Adding Accessory Dwelling Units in San Antonio's Traditional Neighborhoods




Alonzo, Christopher S.

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As San Antonio moves toward its goal of becoming a more sustainable and vibrant city, it follows guidelines outlined in the SA Tomorrow Plan (S. A. Plan 2015). This plan has many goals with several that depend upon an increase in population density near the city's regional centers and along its connecting corridors. Having a more dense population that lives, works, and plays near these centers and corridors allows for a conservation of resources that benefits residents as well as the environment. It allows for an efficient mass transit system that will reduce our carbon footprint and decrease the destruction of natural areas on the city fringe. The plan advocates the protection of the traditional and historic neighborhoods surrounding San Antonio's urban core. These neighborhoods could play a significant role in the placement of affordable accommodations for the increased population density the city seeks. These neighborhoods lack density but have character well worth preserving and are often in need of revitalization. One way to provide affordable housing and allow for an increasing population density without compromising their character is to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU's) behind the historic houses that sit on relatively spacious lots. ADU's provide numerous benefits with limited adverse impacts. This thesis identifies those benefits as well as the difficulties that may exist when adding ADU's in San Antonio. It starts with an explanation of the need for density in San Antonio and the role that transportation plays in accommodating the added density. It then examines the city's form and how it has evolved through history. It looks at the grid-patterned neighborhoods surrounding San Antonio's most important regional center, Downtown. It focuses on the typical block and the lots found in these areas and how they might accommodate the addition of ADU's. It also examines financial considerations along with the building codes San Antonio has adopted to govern ADU additions. The thesis ends with recommendations on what San Antonio can do to maximize the potential gain from adding ADU's to its traditional neighborhoods.



Accessory, ADU, city-block, neighborhoods, planning, sustainability