Development on a commercial lot has affected not only the homeowners living on Summer Breeze, but residents like Jennifer Siegler, whose family lives across the street from the property.
At this week’s Mission city council meeting, two items on the agenda drew several residents living on Summer Breeze off of Shary Rd. The items were for conditional use permits that would have allowed the applicant, Arnoldo R. Gonzalez, to build a restaurant with a drive-thru window right next to several residential lots.
Prior to the public hearing, Planning and Zoning Director Jaime Acevedo said that the applicant claimed they were close to reaching an agreement with the residents of the area, and requested the items to be tabled. Based on the reactions from homeowners present, that was not the case.
“Any resident who lives on Summer Breeze can tell you that we decided to purchase a home on this street because of the cul-de-sac, typically that means you have less traffic and more privacy,” Kaylee Edwards said. “With this new development going up at the only entrance and exit to our street, we are very unhappy with the current future increase in traffic.”
The planning and zoning staff recommended approval of the items, but the planning and zoning committee recommended denial of the items.
During the hearing, council listened to the residents who came forward and voiced their disapproval of the development, stating that a restaurant with a drive-thru so close to residences was not safe for their children and would contain grease traps and large garbage bins that would attract insects and rodents.
“My kids were able to walk home without me worrying that something was going to happen,” Vanessa Martinez said, noting that she is an educator and her husband is a state trooper, so they cannot pick their kids up. “This is just in the construction stage, once it is built, I don’t know the risk that my children are going to face walking home because of the higher amount of traffic.”
32 neighbors met at Paula Wells’ home with the developers, particularly Jorge Gonzalez, and their attorneys a week before the city council meeting to discuss a possible resolution to their issues with the development. Neither side could find a compromise.
The issues with the development don’t just reside with the residents on Summer Breeze. Residents across the street are also dealing with other issues regarding the development, being done currently by Ancer Construction.
Jennifer Siegler and her family, who have had a presence in Mission since the 1950’s, have been trying to reach out to the developers and Ancer Construction, since Dec. 14 of last year. That morning, the Sieglers discovered that a large plywood sign had flown from the property across the five lane Shary Rd. and into the front of their house, knocking out one of their security cameras.
“My husband called the number on the sign, and we knew who it belonged to, it said ‘Ancer Construction’ on it,” Siegler said. “A whole bunch of the construction crew’s trash has also flown into our yard.”
Siegler said a man affiliated with Ancer Construction came to their home when they called, picked up some of the trash and took the sign back. When her husband asked about paying for the camera, the man said it wasn’t their problem.
“My husband said ‘no, I honestly believe it was your property that destroyed it, we need to hear from the owners as to what they plan on doing about it,’” Siegler said. “We gave them until Jan. 22 to say something to us about it, and we heard nothing.”
The repairs for the camera would cost $200. After over one month of no contact, Jennifer attempted to reach their attorney, Abiel Flores, former Mission city attorney, for answers at the neighborhood meeting.
Flores told her to send the photos she had of the damage in an email so he could forward them to his client. After one more week of silence from Ancer Construction, Siegler called the police and filed for the property in small claims court.
“And for a developer, $200? I wasn’t asking for the world,” Siegler said. “The one camera, that was all I was asking.”
Gonzalez was not present at the council meeting to state his case for the permits. After hearing the public opinion, the council unanimously voted to deny the permits.
The group was excited about the decision, but are also weary in the event that the developers try again in six months.
“It was quite something,” Siegler said. “It was nice to see that the little person can still win, and that democracy still works.”