Tom Taggart, San Marcos director of public services, tells the city council that he will report back if there are problems with an additional optional watering day for residents. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos City Council moved forward on two water issues last week, despite citizen disapproval and several emotional pleas.
By comfortable margins, the council passed first readings to allow citizens an additional watering day during Stage 1 drought and annex a 22.5 mile tract in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
“Please do not water down the water conservation rules,” said Steve Harvey, a San Marcos resident concerned with repercussions that could unfold due to easing water restrictions.
By a 5-2 vote, the council approved an adjustment in the Stage 1 drought restrictions allowing residents who miss their watering days during the week, to make up for it during the weekend. Residents would go by address numbers, much like the current system, in determining in which of the two weekend days watering would be permitted.
Councilmembers John Thomaides and Gaylord Bose opposed the change.
Tom Taggart, city director of public services, said the change would convenience residents who go “away on business.”
Said Taggart, “If we see any problems (arising due to the new proposal) we will of course bring them to council.”
Not everyone was convinced.
“I understand the inconvenience of being restricted to one specific weekday for irrigation with sprinklers and automatic sprinkler irrigation systems,” Harvey said. “But we all need to come together as a community and restrict our use of water due to the low spring flows at San Marcos Springs.”
Harvey said the proposal would inevitably make Stage 1 restrictions “unenforceable, since no one would ever know whether the resident had already watered once that week, when the second day option was used.”
Councilmembers supporting the adjustment said San Marcos resident can be held to the “honor code.”
Said Councilmember Pam Couch, “I’m looking at this as an option for our citizens, giving credit to our citizens.”
San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz added that “San Marcos citizens do a great job with water conservation.”
San Marcos has been under Stage 1 Drought restrictions since April, 28. Among the restrictions is a limit of one day per week for lawn watering, along with prohibitions against the filling of decorative water features and the washing of impervious cover.
“I think it’s best to leave it the way it is,” Thomaides said.
The council also annexed the 22.5 acres one-mile northwest of Post Road at Lime Kiln Road. The vote went 6-1, with only Bose dissenting.
“This is is not a place we want developments in our community,” said Michelle Bussemey, president of the San Marcos River Foundation. “Please support saving our rivers, saving our springs.”
Chuck Swallow, city director of development services, said the council action regards only the annexation of the property, not its rezoning or any future land use. Thomaides assured residents in attendance that his vote “has nothing to do with the usage of how this property is developed.”
Before the owner can develop the property, city staff said he must through the usual lengthy process that involves zoning the property, council approval of a concept plan, platting, traffic impact analysis, review by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) and final city council approval of the project, among other steps.
“When we do annex, we have more control of what is going to go there,” Couch said.
In other city business, councilmembers gave approval to reinstate curfew hours for minors, which had expired in 2007. Councilmembers also unanimously passed on first reading an ordinance increasing the monthly rate for recycling center services from $0.55 to $0.71 per residential customer. City staff assured council that by second reading different proposals will be presented in efforts to lower costs.Email | Print