Potential New Neighbors in North Side Neighborhood Create Controversy
By Zack Hedrick
Fox San Antonio
March 11, 2016
Some residents of a North Side neighborhood are opposing the construction of five new homes that'll house 25 priests and missionaries
The president of the North Shearer Hills Neighborhood Association says she's worried about the safety of children surrounding their history of sexual abuse by priests, adding a majority of the people that live in the area want to keep things in the neighborhood the same.
But there are neighbors on both sides of the fence on this issue.
This project belongs to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
They plan to demolish four single-family homes to build five, two-story houses at half a million dollars a pop.
But some feel this will bring a drastic change to their quiet neighborhood.
A few weeks ago, the neighborhood of North Shearer Hills, which is just off San Pedro, woke up to a fence around four homes.
"IT sort of gave us a clue but we still didn't imagine this would happen," said Lydia Rodriguez, the president of the neighborhood association.
Rodriguez is not pleased with what is expected to take their place.
"Two story houses [are] going to overwhelm the houses that are left behind them," said Rodriguez. "They just don't fit in our neighborhood."
The Missionary Oblate says the five, two-story houses will be located right across the street from the Oblate School of Theology, and will house a mixture of brothers and priests --both active and retired.
Among a list of other concerns, Rodriguez is worried about cases of abuse of children by priests.
"That has a lot to do with it," said Rodriguez.
Both Rodriguez and other neighbors say not many children live in the neighborhood and most people living in area are at retirement age.
Some think the new buildings will be a good thing.
"My only concern is it going to look like a house or is it going to look like a dorm," said Arthur Treutle, who has been living in the neighborhood for more than 30 years.
In response to concerns from other neighbors about priest behavior, Treutle thinks they're a non-issue.
"I've had a priest living across the street from me approximately 10 years couldn't ask for a better neighbor," said Treutle.
Father Ray John Marek with the Missionary Oblate says the homes will be simple in design.
The province which is based in Washington has been talking with the city on this project for more than a year.
Marek adds if the homes aren't being used in the future, they can be sold back to the neighborhood