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Your guide to understanding development news in San Antonio

Become a development terminology expert faster than you can say “Special use permit for a mixed-use zone.”

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If all you development detectives are confused by the terminology in reports + press releases, never fear. Here are some definitions of common terms paired with projects in the 210.


Projects that provide more than one purpose in the community, like a building with apartments on top and retail shops on the bottom fall under the mixed-use category. Expect to see combinations of housing, retail, parking, commercial, and industrial components.

Example: Make Ready Market is housed inside the Former Cavender Cadillac dealership. It currently features a brewery with a food hall, local shopping + food vendors, and office spaces.

Infill Development

This term is used when referring to the development of vacant or underutilized lots that are surrounded by areas that are either partially or fully developed.

Example: The City Center Strategic Framework Plan introduced in 2012 addresses infilling the area around downtown, including the Hemisfair/Chavez Corridor and the Broadway/Alamo/South Alamo Corridor

Opportunity zones

These are areas around the 210 where building a site earns you incentives, including a break on real estate taxes and money back from costs of relocating, machinery and equipment, and construction permits.

Example: Port SA is a technology campus and home to leading global industries that contributes $5 billion annually to the regional economy.

Neighborhood Association

This term references recognized group of residents, property owners, or others with fixed interests within a defined boundary, organized to discuss issues related to their community.

Example: The Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association hosts monthly events including potlucks, block parties, and live music.

Principal use

The primary activity or function of a site. A site’s principal use must be aligned with the zoning ordinances of the land it’s on.

Example: Living in a home within a residential zone is an allowable principal use.

Accessory use

An activity or function of a site labeled subordinate or incidental.

Example: You’ll need a permit to put that new shed on your home property, as it is an accessory-use build.

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