San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 19th, 2010
Again, San Marcos council rejects Hopkins Street zoning change

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For the second time this month, the San Marcos City Council voted Tuesday night against approving a zoning change that would allow high-traffic businesses on this location at 705 West Hopkins Street. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

The San Marcos City Council once again rejected approval of a zoning request in the Hopkins Street Historic District Tuesday night after two councilmembers changed their original votes from May 4.

Councilmember Gaylord Bose, who voted in favor of the zoning change from Office Professional (OP) to Neighborhood Commercial (NC) at 705 West Hopkins Street at the council’s May 4 meeting, voted in opposition Tuesday night. Councilmember Ryan Thomason who initially voted to oppose the change, voted in favor of the zoning request Tuesday.

In the end, the council wound up with the same 4-3 vote against approving the change that prevailed when it took up the same issue earlier this month.

Bernice Rainosek, the property’s managing partner, requested the zoning reclassification so that she could move a Merle Norman retail store into her building.

Residents opposing the change said approval of the change could set a dangerous precedent.

“You cannot say what will happen when the property changes hands, either to heirs or new owners,” said Hopkins Street homeowner Ryan Perkins in opposition to the NC designation.

Under an NC designation, the property could be put to numerous additional uses, such as a barber/beauty shop, bakery, check cashing service, performing arts school and Kindergarten through 12th grade public and private schools, among others.

Rainosek said her insistence on the zoning change came after city planners advised her that her retail shop could only move into her building on Hopkins Street if the property were rezoned to NC. She said city staff never advised her that a conditional use permit (CUP) could allow her to move the Merle Norman store onto the property. However, she added, she did not ask for alternative solutions.

“I’m disappointed,” she said.

Rainosek claims that she was denied the zoning request because of a small “vocal group (of residents) that is concerned about change”.

Councilmembers Bose, Fred Terry, John Thomaides, and Chris Jones voted in opposition to the zoning request Tuesday, while Thomason, Mayor Susan Narvaiz and Kim Porterfield voted in favor.

Thomaides said 19.8 percent of homeowners within a 200-foot radius signed a petition against the zoning change. If 20 percent of homeowners within a 200-foot radius of a property sign a petition in opposition to a zoning change for that property, then a super-majority of six councilmembers is needed to vote in the affirmative to approve such a change.

Rainosek said she had 11 signatures in support of the zoning change from persons living within a 200-foot radius of 705 West Hopkins Street.

San Marcos City Clerk Sherry Mashburn said Narvaiz approved the matter for Tuesday’s agenda after Rainosek requested it.

“I brought it on the agenda, because (Rainosek) asked,” Narvaiz said after Thomaides asked city attorney Michael Cosentino on the rules for bringing matters onto the agenda after they had failed to previously gain approval. “And I would do it again.”

Narvaiz said that though residents spoke against the zoning change during Tuesday night’s citizen comment period, she has also received phone calls and emails in support. She said all communication for and against a position carry the same weight with her.

Rainosek has submitted a request for a CUP to the planning and zoning commission (P&Z), which will take up the matter at its May 25 meting.

On April 13, the P&Z voted 6-3 to approve Rainosek’s zoning change request for NC, sending the matter to the city council this month.

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0 thoughts on “Again, San Marcos council rejects Hopkins Street zoning change

  1. Hi all, I inadvertently left out of the story the fact that John Thomaides motioned to deny the zoning request. The motion to deny failed with a 5-2 vote, with Thomaides and Gaylord Bose voting in the affirmative to deny the request. A motion to deny, if passed with four affirmative votes, prevents matters from coming to council again for a year.

  2. What happened to “capitalism”? If people oppose what the owners want to do with THEIR land, then they should put up the money and buy it themselves. Afterall, do these people in opposition want this land owner telling them what to do? Frankly, I think the city should buy up some of this property and widen Hopkins to four lanes from Wonder World to downtown (where it’s four lanes anyway), thus bringing more people to enjoy the businesses downtown and build up the area. Would increase revenue, jobs, and sales tax receipts and give us an even more vibrant downtown, especially with the new Wonder World extension opening soon!

  3. How many people signed the petition against, not the percentage but the number? I’m betting the percentage sounds bigger than the raw number. The City should work something out short of a zoning change which would allow Mrs. Rainosek to open the store she wishes to open but prevent the change from passing with the land. It is not like this building is some converted house; it has always been commercial, and she has been there longer than most of the people complaining. It is like the people who moved to 6th street in Austin and then complained there was live music.

  4. All she needs to do is apply for an SUP. She can have her business, comply with zoning regs, and everyone is happy….

  5. to Max – whatever happened to the “property rights” of the existing residential homeowners. Don’t they have rights too? Not to mention the fact that the whole purpose behind zoning is to protect the rights of existing property owners – not necessarily to allow for uses not originally zoned.

    How would you feel if it was going into your neighborhood – next door to your house.

    Property rights cut both ways. And as Chris North pointed out, there is a process to allow for a small exemption to the existing zoning without causing harm in the future.

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