On Wednesday April 1st, concerned citizens in San Antonio will be flooding city council chambers to demand that zoning regulations be enforced in regards to the Planned Parenthood facility coming to 2140 Babcock Road. Truly a citizen-led effort, local activists have been organizing on a weekly basis to raise awareness of the proposed facility, which raises several pertinent legal and procedural questions.
According to a letter written by San Antonio Senior Planner Trenton Robertson, the location of the new Planned Parenthood facility is illegally zoned for such an entity. This issue alone has been the crux of a lawsuit against the city by neighborhood resident Thelma Franco. Despite her residence in the neighborhood, the city tried to challenge her standing in the lawsuit because she lives more than 200 feet away. Interestingly enough, the city never conducted a traffic study regarding this new facility to verify that its construction would not have a disparate impact on residents in the area.
San Antonio is already notorious for its traffic, and mobility concerns are paramount for residents. Those concerns don’t seem to be shared by local officials, however, who tend to favor crony taxpayer boondoggles such as streetcars and toll roads (both of which fly in the face of voters’ expressed wishes) over meaningful solutions. The proposed 22,000 sq. foot Planned Parenthood mega-center is expected to add an additional 28,000 vehicles to the area’s already congested roadways. In addition to obvious moral objections, these issues have been motivating residents and a coalition of groups including the San Antonio Family Association to oppose the facility’s construction.
Despite weekly rallies by said groups, San Antonio’s mainstream media has largely ignored the issue. On Wednesday, citizens wearing blue will engage in a “show of force” to raise awareness about Planned Parenthood skirting the law. The rally will take place at 5:30 P.M. at City Council chambers, with an opportunity for citizens to sign up to speak on the issue until 6:00.