Parking complaints get ugly surrounding art gallery

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by Karen Grace / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @KENSKarenGrace

kens5.com

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 18 at 6:30 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- It's getting a little ugly for an art gallery in the Beacon Hill community.  

Critics say it's causing parking nightmares for people who live around it.  
 
Neighbors say the gallery is causing cars to congest their streets and that the property is zoned for a home not a business.
 
"There are a lot of artists in this neighborhood that have come out the woodwork," said Celeste Wackenhut, a spokeswoman for the French and Michigan Gallery.
 
"We feel like we really are a good thing for the community," added Wackenhut.
 
Every stroke of art inside the the gallery helps a local or regional artist pay their bills.
 
Tom Turner hopes it stays put.  
 
"This is about supporting local businesses and letting them thrive," said Turner, a local artist.
 
But despite the beauty on the inside, it's whats on the outside that has neighboring critics giving bad reviews.  The cars are crowding and congesting their neighborhood streets.  
 
"Again no parking," exclaimed Jessica Fuentes, who wants the gallery to relocate because she says the unwanted traffic is jeopardizing safety.  
 
"Near missed accidents," she said as she presented a slide show to the Planning Commission mid-day Wednesday.
 
Fuentes says one night the gallery attracted more than 300 guests to the Beacon Hill Community.  
 
She pleaded for the land to be used as a residential space. But to the naked eye the property doesn't resemble a house.
 
 That's because the building was originally an auto shop that was transformed into an urban loft in the 90's.
 
The property is zoned as half residential and half mixed use.  
 
That's a canvas the gallery hopes to change by rezoning the property to commercial.
 
"We don't want to be here illegally," said Wackenhut.  "We want to be zoned correctly."
 
Carol Cunningham, a recent Texas Tech graduate added, "I think they are an asset to the community especially the art community."

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