demands of the automobile but with the simple needs of the person.
Public gathering places, front porches, balconies, and tree-lined sidewalks emerged not from zoning ordinances but as obvious needs to be fulfilled. There were no case studies or paradigms to guide our fore-fathers in the planning of their community, they used common sense. They sought to find direct solutions to address the daily life functions of the people and relief from the climatic conditions of the region. They then constructed these structures in such a fashion to remain timelessly pleasing to the eye.
The Master Plan and Guiding Principles of VICINIA seek to define the community by means of strategies, drawings, and covenants. The Master Plan and Guiding Principles is the framework from which all growth shall be defined and nurtured. The purpose of such documents is to ensure that the original intent of the community is maintained throughout its design and construction, thereby stabilizing the historical integrity and functional continuity of the town.
The drawings will illustrate the standardized governing architectural styles and scale for the different types of structures. Generous variations will be allowed but only upon review by an Architectural Design Review Board. The intent is not to create “cookie cutter” housing by any means, but rather to reflect a regional and historical benchmark.
Street sections and utility requirements will also be addressed in the drawings and in the covenants. Street sections refer to the spatial relationships of the buildings to the sidewalk, the trees to the road, and ultimately to the pedestrian.
1 This content, as a guideline, is intended to outline the requirements for a Transit Oriented Development community as defined in the San Antonio UDC.
2 To the extent these guidelines do not specifically address components or requirements of the zoning and/or land use ordinances of the city of San Antonio, the existing ordinances shall control. To the extent there is a conflict, the San Antonio UDC shall control.
3 The codes adopted for the neo-traditional community are specific to the indigenous character of this development, ensuring continuity and harmony. Most municipalities have utility and setback regulations based on the old subdivision models of the 1940’s and 50’s. These regulating standards will not support the neo-traditional model and must be revised.
4 Some of the elements that are universally addressed in the master planning phase are the control of building techniques, materials, on-street parking, and utility line placement. Equally as important is the flow of traffic through a network of interconnecting street grids. The idea is to eliminate dead-end roads and cul-de-sacs which limit access and breed confusion.
VICINIA is designed as a 97-acre, mixed-use project consisting of a mix of affordable and market rate housing, retail, senior housing, office, and community facilities, located in a suburban infill area of San Antonio, Texas. Utilizing the city of San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit System, VICINIA can connect its residents to all the offerings and attractions of the city of San Antonio at large.
The site is a greenfield site that the developer has pieced together to realize the vision for development. The project is envisioned as a walkable, mixed-use community, with street oriented retail, and shared parking.
The master plan design features a robust town square, which will be the center of community life featuring events, recreation space, farmers market, etc. The new transit center, which is at the heart of the Transit Oriented Development, is strategically located near the town center providing transit riders direct access to all the amenities that VICINIA has to offer.
The City of San Antonio has developed a significant vision for its future development patterns, specifically around components incorporating mixed-use, which has been memorialized in various Statement of Purpose narratives supported by specific strategies incorporated in the form of use policies to help achieve the envisioned results.
A Transit-Oriented Development district promotes a mixture of residential, commercial, and employment opportunities within identified light rail stations or other high-capacity transit areas. The district allows for a more intense and efficient use of land with increased densities for the mutual re-enforcement of public investments and private development. Uses and development are regulated to create a more intense built-up environment, oriented to pedestrians, to provide a density and intensity that is transit-supportive. The development standards of the district also are designed to encourage a safe and pleasant pedestrian environment near transit stations by encouraging an intensive area of shops and activities, by encouraging amenities such as benches, kiosks, and outdoor cafes, and by limiting conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. It is the intent of this section that a “TOD” district be restricted to areas within one-half of a mile of a transit station, which is equivalent to a typical ten-minute walking distance.