The shaded areas on the map show where San Marcos would allow sexually oriented businesses under the option most favored by city councilmemnbers.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos City Council once again unanimously extended a moratorium Tuesday night prohibiting sexually oriented businesses (SOBs) from coming into the city.
The moratorium, effective immediately, is set to expire June 30.
Council also directed staff to draft an ordinance that will do away with an original stipulation requiring performers to be at least three feet from patrons, though touching is still restricted.
Councilmember John Thomaides was concerned that the San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) might not have the resources to enforce the three-foot rule, saying council shouldn’t support unenforceable laws.
SMPD Chief Howard Williams said that regardless of the three-foot rule, there would be a police presence at SOBs.
“There are issues that develop around these businesses that can be minimized by police presence,” Williams said. “They won’t go away. But they can be minimized.”
The council has discussed SOBs at length in several regular meetings since the city turned to 2 a.m. bar closing time last May. Thus, the city has addressed an SOB ordinance for nearly a year without success.
“None of us like talking about this subject,” San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said. “It’s difficult.”
Narvaiz said the discussion is necessary because the city is mandated to provide areas where such businesses can legally operate. City staff presented council with three options Tuesday night for how to locate SOBs under an ordinance.
One option would be to allow the SOBs to locate in the same 37 percent of the city where they could now locate unless the city were to pass a more restrictive ordinance specifically addressing them. No such business is allowed within 1,000 feet of churches, schools, residences, parks, bars, or the central business area (CBA).
Another option would allow SOBs to locate in about 4.7 percent of the city’s land area. It allows SOBs to move into heavy and light industrial zones while increasing the buffer to 1,500 feet.
A third option, which the council has directed staff to further develop, allows SOBs in 22 percent of the city’s land area with 1,500-foot buffer zones. The same option calls, additionally, for buffers from Interstate-35 and the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) and abatement zones.
The latter specifications could resolve a council concern arising from the second option, which would allow SOBs to locate in industrial zones — particularly on or near Clovis Barker Road — with $150 more than million of public investment.
Among the public projects either completed or in the works for that area of the city are the $26.4 million Wonder World extension, a three-mile stretch of the planned southeastern loop (FM 110) near McCarty Lane for $29.4 million, the $21 million City of San Marcos Conference Center on McCarty Lane just east of I-35, a $6.9 million widening project for Hunter Road between Wonder World Drive and Bishop Street, a $74 million proposed Hays County government center near Wonder World Drive and Stagecoach Trail, and a United States Armed Forces Reserve Center near Clovis Barker Road just east of I-35.
Council also directed staff to prohibit SOBs from moving near the outlet malls, Centerpoint Road, and Wonder World Drive, though option three initially allowed it.
Available land also is up for grabs near the San Marcos Municipal Airport, but the land is public land and the city would have to approve purchase or lease of said land to anyone including SOBs.Email | Print