Bars, music venues voluntarily agree to operation changes following resident complaints in Tobin Hill

Tobin Hill residents may start to see improvements after their complaints about crime, parking and trash as area business owners launch changes to their operating standards.

Sixteen of the 19 businesses along the St. Mary’s Strip have voluntarily agreed to make some changes to their operating hours, entry age and pricing for drinks in order to limit problems after their bars close.

There are more than half a dozen changes they call “operating standards.”

Starting the weekend of March 25th, San Antonio police will also begin enforcing residential parking only in some residential areas and place seven officers to patrol and enforce the changes.

The city is currently conducting a parking study that will bring about a more permanent solution that will be presented in May.

The city is also working on a noise ordinance pilot program that could yield some possible solutions by the summer.

Mark Manuelle, the owner of Brass Monkey, says businesses along the St. Mary’s Strip have a lot of money invested into their venues and they want to find a peaceful resolution that will help the area thrive.

“Negotiation is business, so you’re not gonna walk away 100% happy. We’re not gonna walk away 100% happy, but at least we walk away like we got what we needed to get done and I feel a lot better than when we started,” Manuelle explains.

Lynn Knapik, a resident and member of the Tobin Hill Community Association, said there’s skepticism among some homeowners, but she says businesses are showing good effort.

“They just need to be willing to accept that nothing’s gonna happen overnight, but some of those things look like they could take place pretty quickly,” she said.

Business owners have agreed to contribute to a security fund that will have off-duty Bexar County sheriff’s deputies patrol the areas.

That plan is in the works and just needs approval by the sheriff’s office, but will allow deputies to make arrests inside bars or in the neighborhoods.

As for the limited parking, business owners are optimistic that the St. Mary’s Strip will thrive and have rideshare in the future.

Deep Ellum in Dallas faced similar issues. In the 1990s, the city formed the Deep Ellum Foundation.

Executive Director Stephanie Hudiburg said the foundation works to keep stability for businesses and residents. The foundation also handles security and maintenance. She said there are issues but communication is key.

“Not everybody can get on the same page, and we don’t expect them to always do so. But there’s a lot of ground that can be gained by just having that joint understanding,” she said.