San Antonio's growth is underscoring the need for an updated comprehensive plan. Now, the city is about to embark on a yearlong public outreach campaign to gather input from the community ahead of a possible new master plan. Over the next year, the city will collect data and feedback from those who know best, as to which areas of town are too congested or could use more resources.
San Antonio's been a town known for tourism, the military, and its medical centers. Now, however, new industries, like energy, have shown up. But there's a lack of land capacity to grow in certain areas. And as people rediscover a love for the inner city again, they want to walk to work or bike to the store.
City planning director John Dugan said habits are changing. “People don’t want to spend a lot of their time in a car,” he said. “They have better use of their time, both for work and leisure. So if they can live close to where they work and take another mode of transportation, like walking or biking or transit, people, certainly younger people, will do that. That means we have to respond to that kind of demand in the market.”
Any policy recommendations would be approved by the city council next year, after the research and feedback are completed. Dugan said comprehensive plans began in the 1900s. Challenges have increased, he said, regarding the management of large population growth.
“Cities started out with 10- 20,000 people. Now they're hundreds of thousands and millions and tens of millions of people; how to coordinate all of our resources, all the demands for services, the different kinds of housing and community types together, with all the different actors, private, public, that's what a comprehensive plan is all about.”
Transportation, housing, police and fire stations, historic preservation, and protecting natural resources, will be focal points for working groups who will study the facets of an overall comprehensive new plan.