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Carma Development, LP, is proposing that the city provide up to $30 million in property tax reimbursements to defray the costs of infrastructure improvements for a 1,338-acre gated community with 3,427 homes in southern San Marcos.

The developer is asking the city to create a Tax Increment Re-investment Zone (TIRZ) for the Paso Robles project to be located west of Interstate-35, near the intersection of Hunter Road and Centerpoint Road. Carma also is developing the Blanco Vista project, a development calling for 2,000 homes on the north end of the city. The development opened right as the local housing market began to slump in 2008.

According to the state comptroller’s office, tax increment financing enables cities to borrow funds for structural and infrastructural improvements in some zone, then use the property taxes gained from the resulting incremental improvements of the property values within that zone to pay off the debt. In this case, Carma Austin General Manager Shaun Cranston said his company would pay the up-front cost. The city would then repay the developer for the improvements.

However, disagreement arose at the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting between Cranston and city staff as to which party is responsible for funding the proposed improvements. Cranston said the city would ordinarily be required to pay for the improvements through its capital improvements program. City of San Marcos Senior Planner Sofia Nelson retorted that infrastructure within a development is the responsibility of the developer.

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444 thoughts on “Paso Robles developer seeks city tax incentive

  1. City taxes? I didn’t think city services went out this far south or that existing developments i.e. McCarty Ranch were in city limits.

  2. I don’t know what is more distasteful to me….the thought of having this type of mega-development so close to my neighborhood or the thought that this development might will likely bring talk of the City annexing our area to snatch up all these new property taxes.

  3. The way the deal should work is that Carma pays to put in the utilities first. Because without the utilities the development doesn’t happen. It’s a cost of doing business.It’s not the City’s job to participate in a devlopment as a money man. Not in this development, nor in others (Springtown)

    But I’d follow the money if I were you Dano.

  4. Outside on the steps of City Hall after their presentation, I overheard the developers thank one of the people who spoke in favor. The developers also remarked they were surprised there was so little opposition.

  5. Can someone please explain how a residential development generates annual sales taxes of $2.1 million? Sounds great, but sounds untrue.

  6. Well, dandy. Now my friends Sherwood and Bucky think we should pay to have sprawl on TWO ends of town–in the Sink Creek watershed, and a Siamese twin in the Cottonwood/Purgatory. And dense non-arterial traffic bracketing us north and south. And there is lots of money laid out in front–at least in promises–to help us with our surplus greenspace problem. Since tax incentives are funny money, like a credit card bill, maybe we can use the “windfall” profits to all take a vacation in Tahiti. And what would both do to the population load and consequent drain on all City services, again, on a time line, Binky? (The huge returns are going to be near-term, before the developers leave, right?) And the jobs the jubilant prospective residents would go to every day? They are here, right? The gift of recent sitting Councils? I know I have heard a lot of talk, but I didn’t know we actually had a job surplus waiting for so many.

    I’ll certainly sleep well, knowing my stalwart and wise P&Z Commissioners are willing to over-ride professional staff time after time. The staff never trained to do “big bidness,” anyway, right? They are all just a bunch of local yokels, and maybe don’t even play money golf. (Who’s going to collect, treat and distribute all that gray water, again? Will the treatment plant be right handy, like in a waterway, floodplain or recharge area? Or are WE going to treat it and build the mains to haul it overland to irrigate Valhalla?) Thanks for going slowly, boys, while we have time to scrutinize this deal and learn some stuff. Unlike your most recent trophy Economic Gab-bag of fast-money projects.

    The drama lies in whether these dandies can make it out of the chute (or past the guard-dogs) before November, when we may have a bunch of UNRELIABLE folks sitting up there.

    No, you sillies, the golf course isn’t going to be FREE, just “public.” Otherwise, those all-important “numbers just don’t work.”

    Oy veh! “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,” and at other times like a critter wounded in the middle of the highway, just waiting for the vultures.

    And you may be right, Dano. The City can’t legally provide services to areas not annexed, so unless you live in the Laurel Estates area, which is undevelopable for annexation, welcome to the banking community.

  7. The golf course?

    I’m just not clear how a huge development on the outskirts of town lines up with our “work, live, play” concept. I thought the idea was to get more residences and more careers downtown, where people already play. The development sounds fine, I just don’t see $30 million worth of value here.

    Likewise, I favor the concept of a TIRZ, but feel that those incentives ought to be reserved for improvements which are high on the City’s list of priorities. Infrastructure south of town, to facilitate more sprawl, seems counter to our goals.

    What I’d like to see, is incentives for real work, live, play options, downtown, which don’t involve living in an apartment and working in retail, which follow the letter, *and the spirit* of our master plan(s). It would be even better, if those incentives went to developments which went above and beyond, in ways that were likely to make them successful examples and/or attract more of the same (i.e. *not* repeats of Sanctuary Lofts).

  8. Mayor Moore, my understanding is that this will be a senior community, so they won’t be looking for jobs, nor will they be putting a burden on our roadways, by venturing out to the rest of the city.

    That’s what I am told, anyway.

  9. If you build it they will come sure sounds good in a movie, but in real life, I’m not so sure. Seems like every month another big development in Travis County goes bust.

    Mr. Harvey are you sure they were just thanking them,or was there an envelope full of cash too?

  10. This is not smart growth. Building homes that not many in San Marcos can afford. Those kinds of homes are built for people with career driven jobs. Those are few and far between in San Marcos. Why would CARMA want to try this again?
    It seems that some of the homes built in their Blanco Vista subdivision have gone on to renters; and by renter I mean
    college students. (The same with the subdivision on 21, just off 80.) The people who did buy in to this subdivision were not expecting to eventually live in what could someday be another “Sagewood” slum.

  11. Of course, one could ASSUME, in trusting our local REPRESENTATIVES, that we have adequate cheap water on hand to feed these mega-developments? And water/wastewater treatment capacity on hand, without having to do any more of those costly expansions? Surely no more related CIP big-dollar “fast-track” projects embedded here.

    John McG, it can be made to work on PAPER. It’s easy. Even on a PowerPoint, if you’d like.

    And what of our local, relatively small-time building and development operators? Should they just move away, because the market is already taken?

    Are WE aware of the “more or less standard” margin of profit it takes to make any development bankable or attractive to investors? A good thing to grant clarifying perspective to offers of pie in the sky. Will these guys agree by contract to come here and live in their “product” until it is built out, and help us pay the taxes?

    Maybe (tongue in cheek) we should make as a benchmark that each new “special deal” we get these “big boys” to pay cash money up front to make good the oversights and broken promises of the last people to stampede through here. That might cure some egg-sucking dogs.

    Steve, not long ago you asked “what group of locals comes out to support all these wild proposals?” What a BoR-ing question. The marvel of there being a “surprising lack of opposition”? If you fly it under the radar as has become the custom, with help from City Hall; if your timing is right and quick, you don’t have to put up with the nuisance of the locals demanding a better look at the gift horse. And the voter/taxpayers are dozing and distracted and starving for good news, anyway. I give you the “Buie Tract,” in its rich glory.

    Has the outside world somehow figured out that SM is a good place to get freebies? That our town will take on unlimited amounts of long-term debt so we can hitch up our suspenders and feel important for a day? Not I. Give me manageable and sustainable growth that actually feeds the COMMUNITY, rather than the opposite.

    Finally (sigh of general relief), is it called “CARMA” because it is our unavoidable destiny?

  12. Ted and Trudy, you sly little rascals. Thanks. So, the deal is that we get a few thousand more “senior citizens” living in “high-dollar” homes and enjoying City, County and SMCISD tax exemptions. I love it more all the time. Some darned fine financial minds at work here.

    And to think, they are being led into the fray by Good Ed Theriot, our very own former Director of Planning (who is quite expert, by the way, having started out as an intern and worked up). Odd coincidence, huh?

  13. I don’t see how building a golf course in a drought prone part of the country and over (or near) an environmentally sensitive area of a major source of drinking water is such a good idea. Especially when you take into account that in the U.S. there is glut of golf courses many of which are closing. This of course also prompts the question, why should the good people of San Marcos have to pony up 30 million to induce sprawl in a time when such development goes counter to good stewardship of the public purse and the environment?
    I say if you want sprawl go to other cities like Houston and if you want a ruined environment I hear New Jersey is the place to be. And before some yahoo says that I am anti-growth (which would be akin to saying that I am anti-breathing) lets look at improving infrastructure within the city limits; provide tax incentives to small business’s who expand or who update their infrastructure; create opportunities where our residents can become better educated and prosperous where they now reside. These are but a few of the things we should be doing to make our city by the river a more attractive place to live, work ,and play.

  14. When, oh, when are we and our “leaders” going to notice that we should be SELLING our quality of life, not BUYING it from strangers passing through? Do we think so little of ourselves as a community that we have to stand by the highway with our collective skirts lifted above the knee, in order to get a ride to the future? If so, what KIND of future are we really BUYING? (It’s an urban planning–and zoning–thing, Bubbie.) We may be a bunch of hayseeds, but we are still, so far, for my money, the pick of the litter.

    And if these hulking-big passers-by are so smart, why aren’t they taking their show to where the REAL money is, in the metros? Or Highland Lakes? Are we, as Ted or somebody suggested a couple of weeks ago, just another discount shop? And why such huge projects at a time–are we mimicking Kyle, or something? We really do “have it ALL,” for cities in our weight class. And we can keep that advantage, if we really want to. It is a “Texas Natural,” after all. So far.

    Sorry if I seem like some kind of “no-growther.” Actually, quite the opposite, sort of…. I just think we should look under the magnifying glass a little more, to make sure those are real diamonds out there, rather than going back afterward (See above snide comment about Sanctuary Lofts.) to find out they are zircons or pasties. We have the ability to seek and facilitate the real thing: Affordable Sustainability–only kind of investment to make..

  15. Mr Moore, it isn’t a case of you being a nogrowther, rather uncontrolled growth is called cancer, and no growth is called death. Somewhere inbetween lies the answer.

  16. I’m not a no-growther, either. Much to the dismay of many, I am sure, I am in favor of a northwest counterpart to the Wonder World extension, to get more of the traffic off our interior streets and I think I would support Mixed Use on Chestnut, assuming this is the site of Rivendell, which I think it is. Both are VERY near my home, BTW. To me, both make sense.

    I’m not even opposed to this Carma development. I just don’t see it as bringing a benefit to the city worthy of an incentive. There are goals laid out for the direction the city wants to go. Perhaps some of those need to be clarified, since interpretations tend to vary, wildly. Still, the goals are there, and incentives should be reserved for those developments which measurably *exceed* those goals.

    I don’t give my people bonuses for simply showing up to work on time. I certainly don’t negotiate shorter work hours and then incentivize people to show up for those. I like to reward meaningful performance toward an established goal. Of course, my funds are finite. Shareholders would never stand for me rebating all of our new revenue to a set of employees (marginal, or exemplary) and shrugging it off as “money we wouldn’t have had in the first place.”

  17. If this is a senior community, it sounds like the Sun City Georgetown development, and if that is the case, I see absolutley no downside to it at all. And as far as it fostering urban sprawl, this is less than a mile from the outlet mall, we have already sprawled that far.

  18. North to south, along IH35, we extend about the same distance as going from William Cannon, to 183 in Austin. That’s a lot of territory, for a city of 50,000 people. Granted, it is pretty narrow at either end, but the question remains, do we want to incentivize development and infrastructure at the two ends, or in the middle?

    Of course, as stated earlier, location alone should not qualify one for an incentive, but in this case, I would think it would disqualify one.

  19. In the interest of full disclosure, this new development would run right up to my back property line so I am directly affected by it. And I am not looking forward to looking out my back door and seeing a neighborhood – or even a golf course – instead of the untamed ranch land that we currently see. I find that thought depressing, actually.

    That being said, I don’t necessarily oppose the development. I understand that growth is necessary and it will happen eventually…..I just want it to be done right and I don’t want to see the City rolling over and playing dead for yet another out of town (heck, out of the COUNTRY, if I understand correctly) developer.

    Given the lack of success in their north-side development, I don’t have the utmost confidence in this developer and I question why the City would be willing to accept this latest set of projections from them at face value. I drove through that property recently and while it was impressive to see the level that they have worked that up out there, it was also depressing to see so much of the development languishing in its unsold/unsellable state.

  20. Larry, I think development should be wherever developers want to put it, provided it is permitted.

    I don’t think the city ought to be subsidizing development on the outskirts of town.

  21. Mr Marchut, shouldn’t that have read “provided the developer pays for all of it as well as permitted”

    If a developer complies with all the various laws, and funds their own project, I’m fien with it. But avoiding compliance, as many have in our fair county over the years (one in particular, like Dano here, by my land) and asking the taxpayers to help fund it, no way in hades.

  22. I agree with you Winchester, and everyone else. One interesting point: this is the 3rd incarnation of this type of golf course community on this property. Previous projects fizzled out… Studies show that only 12% of people who live in golf course communities actually play golf. They just want to have the ‘greenspace’ out their back door. So why not have the golf course community with the golf course. And don’t get me started on “gated communities”. They suck.
    Also, Ed (DarthVader) Theriot threatened the Parks board with legal action for being an “activist board” because they did not approve the request for not providing public parkland or “money in lieu of” for this mega-development. Really, Ed. You still have time to come back from the dark side.

  23. Large scale infrastuctue imporvements have traditionally by the responsibility of a city. As I understand it, that is what this tax increment district is designed to address.
    If you are going to assemble this much land for a devlopment adjacent to San Marcos, where else do you do it. The only place I could think of would be on the ranchland out RR 12, over the recharge zone, would that be preferable?
    The fact that San Marcos stretches for as far as from William Cannon to Hwy 183 does not bother me. If you build west, you build over the reachage zone, build east and you plow under some ofthe best farmland in this part of the state, and you build on clay soils.
    Blanco Vista is the nicest new residential development in the city, and it is also the victim of horrendously bad timing. The build out time for a 1378 acre, 3400 home develpment is years. CARMA is not proposing this with our current housing market in mind, but with what the think our housing markent will be in 5 to 10 years.

  24. One thing that sucks about San Marcos is there are so few neighborhoods immune to college rentals. They either have to be too expensive or far away from campus. So if you want to build affordable, away from campus the utilities have to be extended in an affordable way. If the city wants this type of development they should consider partnering with the developer. It sounds like that’s what is happening here. The city extended all kinds of infrastructure in the “preferred growth area” (Horizons Master Plan) and no one is taking advantage. That’s because it UGLY over there around the high school. People want to live on the west side. For evidence, look at Willow Creek, the only place where any decent houses have been built lately (in significant numbers). Look for more of this type development out RR12 now that the extension is complete. As to sprawl, remember when there was a drive-in theater where Walmart is now? Sprawl is relative.

  25. If this is Carma paying for infrastructure that the city is supposed to fund, with the city reimbursing them out of future property taxes, then ok. If it is the city paying Carma back for infrastructure which they (Carma) were responsible for, by ordinance or otherwise, then no.

    It does not sound like there is agreement about which bucket we are filling. So, again, I don’t really care where the development goes. This is just not something we need to be subsidizing.

  26. How does this relate to the southern portion of the long-term “loop” around San Marcos? I thought Centerpoint was intended for this at one time on the long range transportation master plan. Since this development is proposed to be a gated community where us regular folk can’t enter by vehicle, I guess that means Centerpoint will “end” (terminate) in this neighborhood? Is Wonder World the new south part of the loop, or is there still talk of McCarty becoming the southern ring? Just curious!

    And, yes, I still believe it is a shame they want to fence off all these people from the rest of the community. Just doesn’t seem very friendly, nor does it foster community spirit.

    I mean, gosh, I remember there were only about 6,900 homes on the City’s trash pickup route a few years ago, and this development plans to increase the number of homes in the city by 50% more, yet all of them will be gated away from us regular folk. I guess these homes are intended for the elite? And is that what we want to subsidize?

  27. They asked for that portion of the loop to be move to McCarty. I am not sure if that request is still out there or not.

  28. Everyone please remember that this is the developer who wants to move the 110 Loop.
    Loop 110 is proposed to run right through their development, but they are trying to get the city council to move it to the existing West McCarty Lane.

    Ted, they are trying to make an end run over the disbanded TAB.

    As stated above, if you live on McCarty Lane it WILL effect your land and home. The 110 Loop is scheduled to be 4 lanes along with streetscaping. Will the city try to buy this right-of-way from current homeowners or will they try to take it by eminent domain?

  29. Ted, check the current city council agenda. I had a memo e-mailed to me today by the planning dept. that states it was “recommended” for approval. The memo was from Sofia Nelson, senior planner to the p&z

  30. Larry, the developer is responsible for infrastructure. Period.

    And McCarty Lane was ALWAYS planned to be part of the 110 Loop. I have TXDot’s complete environmental impact study dated July 1994 for the San Marcos Loop, if you’d like to come take a look.
    The Wonder World Drive extension should have been McCarty all along, since one environmentally damaging road project is better than two, for cost considerations, and because if you want to build a “bypass” it should actually BYPASS the town. I’m just saying.

  31. According to the San Marcos Horizons City Master Plan (which San Marcos as in “we” already paid to have done) it has loop 110 running through Carma’s new development. I personally attended a transportation advisory board meeting while Ted was in attendance and on the board, where by Carma asked them to approve moving that loop to McCarty. TAB turned them down, stating the obvious problems with current McCarty homeowners. Some stated they thought it would be easier to build it into a new development then put it on an existing street.

    Everyone can find the San Marcos Horizons City Master Plan on the Plannings official San Marcos web-site.

  32. Regarding the amendment to the Transportation Master Plan: It was bundled into the agenda item with two other amendments. When commissioners reached that item on the agenda it was nearing midnight, and some reported fatigue. Commissioner Sherwood Bishop asked staff whether they could postpone that item. Senior Planner Sofia Nelson replied the amendments were scheduled for city council review next week, and she said if P&Z didn’t take action, city councilmembers could not take action. One commissioner, before making the relevant motion, commented that he could barely see.

    The amendment relevant to Paso Robles would move part of the FM 110 loop to McCarty Lane.

    “There would be right of way improvements that would be necessary, but the routing of that would shift over to McCarty Lane rather than constructing a new road that runs parallel,” Nelson said.

  33. A portion of CR 110 was removed from the Transportation Master Plan by P&Z this past Tuesday. Also, Carma is not wanting the City to reimburse them for anything they are supposed to pay on their own.

  34. So to be clear, the Paso Robles development agreement and related land use changes were postponed for consideration until August 10, and the commissioners recommended approval of a Transportation Master Plan amendment that would move a portion of the future FM 110 (San Marcos Loop) to McCarty Lane west of Interstate 35.

  35. really Eric? the P&Z can’t remove s–t from the Transportation Master Plan. Seriously= you need to bone up on your procedures. And who are you really?

  36. And the FM 110 Transportation Master Plan amendment is relevant to PasoRobles because, as stated by someone else in this thread, Carma did not want FM 110 running through Paso Robles. A staffmember said the amendment “was in part, response to Paso Robles. This segment went through their property. They did not want it to go through the property, and so it’s being moved to McCarty. It’s in the development agreement.”

  37. I admit, I could not stand to read the whole article because I got totally sick to my stomach and threw up a little in my mouth. I’ll try again, but WHAT DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT???

  38. Chris, try this, the agreement is buried in p&z minutes and agenda.

    ci.san-marcos.tx.us/departments/planning/CDBG/docs/072310PZpckt.pdf

    Also, has anyone REALLY looked at the numbers? Lets see, Carma says they WILL invest 7 Hundred Million at full build out.

    700,000,000 take out roughly 100,000,000 for a PGA approved golf course which leaves
    600,000,000 (6 hundred million dollars)
    600,000,000 divided by 3427 homes = $175,080.25 per lot (roughly 5.4 homes per acre)
    Now I thought land developers were SUPPOSE to develop lots then sell them to a builder to build upon. So who in their right would pay $175.080. for just a lot in this new development? The last interview (I have a hard if needed) Carma gave a year and a half ago they stated they wanted the homes to be the medium home price for this area. Either Carma is being untruthful about how much money they are planning on putting into this property or they WILL go broke. They have to sell these lots for at least this amount to break even.

  39. “We-elll… “, as our now departed Muhammad-figure used to say from the White House (one would like to think, AFTER he has stopped acting for the cameras):

    It may be useful to know that the fabled Sun City in Wiliamson County, briefly mentioned above, which was designed to catch all the military retirees in Central Texas, sat there for over a decade, and I believe going through several phases of ownership in the meanwhile, before it “took.”

    The two or three “golf-oriented developments” were indeed proposed for the current Impact Zone during the ’90’s, a couple of which I personally sought and promoted, though not in that exact location. The problem, going back to Ms. Wassenich’s above-mentioned concerns, is that they could never make the details about WATER use and supply come out “so the numbers work.” (Nobody has yet addressed my earlier concerns, also stated above, related to this most critical of issues.

    One reason Willow Ridge and the surrounding area are up to City standard, more or less, is that during the late ’80’s, we in the village mandated that, in order to be approved for City services, they must be brought in already in compliance with our standards. (We learned a whole lot from Laurel Estates, which was done “free-style,” and thus could never be annexed without the City’s going back retroactively and providing proper streets, W/WW, sidewalks, drainage, and all the rest).

    As for Bob (Habingreither?) and his comment about the preferred-growth area being “UGLY”: at least it is not in a floodplain, where we always seem to stick our less affluent. At least it does not offer to put chemical runoff, etc., straight into our drinking water supply. If your be-all and end-all is a “spectacular hill country vista,” Charlie, then be willing to pay for it. And to comply with the silly regulations of those who drink the water and travel the roads.

    Again, someone above seems puzzled about the proposed route of FM 110. It was never Centerpoint, never should be. It has always been McCarty to RR12 and back around to roughly Yarrington (Note the Development Agreements with landowners like Mr. Harry Reasoner at the time we brought in C-Fan and BFG (1987-88?)–REAL economic development partners.) Yes, it’s there in the State, regional, and local Plans. And yes, it was watched carefully by the Transportation Advisory Council, as I have noted earlier–in the hands of REAL “San Martians” like Jane Hughson. (I think maybe that is why the TAC needed to be ignored, stifled, finally disbanded–got in the way of the opportunists. Ask JANE. i don’t know.)

    Chris N. may be ugly, loud, obnoxious, or any other slanders I have heard about her, but Lord Almighty (sorry, not a blasphemy, just amazement) that girl is smart! And dedicated. And free of charge. (That may be what got HER “encouraged” off of P&Z, where she had become an unbearable pain in the Regime’s ass.) [Can I say that?] Like Jane, she is a compulsive note-taker and fact-noter. I feel about those two ladies sort of like Marion Morrison, the iconic American fantasy hero, always said about Maureen O’Hara just before she succumbed to his overwhelming
    testosterone cloud: “I like a woman with a lotta spunk! Pilgrim.” I think he meant one that might scratch our your eyes and kick you in the “hoo-hoo’s” before being thrown to the ground and ravished. (Maureen never GAVE ‘it’ away” and refused to sell it.) Far adrift and off course, it is worth noting that Marion got his cherished name of “Dook”) because he could never be the “King” of Hollywood fantasy. That was Clark Gable. Puzzle that out!

    SMLN has provided us with this marvelous vehicle for community dialogue, but I still have one question searing my mind: Are we just a tiny coven of whey-faced individuals sitting hunched in our garrets over the glowing blue screens and HOPING things come out alright and trading smart-ass sound bites with each other? Or is all this wonderful and increasingly insightful dialogue leading to some ACTION? You can’t build a community just in your mind. You have to go out and mingle with the sweaty, the unwashed, the tedious, the unpleasant, the ordinary, if all this is going to contribute a damned thing to how people live in the San Marcos of the future.

    Go get ’em, boys and girls. And if you know or have a favorite candidate, you might well hint to them that the NS crowd MIGHT be at their heels, come the public meetings surrounding the upcoming election. THOSE SAFE PLATITUDES ABOUT “JOBS, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT, TOWN/GOWN RELATIONS, HELPING THE LITTLE POOR CHILDREN, AND WORLD PEACE” may have played well enough until now, but that “merd” (tee hee) is OVER. Too much at stake.

  40. By the way, I sorta think the job of P&Z and the Council is to measure a proposed development by how well IT fits in with the Ordinance which is our long-term Plan, and to help it fit. It is not the other way ’round, legally or morally or reasonably. Ms. Couch, among others, is quite wrong to suggest that the Plan is “just, you know, kind of a loose guideline.” She said it into a live mike and it is on the record. Does Bucky agree?

  41. Mayor Moore, I believe you are mistaken. I was at the TAB meeting (Jane Hughson had longs since stepped down) and we were most certainly presented with maps, by the city, which showed the loop as being south of McCarty (although it was not at Centerpoint), West of IH35. Figure ES-3 (page ES-8) of the Transportation Master Plan also clearly shows this.

    I should also point out that, according to the city, loop 110 is intended to be as large as, or larger than, the Wonder World Extension. It is intended to be a *limited access highway*, so there will be large shoulders and a large median. Also, since there are already side streets feeding into McCarty, changing it to a limited access highway would require access roads alongside, I believe. Please do not misunderstand “4 lanes and streetscaping” to mean a little widening and beautification.

    Carma basically said that the road would make their homes unsellable. OK, OK, they said “very difficult to sell,” or something along those lines. I guess it is ok for the homes on McCarty to be unsellable, though. I asked Carma and for all practical purposes, they said yes, that is ok. Check the minutes. Better yet, get the audio tape.

    At some point, WE WILL NEED THAT ROAD. To shuffle things around and set ourselves up for huge headaches when that time comes is folly and shows NO real concern for the long-term future of San Marcos. I certainly hope the comments about needing to vote, so that this would get to Council are inaccurate somehow. That sounds disturbingly like putting the developer’s schedule and/or desires ahead of the best interests of the city. Shame on anyone who did not motion for these items to be moved to a future agenda, if they were too tired to give them the consideration they warranted.

  42. Also, when I say “the homes on McCarty,” I mean the homes on and around Quarry Springs, Philo, Sunset Ridge, Great Oaks, Mountain High, etc. There won’t likely be any homes on McCarty.

  43. Wow. Ted, until you explained this, I did not fully realize what moving Loop 110 to McCarty Lane would do to the existing property owners along that main stretch northwest of Hunter Road.

    I’ve heard several regular P&Z meeting attendees remark how it seems the P&Z commissioners want to rubber stamp the developer proposals, and that they get “testy” with city staff when there is pushback.

    The developers are playing the game to win the most money. We need P&Z to represent the long-term interests of the community, not to be cheerleaders ready to answer the beck and call of the developers.

  44. You are right, Ted, I am mis-speaking, at the least. There was, indeed, a flurry to move the FM110 route all the way out to Centerpoint,m at one point, after what I called the “McCarty” route. The whole McCarty notion was that the “already-built’ part of McCarty would best serve as the base of the eventual (Jeeez, HOW eventual!) SH110, pavement amd most ROW and all being in place There was very little to aim at from Hunter across the Interstate, though a roadway did exist there, too. Nothing like what has transpired, with the school property being plopped out there and all, and the pending/approved improvements over which the County and City had to do their recent little dance.
    The SH110 route was originally (for many years) to cut a long, narrow “S-shaped route through the “Old University Farm land. And Ms. North is correct that the expense of the “New RR12” should have been avoidable, but we had needs more immediate than the “Gawd knows how long” completion of the full Parkway Loop. San Marcos and the State could likely have saved a bundle of our money and theirs and avoid what from present sight looks like a redundancy and a double environmental load. If only poor San Marcos had been able to budge UPACC and the State of Texas, we’d be driving on that segment now, most likely.

    We were crying for an east-west reliever–all the way across town, if we could get it– to keep ALL the traffic as thin as possible going right to the heart of the Square, unless one chose to go there. Made a big difference when the University became a traffic block as big as it now is. Changed the ballgame, and as student residences spread across town and the style changed to high-density, multi-occupant, that didn’t help either.

    A daring and drastic effort to divert some of the RR12 inbound and give the Houston Wimberlites, Fredericksburg tourists, etc. and ourselves some relief, not to mention the housing going in the area. The part to weep about is how many State-mandated-and-sponsored, duplicative bird and other studies have been done over and over to see if the golden-checked warbler and/or black-capped vireo (?), both apparently non-native, might move in there. So far as I know, none still have. (I can still see and hear Clovis Barker’s orations about what he thought of “that damned ‘wobbler’ or whatever you call it.”) But then, he’d tried to be patient for a couple of decades. There is a message in here somewhere, I am sure.

    But what am I to be recounting all this lore. You are the one who has been recently in the trenches. This stuff changes, sometimes quite rapidly, as growth happens all in and around the town. That’s why P&Z, as well as Council, should bring together people of SPECIFIC and different areas of expertise and interest–so they can have (Bite your lip, big boy.) open, “fair, and balanced” conversations and get to the best solutions.

    Makes no difference whether they start out close as peas in a pod philosophically–better if they sometimes differ, for ALL the people’s sake. I was lucky enough to serve a P&Z, a Planning Commission, then a P&Z again, with people like a developer AND a realtor, two engineers, an environmental scientist, a couple of Political Science types, a contractor, a doctor (WHAT?), a local industry employee, a surveyor, a couple of savvy enviro’s, a career government auditor, and some “neighborhood nuts,” of whom I was one. Worked out great, sez I. Each one was carefully selected by the Councils to maintain that balance of interests and expertise. Nobody dared become a vocal advocate of any project that was going to Council before the whole crowd had voted, and SURELY not while the proposer was still at the podiuml; the rest would have eaten that person for lunch. They were also selected to represent different areas of town, in general. Better? Worse? Things change, if there is no reason to resist change.

    Anyway, as it was, any Commissioner would have been publically pilloried for hauling water for a Councilmember or somebody’s BFF. Talk to us about Paso Robles.

  45. Yep. Think about the headaches the city had, trying to get that ONE house at Wonder World and Hunter out of the way, for the extension. Multiply that by God knows how many property owners along McCarty. A satellite image shows a dozen or more houses that would likely need to be cleared out, but I imagine there are many undeveloped lots that the city would need to purchase as well. Not nearly as clean as getting right of way from a developer on the front-end.

    Perhaps Carma could put a few million into a fund for that, in exchange for moving the loop off their property?

  46. And it is REALLY bad form to bully or chastise Staff, especially in public. The poor staff are trained professionals trying to live in a too-frequently hostile environment of different needs and expectations. They do this crap for a living! We pay them. The City Manager manager manages them (Odd notion, what?). The weak ones go, usually on their own, and usually soon. Question them, ask them for further information or exploration to find what you need. Badger them only to be legal and to have the information correct. But gently. One does not have to be a “horse’s ass.”

  47. Now this may seem radical, but P&Z MIGHT help the Council by deflecting some of the heat and taking the pure politics out of their discussions early on. With the aid of Staff, of course, who are the guts of the TEAM that tries to get the best “deal” even for some anonymous guy across town, whose only role is to pick up the bill.

    And yes, about the cumbersome, expensive, and also often disruptive business of acquiring ROW. Urban Planning 101 says we should put things in with some anticipation of what might happen in the future, so the ROW’s, expansions, etc. which DO become necessary already have as much groundwork laid the first time through as possible. Then, if development of a desired and FITTING type goes in, we can make it easy, and can even offer additional help besides what is sitting there. Every land speculator coming down the pike then cannot make exhorbitant demands on the City or hold it ransom for associated costs. They can look early, and/or talk with staff, and pretty well try to fit in the space that is there for the taking. Yes, the “cheap stuff” first. Square miles of McMansions are a whole new chapter. So are one-time, small-city subdivisions. ( In the early ’80’s, the developers’ favorite hustle was the Municipal Utility District, in fact, until so many failed, falling exhausted into the arms of the reluctant cities [See “Circle C” ]. and a graveyard full that never made it that far.) I suppose some have built out without life support, and the only problem those residents have now is their incredible extra MUD taxes.

  48. As long as I am presuming to tutor the already-tutored (in the secret hope somebody else might be spying):

    A TQEC endorsement, which seems how they lead off every time now, is not solid gold. The Rick Perry version of TCEQ can be persuaded to approve anything, unless it is a blatantly obviousl problem (for them apparently meaning “immediately fatal), or unless it is a turd on Rick’s desk. They are, like Texas, always “Open for Bidness.” They recommended approval, for example, of 16 (sixteen) new “clean-coal” (What? Puke in my hat!) power plants across Texas, and Ricky has offered to secede from the US rather than acknowledge the science of the EPA and the other Fed regulators trying to protect “the little people,” who just don’t get it. And take “the Buie tract,” where it was revealed WAY late in the game that they had “overlooked” (!) some recharge features (sorry, SM).

    Sovereign rule cities, of which we are one, cannot legally exceed the Fed or State regulations, but can be stricter, if the situation warrants. Not only will that TCEQ dog not hunt; it is also believed to be rabid. Of COURSE we shouldn’t rob and pillage the developers with unnecessary restrictions; that would be both wrong and crazy. But A person might think our bloody drinking water supply, which is quite expensive enough and growing ever more scarce, might be a bit dearer to San Marcos than to some functionary from “the big Ciddy”. It ain’t that hard! You can’t drink money. But you can for sure spend a bunch, going long into the future, for shoddy planning! (Houston, which is historically too “Texan” to do zoning. Now they’ve decide to need “just a little bit,” when the cards are already on the table.)

  49. Ted, thank you. My husband and I were at that meeting. We were there because I had recently had been introduced to Sean from Carma. He told me what Carma had planned and we couldn’t believe it. My husband has been in transportation for 30 years and public development for 25 years and we decided with his knowledge that we should attend that meeting and I am sure glad we did.

    It has seemed that every time we have tried to talk to anyone about this project they would say “these two don’t know what they are taking about”. I hope someone is letting the people who own property on McCarty what’s about to happen to them. As I said earlier in this conversation. How much money will WE be spending to buy that right of way, streetscaping, and easement property, or will the just pull eminent domain?

    I also I stated above their numbers do not add up. I have all the numbers they have given over the last 2 years, and trust me they don’t add up.

  50. I just talked to a resident who lives right on McCarty Lane and they were not notified by the City of San Marcos about this potential change to turn McCarty Lane into a 4-lane divided roadway for Loop 110. This is shameful on the City of San Marcos, trying to sneak this past citizens. It’s only from the dialog of diligent citizens that we see this is the developer demanding the City move Loop 110 from Centerpoint to McCarty Lane, just so they can make even more money, regardless of the impact to the existing property owners on McCarty Lane.

  51. Steve. Changes like the one in question are ILLEGAL (GASP!) if the affected parties are not duly notified. But then, for some, the requirement only to “post (only once?) in a local newspaper of record and of general distribution.” For reasons i need not get into, SM doesn’t have one. But sometimes, if you hunt real hard, you might find they went for the “Statesman,” just in case. Yowza, yowza, yowza!

  52. Come on, now. There is not road widening going on. This action was simply to amend the Transportation Master Plan. IF that section of the loop ever gets built or even starts getting planned, then I would assume people will get notified. I think you guys are jumping the gun just a little.

  53. You are mistaken, Eric. Now is the time to notify the residents, not when the road is being planned or built. By then, it will be too late.

  54. Most, or at least many, of the residents have been warned for years, as the discussions have dragged on and on over their heads. It has just got so in our town you never know anymore what skullduggery might have gone on while you were not looking. There have been TONS of maps spread across lots of walls for discussion and questions about FM110 and SH130–probably still going, in fact, and must surely be done again between now and eminent domain time. But with the hinky deals CoSM has developed in the recent past, who knows? Anybody may have some incompatible stuff approved next to their homes. Fortunately, the County is usually more reliable and less liable to Gold Fever. And mercifully, slower and less able to be devious, since all the “rival” communities are watching each other.

    A long-term Plan, we must remember, “is just a kind of loose guideline.” That dumb remark is on the official record.

  55. The State, officially, by the way, has long been telling us that the reason we can’t get priority for our big projects (well, OK, not on the DFW/Houston scale) is that we don’t settle on what we want finally, then stick by it. Is that in the water here? Is it some kind of personal arrogance? A “turst plot”? (You say “terrorist.”)

  56. mstevens, i see from your post that you are a woman!
    i think it’s so interesting and kind of sad that i assumed you were a man, and i can’t believe i am guilty of that/ as it happens to me all the time.
    women with an opinion- go figure. (i know this has nothing to do with anything on this thread, but…) anyway, thanks for weighing in.

  57. This (and the Buie Tract fiasco) are why San Marcos has such a difficult time attracting businesses and middle/upper class families:
    Why invest in a house if there is no guarantee that your investment will be protected. No neighborhood is safe since our officials refuse to follow any smart growth plan.

  58. It is on the agenda for council this next Tuesday. So as far as I am concerned NOW is the time to do something about it. Once something gets passed, have you ever known it to be overturned? Remember P&Z has already passed it in the middle of the night so council could hurry up and put it on their agenda? My question is; what is the big hurry? In my opinion it so that they will be able to get it passed BEFORE the election. Makes me wonder who is scratching whose back?

    There was a prior story on this site about “Transparency” we heard about the Carma issue, so we all knew it was coming. Now is the time for anyone who believes this isn’t right for our city to take a stand. This is the time for all property owners who own property anywhere close to this development and proposed loop 110 to be heard next Tuesday, and hat would be the time to ask the council; what will this do to my property value and how do you plan on acquiring this property.

  59. It’s a shame most property owners on McCarty Lane have no idea what the City is about to do to their land. Planning a 4-lane divided highway right in your front yard seems like a pretty big deal to me. Since the City did not want to let them know about the Hearing, then anything we little citizens can do to spread the word to them will be very helpful.

    We know some of our current leaders believe plans are just a loose set of guidelines, but once something is set into plan, then future leaders may be of the type that believe plans are to be implemented accordingly. Now is the time to stand up and let the leaders know your position.

  60. To all those directly impacted by this development/road (geographically), you have a couple of days to get some things done– informational flyer production and distribution, calling the Statesman, petition drive of adjacent neighbors, ect…
    Remember, Westover and Franklin Square homeowners came so close to stopping the Buie tract with a petition that would have required a super majority of the Council to pass.
    I and others would be happy to help.

  61. “My question is; what is the big hurry? In my opinion it so that they will be able to get it passed BEFORE the election. Makes me wonder who is scratching whose back?”
    We will see a flood of development applications, I predict, before the November election.
    Susan will try and jam as much down our throats until we choke before she leaves office, including the hiring of a city manager. Vigilance is key, and yes she will try and ‘wear us down’. It’s going to be an exhausting next few months.

  62. Chris N., One woman–even assuming the malign intent you assign to her–cannot hold the breach in the dike, unless there is nothing keeping up the pressure behind the dike. If there is not any, and if the water is not rising quickly, I must be done.

  63. “SamD.: This (and the Buie Tract fiasco) are why San Marcos has such a difficult time attracting businesses and middle/upper class families: Why invest in a house if there is no guarantee that your investment will be protected. No neighborhood is safe since our officials refuse to follow any smart growth plan.”

    Sam D. gets it. Businesses, investors and high quality investors want a predictable development environment that allows them the confidence that their investment will be protected. Plans are not just for internal use by the community–they are for investors considering investment in the city. They use those planning documents to anticipate the future and expect cities to reasonably follow them. They use them to see if their business model is compatible with community desires and visions, which allows them to anticipate whether their typical approach will meet community resistance or instead be embraced. When plans aren’t followed or are changed frequently, those documents lose value as an instrument useful to investors in projecting success of an investment. As a result, they will search for more stable, predictable places to invest, leaving San Marcos to work with less professional investors willing to get a little dirty for short-term gains without considering long-term implications. There is a reason land development in San Marcos has been driven in large part by local individuals and firms (for better and worse): San Marcos lacks the predictable environment necessary to attract well-capitalized, high-quality developers willing to take a project and see it through start-to-finish. The frequent requests for development incentives is symptomatic of this issue. This is also why you haven’t seen additional executive-level housing developments (i.e. Willow Creek near the back of the greenspace for an idea of the price-point I’m talking about) even proposed in several years despite Willow Creek being virtually built-out. Executive-level housing is the most conservative when it comes to investors–they won’t even sniff at a property if they lack confidence in the stability of surrounding land uses/future land uses or alterations to transportation plans that might turn-off finicky executive purchasers. I, for one, cannot recall the last time a future land use amendment or zoning change was denied in San Marcos, which has the added effect of artificially inflating land values despite a property not possessing the development rights consistent with the listed price.

    This city needs to learn the art of “saying no to get to yes.” In fact, I think each Councilmember should be required to read the William Ury book on that subject–I believe it is called the “Power of a Positive No” or something like that.

    If San Marcos officials are unwilling to follow the adopted plans (and the frequency of future land use amendments, zoning change and transportation plan changes approved seems to support this notion), then they need to bring the issue out in the open and rewrite them in the light of day with active, meaningful community engagement. This is essential to give the people a real voice, and to give investors new documents that allow them to confidently invest in San Marcos. Of course, the thought of San Marcos taking on such a task in the current hyper-polarized local political climate is a bit daunting.

  64. Sorry cws but I say baloney. Investors haven’t made it to San Marcos because they’ve been too busy plowing the fertile fields closer to the major metros of SA and Austin. They’ll come and all we’re doing right now is decorating the ballroom. These long range master plans are often an attempt to look into a crystal ball and see what will be the highest and best use for a piece of property 20 years down the road – an exersize in futility. A city needs to be flexible and amend the plans when appropriate. That said, McCarty is a road to nowhere. Not sure what the ROW width is but it looks to me like it could accomodate 4 lanes divided no problem out to a certin point. But it’s too close to WW/RR12 to be of enough value as a traffic reliever to justify another bridge across Purgatory Creek. All this is much ado about nothing since no one is going to pony up the money to extend McCarty as Loop 110; especially when the eastern portion is so much more needed. These are just lines on a map. Looks to me like the more logical move would be to scrap the southwest portion of Loop 110 entirely and give Carma what they want so we can have a shot at another nice residential development.

  65. really “Bob”?
    cws and samd and billy and mstevens and steve and trudy and everyone else on this and other threads who are paying attention and know garbage when they smell it are all correct. and they vote. and they have friends who vote. and you are just wrong.
    long range plans are made with a hell of a lot more in mind than economic considerations.

    “Mistakes: maybe the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others.”

    As long as the good people of San Marcos remember what is important and demand protections for our river, neighborhoods, quality of life and bank account, we will not become Arlington with a pretty little stream running through it….

  66. Bob, it is not wide enough. We looked at it, with city engineers, at the TAB meeting.

    As for whether it will or will not be built, you just got through saying that we can’t predict what we will need 20 years down the road. Yet, you are certain we will not need this? Strange logic.

    You should look at the Transportation Master Plan. It calls for a complete loop at some point. To eliminate one quarter of the loop would seem to defeat the purpose.

    Of course, I am sure there are a lot of people counting on being somewhere else when we finally need that loop. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I expect to be right here, and I would like to have a place for that roadway.

  67. Ah, yes, Bob gives us the old favorite: “just lines on a map.” And unfortunately, has a lot of willing co-sponsors for this wisdom. Like the current regime at City Hall. Just not the developers, neighbors, State, Feds, or people who care about others and the future. The believer group certainly includes nihilists and opportunists and some likely looking forward to the Apocalypse or the Rapture or something to put the eraser to the mistakes made under this banner.

    The banner is closely related to another one that drives me near apoplexy, but serves others richly and well: ” It’s a whole lot easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” No, Cletus and Thelma Pearl, it was not Jesus who said that, but GW Bush, who was at a total freaking loss to recall any mistakes he may have made–again, in public, on global media, and for the record. That is a frame of mind, and some people just WILL keep it. Are they in fact “The People” one hears so much lip-service (and other kinds) given to? As a realist, I say, “Maybe so. Hope not.”

    cws: My hat is off in reverence. In fact, if somebody doesn’t steal it from me, you can HAVE it. I recall the counsel of Clovis Barker, local icon, banker and developer and real estate mogul offered me in 1988: “It’s really not all that big a deal to US what the rules are, long as they are not downright silly. Just don’t put the target out for us in the dark, and then keep moving it around. Give us something we can reliably follow, and we will do it somehow. Give us a well-lit target, standing still, and we will hit it. Until then, don’t expect much good to happen.” Too bad he didn’t give us that carved in stone to set permanently on the City and Courthouse lawns. (But I think the HaysCo folks, a majority of them, are brighter.)

    For Steve’s List, somewhat akin to Schindler’s: Could we no longer wrap proposed Master Plan Amendments, Land Use Changes,, Zoning, and Subdivision under the cloak of a SINGLE, yes/no vote, at P&Z OR at City Council? The way it is currently practiced, public business, often with enormous repercussions, is more like a peep show or a game of three-card Monte: There can be no winners except those performing, often not even in front of us. No, Earl and Stella, seeing it on closed circuit as it is finalized is no better. Half the time we can’t even tell for sure WHAT we are seeing, after the prayer and all the (dozens of?) declarations and Proclamations.

  68. I appreciate the compliment, Billy.

    And Bob, I too question the benefit of the McCarty segment of 110 given its proximity to Wonder World, and that any true limited access loop should shift further south (i.e. Posey) and west as a result. Unfortunately, I fear San Marcos’ attempt at a loop is going to end up looking like Austin’s multiple attempts at a loop over the years, with none of the segments really aligning or having the same level of service.

    Bob said: “These long range master plans are often an attempt to look into a crystal ball and see what will be the highest and best use for a piece of property 20 years down the road.”

    I tend to agree with you Bob regarding the importance of considering market forces: we’re not talking about some Soviet era central planning document from on-high that is beyond reproach. I think you and I are likely in agreement that with 14 years having passed, Horizons is overdue for a full revision complete with citizen participation even if it verifies that 90% of the community’s vision remains unchanged. The job of a plan is to give a clear guide for how those market forces relate to the community’s vision. This is why it is important to give clear policy statements in a plan for when changes may be considered outside of a full revision process (Horizons is actually rare in including these types of statements given its origin in the mid 90s, though those policy statements have not been referenced effectively/accurately in land use decisions and a few have become dated). Review of requested changes against the policy statements should require a healthy skepticism to determine whether those “lines on a map” are indeed inaccurate given the current situation. However, what we’ve been seeing is that whatever someone asks for, they get with few meaningful questions asked or analyses conducted. It is as though we’ve focused on the speed at which a development can proceed through the process without addressing accuracy or quality. As a plan ages, I expect there to be some changes because of external factors that weren’t considered or known at the time of adoption, and for new practices in real estate development (form-based codes weren’t even on the radar in 1996, and mass transit was just getting steam). That is why it is so important to routinely update the entire plans (including meaningful citizen participation–that is important to combating NIMBYism) and check the assumptions on which the plan was based. City comprehensive plans need a thorough review at least every five years for major, substantive changes.

    It is one thing for a plan to be flexible, but what we have in San Marcos is a situation in which literally 99% of all future land use amendments and zoning changes have been approved over about the last seven years (as long as I’ve been keeping up). When you see a pattern like that, then either the elected officials have a willful disregard for the plan and how a development may affect the existing nearby community/neighborhood, or there are a lot of externalities in play that require the city to review the entire master plan. By approaching amendments in the piecemeal fashion we have seen, the community as a whole has been unable to step in to see if there is a larger issue in the plan that needs to be addressed. Just like how zoning variances and frequent PUDs are indicative of problems in a zoning code, frequent piecemeal amendments to comprehensive planning documents are indicative of larger issues in a plan or elected officials that don’t understand the plan.

  69. The Transportation Master Plan, which the Carma folks would like to change, is actually only about 6 years old, not 14. While it is always worthwhile to review it, I am not sure it is as outdated as you might think. I also have to wonder why the TAB, which led the creation of the Transportation Master Plan, was never once asked by City Council, to review it in the following years (at least not to my knowledge and I was on the board from 2005, until it was sunset).

    Despite its proximity (in places) to the Wonder World extension, the loop, if completed, would serve an entirely different purpose than the extension. The extension basically connects IH35 and Hunter, to RR12, eliminating some traffic on interior streets in between the two ends. The loop would connect all four ends of town to each other. The loop would enable people to quickly get from 21 to 12, or 12 to 123, or Hilliard to the airtport, or the high school, to the university, etc. Unless, of course, we leave out a section or two and tell people to take the “loop” for awhile, then get on IH35, then get on Wonder World, then get on 12, then get back on the “loop.”

  70. “The job of a plan is to give a clear guide for how those market forces relate to the community’s vision.”
    Exactly.
    It’s a map that should guide growth and a tool for developers to know “where to go” (literally, not… you know…)
    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.
    And the master plan (future land use plans) was amended in 2001/2002.
    It’s not the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    You are right cws- it is time to rev up an update. Plans should be updated every 8 to 10 years.
    But that does not negate the Current Plan in any way.
    The Plan is adopted by Ordinance. It’s the law.
    It’s not some horoscope chart on the wall of PADS. It’s the will of the citizens of the community.
    Zoning variances are not indicative of problems in the code as much as they are indicative of the inability of the local rednecks to understand the rules, who can’t conform and think outside the box.
    And that people are asking for variances does NOT mean they should be granted and that the Code is broken. The approval of variances should be rare. It just means they want to make as mush money as they can at our expense. Period.
    We have zoning. If you think you can’t do business under the rules don’t buy the land.
    Your bad investment is not my emergency or problem.
    It’s called “real estate speculation”, not “real estate sure-friggin’-thing”.

  71. Also, I would point out that appropriate reasons for ammending the Transportation Master Plan might be:

    1. We had growth where we did not expect it and need to add/move some planned roads.
    2. We had growth sooner than we expected and need to move something up to a near-term plan.
    3. We are not seeing growth where/when we expected it and need to push something out, or remove it.

    “We bought some land, which includes proposed ROW for a road in the Master Plan, and we don’t want that road in our neighborhood. Put it in someone else’s neighborhood.” does not strike me as a valid reason to make a significant change to the city’s Transportation Master Plan.

    BTW, six years ago, this Master Plan identified that we would need the Wonder World overpass, the Craddock improvements and extension, the Wonder World Extension, widening of Hunter, from Bishop to the county line, widening of Post Road to the city limit, all by 2010. And, here we are.

    So much for “just lines on a map.”

    The same plan calls for the entire loop by 2015. Now, obviously that is not practical, but we sure did scramble to get that first section in, didn’t we? Are you really going to gamble that the west side of the loop won’t be needed by 2020, or 2025? We’ve seen a 50% increase in population in the last 10 years and that is while ” Investors haven’t made it to San Marcos because they’ve been too busy plowing the fertile fields closer to the major metros of SA and Austin.”

  72. Again, three loud cheers for cws! Clear, well-spoken, and TERRIBLY inconvenient to overlook or debate. This is gospel, and needs to be spread widely until every voter at least has the CHANCE to understand it.

    SMHorizons was deliberately put together as an adopted Ordinance of the City (vote:7-0). It was also made in a fashion to last a really long time, even should the need for “crystal balls” arise. Continuous update suggestions are available via a well-defined modification process, via P&Z. A formal review was supposed to take place every three years, which actually happened a couple of times, until that got “inconvenient” for some.

    Relatively minor changes could be done in the same way as with any other Ordinance–public forums, universal posting, P&Z review and recommendations. three public readings before Counsel. Those related to proposals “in the pipeline” could go through the process alongside the Development Proposals, with separate votes to make them binding for all parties. No slack for anybody whose little amendment conflicted with existing uses and regulations for projects already on the ground. At the end, everybody gets to “live happily ever after.” Predatory developers had to have “crystal balls” indeed to sneak bad ideas past the City, beginning with Staff. But no longer. Yet.

    SMH 2000 was built deliberately, sort of like a good ship. It was laid on a solid, strong keel of public consensus–the deepest driving and strongest principles behind what we want our town to be as time passes. These include things like protecting the River and our other abundant natural resources; keeping a viable CVB; ***maintaining or improving the integrity of existing neighborhoods***; keeping the small-town beauty and charm we are famous for, ***conserving the Edwards Aquifer.*** A handful of “just lines on a map” that could not be altered or erased without the express consent of the governed. And mostly never need to.

    You can design lots of different nautical features or novel ideas on a good keel, and she’ll weather almost any storm for a long time. But if you compromise the keel, the boat goes to the bottom, perhaps with all hands aboard. Like in last week’s news from Bell, CA: Their whole administrative layer may wind up in the slammer for corrupt and illegal self-driven actions. Choices, in other words, made without the citizens” knowing or approving. They may not be actually lynched, or put on display in “stocks” like the Puritan violators, but they are not going to be having much fun in the near future.

    Our keel may be dusty; may have been warped or splintered in a few places by various vandals; may well be due a periodic inspection and maintenance; but it is still strong and in place. Like many of our “heritage” historical homes, which became abandoned or trashy frat houses over time, but have been redeemed and are now shown on the annual Tour of Homes. (Or we might think of the Old First Baptist Church. No, Bubba and Bertha Mae, the DUNBAR Church, not Sanctuary Lofts–the OTHER FBC. A really significant part of who we were and who we have become, whether it remains there as a public rebuke, has to be torn down, or rises from its ashes to become a cultural and historic asset once more, and a tourist attraction.) Sustainable, you know?

    And really, why HAVE we had at least four (4) Downtown Plans IN a couple of decades, done by all different “consultants” (3 from out of town)? And why do Council now insist they are breaking new ground to give us one, “since nobody has done planning down there for over twenty years”? It’s on the record and in the newspapers, Mr/Ms skeptic. Are we like the proverbial West Texas goose, that “wakes up every day in a totally new world?”

  73. Ted, you subtle devil! You are seeming to imply that we were looking at a multi-ring eventual buildout for our high-traffic arterials, like in San Antonio, rather than an impassible spaghetti-bowl filled with deer and Indian trails, like Austin. Our Capital got so far along in their “Git ‘er done” mode before the realization that for many decades they would be building patchwork and tearing out older stuff, and that would be astronomically expensive–and still might never be really functional. To give Austin a bit of slack, we need to remember that SA made its loop-in-a-loop design by building like beavers during the ’60’s in order to fit into the National Defense Highway Network (Interstate System), Eisenhower’s “lines on a map” to secure them and us against the Russkies. But they also had the military bases, with imperatives bigger than any speculative developer could interfere with or Council could deny.

    As for the more modern elements, Google “Wendler, Ed,” and “Bender, Ralph.” These guys were developers with the vision and clout and ready money to revolutionize Texas highway building, alter the existing plans, and, as Bender promised Wender, “get richer than the Beatles.” (To which Wendler asked, “Who is that?”) They secured and bought the land ROW themselves, then GAVE it to San Antonio, in return for the design and building of the new road. You know, the one that now contains Sea World, the Hyatt Complex, the PGA golf, and the rest out there. I confess I am not sure how rich they OR the Beatles were or are, but they aren’t worried about retirement. Really good ideas sell big, in other words.

    Bender helped us do our Sign Ordinance, for FREE, I am sure (1988?). And taught us some about planning. (Great Man and great guy–goes around looking like a ringer for Mark Twain. Hilarious. He liked fencing with Jean Moreau, at SWT.)

  74. Chris;
    We have zoning. If you think you can’t do business under the rules don’t buy the land.
    Your bad investment is not my emergency or problem.
    It’s called “real estate speculation”, not “real estate sure-friggin’-thing”.

    Well said, thank you.

  75. One of the driving forces behind comprehensive development plans is so, as has been pointed out by others, developers/speculators will have some idea of what is going to happen in the future; it reduces risk. Development codes are the enforcement arm of those plans. When variances are granted at a high rate, or the codes are not enforced, risk should escalate, as there is less certainty. However, all too often the reason for those kinds of failure is a get er dun mentatlity, or in other less kind words, ruthless greed. When code enforcement is just a developer’s rubber stamp, the plan is useless. The recent codification of the County development rules went a long way, now I just hope they are enforced.

  76. I see the cover letter for the transportation master plan was dated 7/30/04. I wonder if the city sent all the property owners a letter at that time saying “hey, FYI, we just drew a line through your property that takes away about x percent of your property and clouds the developability of it for however many years we feel like getting around to studying whether the road is even feasible. Just thought you’d like to know. Sincerely, The City.”?

    I’m not saying putting 110 on McCarty is a GOOD idea but being open to discussing alternatives for 110 is. We should not let the fact that an evil developer might actually make a profit cloud our judgement.

  77. There were a lot of public meetings re: the creation of the Transportation Master Plan.

    I am not opposed to discussing alternatives, either. I do not believe a developer’s desires should be the only (or even a primary) consideration in those discussions. The discussions should center around what is best for San Marcos and what will be best for us in the future. I don’t think the developer is evil, but the property owners on and around McCarty have every bit as much right to their property values as the developer does.

    Sadly, it does not appear that any efforts are being made to include anyone in those discussions anyway.

  78. Bob, Old Bean ( Pardon, butI do feel as if I know you well.): A decent transportation planner actually goes in looking for a path that will do the least biosphere damage and the least social damage. By the first, I mean “environmental”–but that term is so overused and so easily pooh-poohed and so trivialized by THE ENEMY, I thought I’d resort to a better, more comprehensive, more scientific term. The biosphere is where we and all the little lesser critters live–defined by the stuff that keeps us alive, like water, clean air–the ordinary stuff we live in and on, and depend on as living things. By the latter I mean damage to our quality of life, like noisiness, danger, disruptiveness, light pollution (takes away our stars and our sleep), etc.–especially our homes, our nests, our farms, the “home places” we may have grown up in, but at least want to raise our offspring in. The stuff that makes us sentimental, but which we would defend to the death. Oddly, avoiding these pitfalls can only be done out on the growth margin, BEFORE it becomes populated, or “built out,” as the pros say (You knoow how picky humans can be about such things). That’s why it is given that ugly name of “planning.”

    If a project is carefully planned, well in advance of the “march of civilization,” as some like to call it, the prospective new owner/builders can save not only a ton of grief, by minimizing damage, but a boatload of time and money, as well as the sadness of having to FORCE people out of the way. Done without regard to how the new growth connects to the old, road plans are cruel, confused, expensive, and dysfunctional. Done without how it will be connectible to likely even NEWER growth, it is either irresponsible, stupid, or QUITE insane. Done without regard to how other public bodies are doing theirs, it may even be a mortal sin. And people who choose to interrupt such a careful process laid down in advance must take deliberate, hair-raising risk. I hope this helps. Just an opinion.

    Obviously, Winchester lacks manners, throwing around terms like “ruthless greed.” I’d just call it self-interest. You know, “enlightened self-interest,” that thing Ayn Rand and the neo-cons are so crazy about. Not very sociable, but quite effective, if what one wants to do is “get ahead” and live decently far away from the riff-raff.

  79. Bob, if I understand your question, I believe the answer is yes, technically, although there is still the matter of negotiating fair market value and actually acquiring the right of way. That may not actually happen for years, or decades, or longer.

  80. Bob, you need to turn off Glen Beck. The Constitution (at least my copy) absolutely bans, forbids, and admonishes against “the taking of private property for public use WITHOUT JUST COMPENSATION”–my emphasis on all three words. There always must be compensation, at a fair and negotiated value, at such time as any governmental entity actually, legally and in fact, takes over the control of one’s “stuff.” (Notice I here omitted “or private interest, though they are players, as well, and often the drivers. The gubmint” can’t guarantee security against them.) Far as I know, Glen the Holy Moron notwithstanding, we still follow this recipe. And when people see threatening (!!) Plans or designs on their stuff, they usually have time to figure something out before the dozers come in. Except like in “The Grapes of Wrath,” when the invader is the Bank. Or in Louisiana, say, where the invader is Bigger Than That.

    Sadly, the “just” part of the formula above often requires a lawyer and a judge, since most development seeks to get people out of the way as cheaply as possible, overlooking the special value of “the little knoll out there, where son Pootie got his first,,,” well, whatever.) And the good planners also have a very realistic notion of things like terrain, soil type, drainage, creature homes, and all that–at least in an ORGANIZED state. They have to think, after all, about the money end, too. Then, who can speak for the “Fire. Ready. Aim” crowd, whom I consider to be a kind of terrorist (another weapon-word that’s lost its meaning? Thanks, GWB.) in their own rights. I mean the folks who keep coming up with new, unexpected, and grandiose growth ideas.

    Only a very slow property owner, indeed, would fail to notice that it is getting closer to go to town these days, and that there is that big ol’ road stub-out down by the new gated community or shopping center out past the north forty. And what if the charge is secretly led by Farmer Brown, down the road, who has decided to farm dollars instead of hay?

  81. First, I never listen to Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh. Believe it or not these misguided opinions were formed completely on my own as a result of having been on the recieving end of the circumstances described.

    The negative effect of having your land implicated in a transportation master plan is immediate. Go to sell it and the buyer will determine in his due diligence that he’s responsible for at least the dedication and sometimes the construction of some road project. Since the cost is unknown the buyer will beat you to death on the price. If there’s a potential upside, say your land is all of a sudden the corner of Main & Broadway, there are no guarantees until the roads are built so you can’t bank on that (as much). So the gov’t gets to control your land for free for as long as they want.

    Now imagine that there is no “big ol’ road stub-out down by the gated community…” but you want to sell and you have to accomodate this master plan but guess what, the gov’t changes their mind and you missed that sale to Sun City because they couldn’t make it work with the threat of a 100′ row coming through and they didn’t feel like going down to city hall to fight it.

    Nothing good comes without a price but it’s nice if you’re not the one paying it.

    None of that bears directly on Carma or 110. They knew the road was planned. But I can recall best SW loop 110 location arguments going on way back in the early ’90s. Neither the current nor the Carma proposed locations make sense to me. I question the engineering of McCarty making that slight “S” turn south crossing the RR tracks at an angle. We know TxDot will require the Hunter & I-35 intersections with McCarty to be at 90 degrees so that has to be squeezed in there. To Ted’s question of having drivers jump off the loop, travel on I-35 for a while and get back on the loop, I don’t see a problem with that. Especially if you accept the notion of abandoning a “loop” in its strictest definition.

    Now hear this. Every city of size has a spagetti bowl. A mix-master. An elevated freeway interchange. Where is ours going to be? When the east-west traffic gets so intense that an at-grade intersection won’t cut it anymore where do you go? Watson Lane? Yarrington?

  82. Hmm. I guess we read the question differently.

    I took it as seeking further clarification as to whether there is more significance to the plan, than “just lines on a map,” which there is.

  83. Bob, if we are going to abandon a loop, then we should do so because it is not the right solution for San Marcos, not because it is not the right solution for Carma. Whatever challenges there may be with building a road a little south of McCarty, the same challenges would exist on McCarty. The topography is not appreciably different. Likewise, whatever difficulty a developer might have, selling property on a proposed ROW for a 140’+ (not 100′) roadway, so too would the homeowners and property owners on McCarty.

    Removing the “problem” from Carma’s property does not make it magically go away. It simply makes it someone else’s problem. I like to own my own problems. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who prefer to foist their problems onto others.

  84. If we will all just go quietly, we can be another “strip city” like Selma or Cibolo–a sort of municipal shopping center along the Big Road. And that will become our “hometown charm.” Ugly as home-made soap, not really very remarkable, but quite practical, in the relatively shorter term, after which we will be so numb to it that the future won’t matter. But there will still have to be those pesky back roads and residential streets. That is the tragic offshoot of unwholesome growth, done too fast.

    I think I may be mentally ill: I keep hearing Mick Jagger, Patron Saint of the modern era, in the back of my mind. He alternates between singing “You can’t always get what you waa-hant,” “I… can’t GET no… sat-is-fac-tion,” and “Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m a ma-ain of wealth and taste….” Maybe I should write to “Dear Abby?” But that in turn remind me of John Prine’s song of that title, from the late ’70’s. Maybe group therapy!

  85. Mr Moore, my manners are less than perfect, but I did warn that they were less kind words. As to self interest, whic often does sink to the level of greed, enlightened self interest, at lest as I use that phrase, actuall does take social and environmental costs into account during a development process. Now folks like Carma and other blow and go developers tend to take the dozer approach to maximize profit at everyone else’s expense.

    As to Bob’s question, I don’t believe that the adoption of the plan rises to the level of a taking. Especially since the fact issue of loss of value could not be proved at that point. Having you land involved, implicated to use Bob’s word, may actually increase its value, as that possable future road may change the nature of the use from milo to Walmart.

  86. I’ve given up tai chi and group therapy too. And I’m giving up on this topic as there is no point. But I did see some knees jerking and that always gets me going.

  87. Sorry to hear he’s given up on this almost 100 post thread or given up on tai chi and group therapy?
    okay, easily amused, that just funnied me…

  88. You sort of have to agree with John McG and Bob, on the other recent thread of interest: Mindless group-think ruins “it” (read “anything worth pursuing) for EVERYBODY). Brings to mind that immortal classic film, “Night of the Living Dead,” where the rotting corpses cruise the streets looking for brains to eat. (I have been told they will sell copies at all the major political conventions, in case anybody wants a copy.) It’s about factual, often protracted, honest, OPEN, and hopefully quiet dialogue, to reach a final balance, however uneasy, in matters of personal choice–not a stampede. This is why our Funding Fathers chose to have a secret ballot and a democracy, to start out with

    Kinda like the Great Guru of Effectiveness, Steve Covey, says: “Seek first to understand, then only, to be understood.” (Disclaimer: He’s a devout Mormon, and stole that from the Bible, where most of his best ideas come from.) That is why ANY orthodoxy, political or otherwise, is dangerous, and not to be taken lightly or unquestioned. That sort of thing gets people killed, for Pete’s sake (See “Inquisition, Great,” “Hitler, Adolph,” “Crusades, Great.”) And the people who actively promote it are VERY dangerous people, IMHO. (See, I’m learning–the “H’ is usually silent, right?) Their tools/weapons are many, often subtle, usually not (See “WMD, theirs and ours.”). Character assassination is the keenest, maybe, and one of the most effective.

    We call that in logic, which I taught and revered for many years, the greatest impediment to enlightenment and the most radical assault, “the Well-Poisoning Fallacy.” It is named for those of our ancestors who were too lazy or cowardly to do a war, who chose instead to sneak in at night and throw a diseased, rotting goat in the village well–thereby avoiding all that messy argument. There is no more effective tool in combat or debate. I suppose most of our “candidates” and their mouthpieces know that. There are free lessons available on TV every night (See “Palin, Sarah” and/or “Maddow, Rachel,” if you want to lean one way or the other in its use.) Just trying to help.

  89. This 100 post thread has become a thread about the wisdom of relocation loop 110 to McCarty. I just went back to re-read the article that started this thread, and no where in that article does it say anything about relocating Loop 110. In the article the evil greedy developer even says they will build Centerpoint through their development, so what am I missing?

    What I am missing I think is this. There are certain people in this town, our current mayor included, for whom all growth is good growth, and who are willing to give any incentive to get that growth, no martter what it is. But just as true there are certain persons in this town for whom the response to any growth is NO! Re-reading the article, and based on what little I know, this sounds like a postive devlopment for this town.

  90. I am personally not a big fan of seeing 25-30% of our city (residences) cordoned off in this private gated community away from the rest of us. Having said that, yes I can see how many people would believe this project can overall be a good thing. But, there are still plenty of things to at least “fine tune” (or more) in terms of what they plan and what they want us current taxpayers to obligate ourselves to pony up and provide to them (both now, in the future, and on-going). And, I still consider it egregious that they want to foist Loop 110 (the four-lane divided highway) onto the existing McCarty Lane property owners. Many of us will closely watch how the Mayor and City Council members dialog on this developer dictating their demands against the current citizens.

  91. Larry, honestly, read the posts or move on. The 110 discussion is clearly explained in there. Just because the article didn’t mention their request, does not mean it didn’t happen.

    I think the development is fine, otherwise. Just not worthy of any incentives or concessions.

    As for the people in this town, yes, there are some growth at any cost people and some no growth people. There are also people in between and people who prefer to stand in the window, jingling their pocket change and watching the world go by, without really paying too much attention.

  92. The big bucks issue here is that this developer is asking for a taxpayer handout in the $20-30 million dollar range for a residential development. Many citizens feel handing out incentives to retail developers is a poor use of money. This is even worse!

    Constant developer cheerleading by the P&Z commissioners notwithstanding, I’m having a hard time understanding why in the world we should spend $20-30 million taxpayer dollars to help build out an exclusive gated private residential community?

    This is NOT a “good deal” for the citizens of San Marcos. Our taxpayer money should be treated with greater care and regard. Our city leaders have already more than doubled our long-term debt and obligations during the past five years. Adding another $20-30 million on top of that would be onerous and totally unaffordable in our current financial situation.

    Enough is enough! We the current citizens of this community need to stand up and demand better leadership. We need our city leadership to demonstrate fiscal prudence and be prepared for close scrutiny and accountability.

  93. Don’t worry about Kyle and NB coming in to take us over, boys and girls. During the earlier turbulent period when Austin was gobbling up Round Rock and everything within reach, ALL the smaller villages made deliberate and concerted efforts to expand their Extra-Territorial Jurisdictions together around the Beast. Fort the most part, when it was done, the Beast was locked in, though poor Round Rock, as all can see today, had already been significantly flanked. The deal was to annex along roadways until our legal jurisdictions joined together. Thus Kyle and SM have a boundary of legal jurisdiction, related to their population at the time. Ours was then 2 miles. Now that we here in River City have ostensibly reached 50K, we are given planning authority and subdivision control (NOT zoning) of 3 miles.

    Realizing that the other front for possible invasion was the Utilities, which can cross local government boundaries at will (being given that legal prerogative by the State), we also bought out the LCRÅ’s local distribution facilities (1995?) and became a retail customer, thus giving us some local control of THAT, too. LCRA was not happy with us or our City Manager, but they went along, maybe wisely. Until very recently, when our Leaders very quietly signed a spanking new and binding 40-year contract. WHAT? You never knew about any of this? (See the “Steve Papers on Transparency in Government,” available near you.

    This stuff had no flash about it, since it was done by the citizens, deliberately.. There were no Ribbon-Cuttings or photo ops, but SM was kept more or less “safe for democracy” for a while. Our control abuts both NB and Kyle, and we cannot now be run over except by the State and ourselves.

    Ask a candidate what he or she thinks about the future use of our ETJ to manage our growth. That is a key issue for anybody wanting to do the photo ops.

  94. I think the developers are playing some kind of “look over there” game with us. The current hubbub on so many disparate issues (with the proposed Paso Robles residential development) is allowing them to cloak their sudden demand for a $20-30 million dollar handout. Based on the (voting) track record of our present Mayor and City Council (to wit, Yarrington Bridge, Springtown Mall, Stonecreek Crossing), I am very concerned our city leaders will try to force this developer handout upon us “real quick like” before the November elections.

  95. I need some help here with finance issues. The Pasa Robles project would require that the city establish a Tax Increment Re-investment Zone (TIRZ). This seems to be the same way we financed the Yarington bridge for Carma so they could build the Blanco Vista project.

    As I understand it, a TIRZ sells bonds that will be paid back by the difference in taxes paid by the old property and the new property. Somebody recently quoted a tax on the current value of the property at around $7,000. Since this area, as I understand it, is not in the City limits, this amount must be for the County and School District property taxes. If my understanding is correct, that means the Cities current take from the property is zero so any increases in value would go to repay the TIRZ bonds.

    This is where I become confused. If the TIRZ is a free standing financial entity, why is the City going to front the money and then get paid back over 30 years? Does this mean that, in reality, the bonds are the ultimate financial obligation of the City of San Marcos? If so, are they revenue bonds backed by the receipts from the City water, sewer and electric rates? Are the bonds general obligation funds which are backed by the full faith and credit of the City’s taxing authority?

    What happens if the bonds default? There maybe a good chance of that happening with the Yarington Road TIRZ because there has been little or no development at that intersection and little progress with the Blanco Vista project. Was the Blanco Vista project included in the TIRZ or just the intersection of Yarington and I35? If these bonds default, what effect will it have on the Cities credit rating? Are these bonds revenue bonds or G.O. bonds. When the City talks about our total bonded indebtedness, do they mean both GO debt and revenue debt? Does the city include things like TIRZ bonds (if they are ultimately the responsibility of the City).

    Do any of you people have enough financial savvy to know how to look up something like current price of some of the Cities old bonds to see if they are selling at a discount or at above face value? I think that would tell us something about how the smart guys view the current and future financial ability of the City. I would really like to see what those Yarington Road TIRZ bonds are selling for. Who knows, if I got a good enough discount, I might end up owning the Yarington bridge. Boy would those people that live there be pissed when they had to pay me a toll.

    Has the Council discussed these issues in an open meeting. Yea, I know. What a silly thought. Remember that I just feel off the turnip truck from Cuero. Go back and read the above and every where I used the phrase city, substitute me, us, the utility bill payer or the tax payer as appropriate.

    I have posted before that I am not green and I am not a growth at any cost advocate but I lean more towards the growth side. My primary concern is open government. This Pasa Robles thing might be the greatest thing since canned beer or it might be a huge scam. We (or at least I) don’t have enough information to know. If we had more open government, I think most of us would know how the TIRZ at Yarington worked but my guess is that very few of us have a clue as to how that deal was structured. I am even going to guess that few members of the Council know how that deal was structured and what the present status of the bonds are.

    Is the County going to participate in the Paso Robles project? If not, why not? The county has just as much to gain or lose in this deal as the City. Is the school district going to participate? Same argument as the County. If this is good for the long term tax basis for the City, isn’t it a good long term investment for the school district? If not, why not?

    One more item before I go. Somebody (probably Billy) in this thread (or maybe another thread) dissed Sagewood. Please leave Sagewood along. I am now at the stage of my life where, instead of being irritated by Sagewood, I want to live there for one last good semester. One last big blow out before it kills me. It will be even better than my youth at TSU. Remember how good it felt to sleep through those eight o’clock classes. Beer, Bongs and Babes. My poor old by-passed heart may not make it but I will go out with a smile on my face.
    Charles Sims

  96. Maybe we could just ask them, in public, the closed-end question (nearly always effective, if you refuse to take a “no Texas two-step allowed” approach), of course politely but firmly: “Yes or no, true or false.” That doesn’t take up one’s allotted three minutes; allows many others to speak; elicits vital information; and gives each individual Council Member a chance to answer, without giving them anywhere to hide. Please, not a loaded question, which is rhetorically framed to make them look bad, like “Are we in the back pockets of these guys?” Tactless and non-productive. A better one might be, “Is the discussion over, each of you already being convinced this vote is something you already intend to commit us to when all is said and done?”

    The view from the dais can cause an involuntary shiver (along with other, less visible, bodily reactions–nudge, nudge, wink, wink) when one walks into the room, if there is a big crowd. “Oh, no, it’s not going to be another ‘enjoy a quickie and move on’ kind of night.” A cad like me might even address the audience, again politely: “Could we see a show of hands, just to know? How many were ASKED by an interested party, either in the crowd, at the podium, or on the dais, to come here and support Item __? To oppose it?” Or worse, “Who in here stands to get some direct benefit or political ‘remuneration” (never, my stars, ‘payback’ or ‘payoff”) from this item?” That kind of stuff just angers people who might still be actually CONSIDERING something. And it can give ’em cause to lie. (Oh, noooo, Mr. Bill!)

    We must also bear in mind, as must they, and we can point that out fairly, that they all but one have to stand for election. In this case, some of them very soon. That and recall and bringing a lawyer along are the citizens’ infallible recourse. The folks who care, and this discussion indicates a goodly number, can ask questions or offer opinions. But the questioners should not all be identifiable political opponents, which turns the initiative back to the Rulers–takes attention away from the real Representatives. Also, there is a new player in the game: SMLN, as pointed out earlier in a thread, introduces a new player in the game–a group of Journalists who don’t just run the press releases. The walls now have ears, and anybody who is awake knows that, especially the folks who depend on public reportage of the facts as they emerge. Emerge they will, if we insist.

    A Real Journalist has the JOB of just reporting and interpreting. Aside from the suspicions (aspersions?) cast earlier in the discussion, a genuine and professional Editor/Publisher/Writer cannot let his/her private candidate support or personal secret ballot right interfere with the reporting. It is not their JOB to be cheerleaders, but to make judgments about whether the fairness and justice and openness of the governing body is working. This despite what the hired-gun press may lead us to believe. (They ain’t ALL like that, you wonderful folks out in radio-land, and they don’t ALL make millions by tossing out red meat to the crowd.)

    Like Chris and Steve, I worry about the rush to “finish up my Honorable business while I can.” That is a common enough, and understandable, way to think. I’ve done it myself. But I keep thinking of another old and obnoxious song, whose words go something like, “Mama don’t ‘low no ‘patos cojos’ round here.” Being a low-bred barbarian, if I see a lame duck hustling past, I want to catch it, kill it, and eat it. The agenda item in question should stand on its own two feet, if it has any. It may pass. It may fail. Either way, it belongs to the taxpayers, who are going to pay dearly if they are wrong. Look at the public record.

    It makes me feel truly guilty to sound as if I am some self-appointed genius of democracy, anointed to teach the dummies. I am not surrounded by dummies, as anybody can see. But the recent history of our town’s being run like an ATM makes me wonder and worry. SMLN gives me a window of hope.

    And remember, we can always ask the opinions and commitments of the candidates. They HAVE to tell us truly, if they want to be “innies.” That is their reason for running, i would hope. Surely we are not just a stepping stone or cash cow for the newbies. Finally, any one of them who is NOT present for something this crucial can NOT be serious.

  97. Mr. Sims (May I call you that?), are you being a nit-picker? It’s just money, after all, and in this case not even real money, just an IOU. (OMG! Did I just sound like GWB, my handy scapegoat for everything now wrong with America?) As for your questions, we can talk.

  98. If the SMCiCo tries unreasonably to limit questions and debate on the issue(s) at their meeting, let ’em call the cops to enforce that. People do have reasonable questions, and have the right to answers to each. Or there IS a thing called a Petition for Restraining Order that a judge might be interested in seeing. $30M large is a lot of tax money. WHY is there such a hurry to lock in our future (he asked with a foolish grin)? Then again, in order to avoid a public free-for-all, citizens can 1) select designated questioners; 2) sign up to speak and then yield some accumulated time to the next person; 3) just speak quietly for or against, tell why for the record, ask for a show of hands in agreement, and take a seat. Just don’t be bullied. They swore a formal oath that they were there to serve us honestly.

  99. Sorry- off topic, but when I read Clark’s comment it made me wonder…Why did HaysCISD build the school in that community and not SMCISD? I also went to Blanco Vista’s website and oddly enough, they NEVER use the words “San Marcos”!

  100. Slim: Blanco Vista has the unusual characteristic of being in the San Marcos city limits, but in the jurisdiction of Hays Consolidated ISD. School district boundaries do not necessarily match other political boundaries. For the record, they are also served by PEC rather than SMEU for electical service.

  101. Thanks cws.
    But don’t you find it odd, that on their (Blanco Vista) website, they use the word “community” 100s of times, yet some how (or some reason) avoid the words “San Marcos”.

    So their sales pitch is:
    1. Children will attend a Hays Consolidated School.
    2. You are not San Marcos.

  102. You know, if their website is going to portray these developments as being part of Austin, which it does, then why don’t they go to them for the handouts, I mean incentives, or whatever word rich people want to use to justify their own form of welfare.

  103. Will Conley has been informed about the 110 loop and he informed me last night that he will be at the meeting tonight. I hope the county STAYS involved in this discussion and some of the decisions.

  104. Citizens can sign up to speak. You have to sign up before 6:45pm at City Hall in order to have your name called during the “Citizen Comment Period” this evening. Or, if you want to speak at the beginning of one of the several “Hearings” this evening, you simply need to be present, no need to “sign up” in advance. We the people need to get more involved in what our city leaders are doing. Showing up to express our viewpoints, concerns, perspective, is an important part of us becoming a better community.

  105. Carma Development wants San Marcos taxpayers to contribute $20-30 million dollars to their private gated residential community. And, they are demanding the City change the Transportation Master Plan to move Loop 110 (a 4-lane divided highway) from Centerpoint to McCarty Lane.

    Carma Development already brought the same request to the Transportation Advisory Board on 2 different occasions. Both times the request was soundly denied. Then, City Council disbanded the Transportation Advisory Board, so now they are bringing the same request directly to City Council.

    City engineers already reviewed their original requests and said McCarty Lane doesn’t provide enough width for a 4-lane divided highway.

    This would be a significant impact to the existing property owners and residents on McCarty Lane. But, the McCarty Lane property owners weren’t notified of this proposed change. Mayor and City Council members, how would you like to have a 4-lane divided highway “all of the sudden” planned for in front of your property, and to not even be told about the Hearing?

  106. mstevens,

    Let me see if I have this straight:

    Will Conley is Hays County Commissioner for Pct 3
    Loop 110 is a Hays County Pct 1road project
    Local developer Randall Morris purchased several hundred acres of watershed for a paltry sum
    Morris is a big contributor to Commissioner Conley and doesn’t contribute to Pct 1 Commission Ingalsbe
    Will Conley illegally sued a Pct 1 elderly couple in 2008 to keep the Loop 110 project alive
    Morris paid reduced property taxes using an agricultural exemption
    Morris plans to sell 21 acres to ACC for $2.28 million and donate 51 acres of hillside to ACC
    ACC is tax exempt so there will be not five year reach back for market value property taxes
    Oh yes, Will Conley is an ACC CPPPS board member

    And you post,“Will Conley has been informed about the 110 loop…”

    Where have you folks been the past several years!!!!

    With Commissioner Conley’s help, Morris screwed the City of San Marcos taxpayers the same way when Morris sold ten acres and donated twenty acres of cheap floodplain to the Village of San Marcos (a City non-profit) for $200,000 that Mayor Narvaiz approved. Morris kept the remaining six acres along Hunter Rd and is asking $1million for each acre. Morris paid less than $400,000 for the whole 36 acres.

    Boy, you folks really must enjoy being screwed. The local property owners have been fighting FM110 for years and no one listened.

    City tax payers might also ask where the $1.9 million federal earmark for 110 has gone. Seems the road isn’t being built to federal standards and so the $1.9 million is lost. The $207 million road bond promised the $1.9 million as part of the deal.

    Conley and Barton – Barton and Conley. Both BIG senders for their special interests.

  107. Glad to see the loop is not going to be moved to McCarty. Thanks to everyone who showed up tonight and to everybody who got the word out.

  108. Of course, I still think we will need that section of the loop, somewhere, and no matter where we put it, people will be developing near it when we finally build it…

  109. Look out citizens, Carma is coming at us on Tuesday for $20-30 million dollars to fund their private gated community residential development. Some people feel Carma did a “smoke screen” with the McCarty Lane hubbub, to distract us from their request for $20-30 million dollars. P&Z is holding a Public Hearing on Tuesday (August 10) to discuss annexing Paso Robles into the San Marcos City Limits and to enter into a comprehensive Development Agreement. Based on the developer-oriented cheerleading at the dais during the last P&Z meeting for Carma, folks, watch out, we’re about to get $20-30 million more dollars added to our long-term obligations (unless there is enough visibility and public hue and cry to get our City Leaders to slow down for a moment before they obligate us to fund this private gated community residential development). It will take even more people than ever before, banding together, to stop this runaway spending train.

  110. Thank you, Dr. O’Dell (are you a GP?) for serving as a rather pointed memory jogger. Some people just can’t follow the day-to-day truth through the fog of BS. As for… well, that OTHER thing you mention, twice. I once did, a really lot, but as time marches on, I find it less satisfying. And yes, boys and girls, O’Dell is right–it was about the money, then, IS about the money now, and will be about the money forever, unless folks demand that it stop. (Remember when I asked a while back if people had peeled the onion to see if there were ANY names in common involved with all Mayor Susie’s “big deals,” under all the obfuscation?) And why on earth would a person not support Commissioner Gonzales-Ingalsbe, as experienced and honest and hardworking as she is?

    Oh!! Myyyyyy ! GAWD!!! (OMG, for the hip crowd): I just had a flashback to George Wallace, standing defiantly on the State House steps and issuing his declaration (Look it up. I’m tired.).

  111. If somebody has found the link to the P&Z packet (not just the agenda) for the August 10 meeting, please let us know. If you post it here, remember to put a space in the link so that it is not a hyperlink, since SMLN does not allow hyperlinks in the comments.

    For example, the agenda packets are listed on a COSM page online, but the most recent listed is 27 July 2010 (they need to keep this page current), and the link to that packet is:

    www . ci.san-marcos.tx.us / departments /planning / CDBG / docs / 072310PZpckt.pdf

    I list the above as an example of one way to place the link to the packet in a format that is not directly hyperlink (so, one simply needs to remove the spaces, and voila you get to the link).

    It would be VERY HELPFUL to be able to see the packet in advance of Tuesday’s P&Z meeting, so we can see what kinds of things Carma will specifically attempt to accomplish in the Public Hearing.

  112. We need to be able to see the P&Z packet for Tuesday’s meeting. With 5 Public Hearings scheduled, and all the things Carma wants us to do for them, we the citizens need this information, and in advance of Tuesday’s meeting.

    I appreciate what Jeffrey Jewett said (elsewhere) on Carma’s request for a $20-30 million dollar taxpayer handout for infrastructure for their new Paso Robles development:

    “Why are our City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commissioners even considering absolving Carma of that liability? Why would we consider imposing a new tax on our current and future citizens with a TIRZ? This is counterproductive to sensible economic development which increases our indebtedness as a city.”

    And, as Jewett said further:

    “With many of the development issues that have come to my attention over the last two years I am worried that our local officials are taking the residents and their tax dollars for granted and might like to use our tax money for the benefit of others.”

    Carma is a big corporation with lots of money and lots of resources. They know how to work these deals on multiple fronts from all kinds of angles in order to maximize their financial gain.

    We don’t need to give more developer handouts. Let them build their private gated residential community with their own money, and not obligate any more taxpayer money than is absolutely necessary. We certainly don’t need to be committing millions of taxpayer dollars to Carma.

    I’m concerned they have the resources to push their case forward no matter what. We already know P&Z Commissioners are cheerleading them to move forward. Who is going to stand up for the citizens? It sure sounds like we need to keep showing up to these meetings, and talking to the P&Z Commissioners along with the Mayor and City Council members, to let them know we don’t want to keep giving away millions of taxpayer dollars to developers.

    Just because we’ve done it in the past (Yarrington Road bridge, Stonecreek Crossing, and such), that doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it now and in the future. We are not a bank. We have more than doubled our long-term debt and financial obligations during the past five years. Our leaders need to be more responsible with our money.

    And, just that fact that Carma is trying to get this money from us, makes citizens wonder if there are other things going on here?

  113. Being the sorry person I am, I have told Mr. Jewett about SMLN, and he seems to have real–and apparently unbiased and factual–interest in current CiCo issues and the crude and I hope, unknowing meanderings of our P&Z. I have blown my lungs out here, on various threads, about our current state of “planning” and the several current and future “deals” being made in the name of it.

    I believe that several of the “posters” are getting very, VERY warm: Steve, cws, mstevens, Charles O’Dell, Charles Sims….

    STILL, NOBODY HAS ANSWERED MR. SIMS’S QUESTION, ABOVE, ABOUT BONDING… a driving issue in all this. (Maybe Former Mayor Bob Habingreither, Will Conley’s father-in-law, could help. Or former mayor Kathy Morris. They, of ALL people, should know.) Or maybe Charlie or someone like him (!!!?) should ask P&Z AT the Tuesday meeting–not the Staff, but the guys who keep committing us to all these giveaways based on the City’s credit.

    (Yo, Steve! You and a couple of other paranoids keep asking about a possible “stealth” candidate for CM, to get this riot under control. Being a professional strategic planner myself, I was intrigued today to read the “Chamber Window” column in today’s SMDR (Is the “B” for “Broken” missing?). The column would have seemed unusual, especially the last part, in italics, except… well, you know. Look for the recurrence of the rather unusual name, Kordell N. in your future.)

    The thing that troubles me about this marvelous way of community dialogue is that the “threads” keep getting lost–raveled, I call it–so folks can’t keep up with apparently divergent issues that are really part of the same fabric. I’ve at least learned to use the “link” keywords to relocate the trail of crumbs, but I still feel moved to bring them back up and together. I believe cws may have referred above to the skill of the “Big Boys” at scattering tinfoil to cancel out the radar, which is evident in the ever-multiplying “threads” relating somehow to the CARMA/Paso Robles and transportation issues we have. (I must confess, I never knew until last Tuesday’s CiCo meeting that “we, the citizens” had dispatched Mayor Susie and Com. Will to Campo and the Corridor Council and the Downtown
    Association to change/delete 20 years of long, hard, dedicated, open Citizen and professional planning work at the stroke of their pens. Whoa, Clever Ones! Let’s take a step back.)

    All the tinfoil in the air does not affect me, however; I already wear a tinfoil hat. Look for the LINKS and pray, mes amis. The Living Dead are on our streets, aqnd they’re hungry.

  114. Kordell is surely not a stealth candidate for CM. I worked with him in Dallas at CompuCom Systems back in the day, and his subsequent career path has taken flight into his “Strategies for Growth” consultancy.

  115. Does any of that explain away the strange RFP process, the need for lightning speed in filling the slot, or there being “no municipal experience necessary. This still ain’t bidness, and it still ain’t easy. Knowing govt.in Dallas may not be an asset here for the finest man alive. We’re talking of customs, practical and specific skills, knowledge of the law and Best Management Practices FOR A CITY. I was a professional myself at Classic Strategic Planning and Mamagement, before, after and during my public service stint. Great skill used well, but not a sole qualification. Whether my guess IS right or not, just ‘Steve knowing the guy and vouching” is no more weighty than what soft drink you prefer. The formal education and training, along with long experience, are necessary for the incumbent who steps into this mess we’ve bought ourselves–the core technical stuff, not just “getting along well with people. As I said, I know nothing about the guy–but I’d love to know our candidate’s ability to guide things like incurring new debt or understanding water and Civil Service issues–and knowing when and how to stand up against scammers in benefactors’ clothing.

  116. What is the difference between the city spending $30 million on sewer lines for speculative development as they have done on the south east side (Cottonwood Interceptor, etc) and spending $30 mil for a known development with an actual plan to recoup some of that investment in the forseeable future? The $30 mil is for the extension of sewer and water lines to the development, not the interior lines serving each lot. Extending infrastructure for the logical and safe development of the city is in the core job description of a city. We borrow money for it all the time with no guarantee of getting paid back. None. If the economy turns around and Camino Real goes gangbusters and builds houses on every lot and sucks every drop of water out of the pipe and fills every inch of the sewer line the city still gets nothing back for all the money they spent to accomodate them. At least if Paso Robles builds out we get the note paid off by the increase in property taxes.

    I do share the concerns of an earlier poster who worries that dividing the $ Carma states they’ll invest by the number of lots equals some ungodly $/lot. I guess they are hanging their hat on the commercial.

  117. To be clear, I am “vouching” that Kordell is NOT a suitable candidate for CM position. He is a great guy with real skills and talent, but we need an experienced leader with a proven municipal track record. By the way, I prefer Diet Dr. Pepper (smile).

    Back on track, has anybody found the link to the August 10, 2010 P&Z meeting packet?

  118. Thank you for all the feedback. If anyone would like to read my opinion that I wrote in Sunday’s paper it is on-line with SMDR. I also wanted to let you all know that as of right now my schedule is allowing me to be at Tuesday’s meeting. I believe it might get interesting. The more citizens that can come the better we will all be in the end. Just remember the little little engine that could.

  119. The way it was presented at the last P&Z meeting, Carma is asking for the city to help pay for the infrastructure development within their private gated residential community. The $20-30 million of taxpayer money they are asking for in the TIRZ is indeed for money spent completely within their development.

  120. Methinks it may be OUR hat CARMA is “hanging on the commercial.” Of course, under shrewd questioning and with point-blank factual answers, we might know these things already. But that seemed no to be the “preferred strategy.” And the water/recharge questions are still being begged. More is perhaps at stake THERE than with all the fine details and frippery about all the wonderfulness and all the sales and bidness taxes we are still waiting to see justified or GUARANTEED. As has been pointed out here before, that is a LOT of tax return for so little space, relatively. And I can’t seem to recall that the developers are going to own or run that commercial–just hanging hats on it.

    Look for some new and smart faces to appear about now in the hearings, to help with such judgment calls.

  121. Cities wisely don’t commit a lot of money to new, unusual “spec” real estate ventures, and neither do good bankers (see “Economic Recession, 2008,” and “Bubble, Housing.”) To be “screwed,” as some have called it, we have to have some “skin in the game.” Hopefully not our future as a solid community.

  122. The P&Z packet for Tuesday’s meeting is posted online now. Here is the link to the COSM page where you can download it:

    www. sanmarcostx.gov / departments / planning / PlanningCommissionMinutes.htm

    On the above link, all you need to do is copy and paste it into your browser, and remove the spaces.

    Then it will take you to the main COSM Planning Department page, scroll down a touch and you will see the link to download the August 10, 2010 P&Z Commission Agenda Packet.

  123. I don’t believe that I have seen a TIRZ clearly defined here, although in 135 posts, it is possible.

    My understanding is that there are (hypothetically) proposed infrastructure improvements, which would benefit the city, and would otherwise not be constructed. The developer then pays the up-front costs of these improvements and, as development occurs and property values increase, the developer is reimbursed from the increased tax revenues.

    If development never takes off and property values never increase, eventually the TIRZ expires and the developer is not repaid.

    Now, things are often not really as they are explained (even when explained by city staff), perhaps because of confusion and poor communication, or perhaps for some other reason, so I looked it up. Here is the best explanation I could find:

    http :// www .cdfa.net/cdfa/cdfaweb.nsf/fbaad5956b2928b086256efa005c5f78/365ab9f57bc75576862572d50071e092/$FILE/Calderon%20Wallace%20TIRZ%20REVIEW6.pdf (remove spaces)

    If I have completely misunderstood, please correct me and ignore the rest of this post.

    The question, to me, is whether we are properly drawing the line between improvements required of the developer and improvements for which the developer would be reimbursed by the city. The other question, is whether these are improvements are something we want to fast-track.

    The disagreement between city staff and Carma, about which improvements should be eligible for a TIRZ is troubling, but could be seen as shrewd negotiating by the developer. Nothing to fault there, except that the city ought to be just as tough in negotiations and traditionally, we are not.

    The question re: fast-tracking these improvements is a tougher one. If the idea of the improvements east of 35, was to encourage development there, then don’t we negate that value when we put in similar improvements west of 35? Are we re-thinking where we want to encourage development?

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with this development, although I have a strong distaste for the developer. I am generally in favor of the developer taking on the financial responsibility for speculative development, with the city reimbursing them only when/if the development is successful. I would not want to subsidize this development, by reimbursing Carma for improvements that fall in a “gray area,” between things that are clearly the city’s responsibility and those that are clearly the developer’s. I’d also be wary of the law of unintended consequences.

  124. I called planning and asked them to e-mail the packet to me and it just showed up in my inbox. This tax issue is a huge one,but one of my other issues is this; A developer JUST develops the land, they in turn sell it to builders. It is up to the builders to build appropriately for the development. If Carma sells it to the same type of builders they did with Blanco Vista, what will that do to the property owners who happen to already own in that vicinity? I understand this is the way of the world, but with my tax dollars I want some say as to what gets built.

    Another big issue is they want to put in more then 3700 homes. They want it to be a community of 55 years or older. Do we have 3400 people, 55 years or older who want to move to a 50×100 square foot lot. They are saying the homes will sell for 275,000 all the way to $700,000. Who in their right mind would put a $700,000 home on a 50×100 foot lot, can’t build out so you will have to build up. Say a three story homes with a basement. If I was to build a $700.000 home in SM it wouldn’t be in that development. I would want space to spread out.

    None of this is making any sense to me. I feel like we are missing some huge issues here. Some way we need to follow the money trail, but trust me Carma knows what their doing, cause I can promise you this ain’t their first rodeo.

  125. Those are some interesting points and concerns and they kind of point to one overriding concern, which turns up here, with Windmere, with the smart codes, etc.

    The city has a history of approving (and incentivizing) various projects over objections from the citizens, claiming that the projects will be of great benefit to us all, and that the benefits will far outweigh the cost of any incentives or other concessions. When that does not turn out to be the case, the city conveniently washes its hands of the whole project and moves on.

    I do not recall seeing or hearing any post-mortem discussions about why various projects have not turned out to be as wonderful as we had hoped, or how we can fix them, or even how we can do better next time. I thnk if the city built up a track record of following up to make sure that these developments really did benefit the neighbors, the city, the economy, etc., the way they were projected to, then people would feel a little more comfortable supporting them. The idea that if we throw enough money at enough projects, eventually one of them will turn out to be a winner, only creates concerns that people are about to be subjected to the next loser.

  126. Cities speculate in the form of extended infrastructure all the time. Who paid to pipe the water from the surface water treatment plant to the tank out on RR12? Who paid to run sewer to Blanco Riverwalk? Who paid to get the water to the street where you live? My experience is cities have been slowly backing out of their side of that deal for the last 20 years and shifting more and more of that cost to the developers. Sometimes they push a little too hard (see Flower Mound vs Stafford Estates). Sometimes they do it to encourage development in a preferred growth area and sometimes they do it because development is occuring despite their best efforts to discourage it. The question of what is the city’s responsibility is certainly debatable and it should be. I happen to like Carma. I like what they did at Blanco whatever (side bar comment – let’s pass a law that nothing else can be named Blanco anything.) Nice amenities. Great pool. School and parks you can walk to. They were cursed by bad economy and IMHO, bad floor plans. I’m shocked they want to keep investing in this depressed part of the I-35 corridor but if they go belly up and the next guy gets in for pennies on the dollar we’re still ahead and we’re still playing on their dime.

  127. I also have a very good source who has spent 30 years doing this for a living that the ENTIRE utility development should only cost 20 – 30 million. Which leads me to believe that they want an insurance policy from the City to pay for the entire underground infrastructure. I’m talking the whole thing including water, waste-water, sewer, cable and telephone.

    They are on the record for saying they will put 700 million into this project, but that number is way out of line from the research I have done and my source.

  128. It is certainly possible that they are over-valuing the whole project, to improve their negotiating position. I’d love to see a breakdown of that $700 million. I’d also love to see up revisit the projections from about a dozen previous projects, as mentioned in my last post.

  129. This area does not meet the (loose) requirements for a TIRZ in Texas. From the Texas Property Tax Code:
    “To be designated as a reinvestment zone, an area must substantially arrest or impair the sound growth of the municipality or county creating the zone, retard the provision of housing accommodations, or constitute an economic or social liability and be a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare in its present condition” and [other requirements].

    No honest review could conclude this area meets the requirements. If the City wants to subsidize the development, it will have to do it the old fashioned way — front-end investment, and I don’t think we can afford that. No dice Carma.

  130. A TIRZ was create to fund the Yarrington overpass and I don’t think it was much different than Paso Robles. TIF’s (TIRZ) are used all over the place. Somehow they get around that language.

    TIF = Tax Increment Financing
    TIRZ = Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (the area where sales tax increases go to pay back the TIF loan)

    I guess the fundamental questions are do you want Paso Robles and will Carma proceed without the TIF? I personally don’t care if they come or not. I also don’t care if we do a TIF for them. It’s money we don’t have today and won’t have if Carma goes away but will have if they proceed without a TIF. It might limit the amount of debt we are otherwise able to take on and I don’t know who has to pay if the development doesn’t occur fast enough to pay off the loan. I can’t imagine the property tax increases at Blanco Vista are paying off the Yarrington overpass but I don’t know who is making up the shortfall if there is one.

  131. Bob, I believe the developer (Carma) eats it, if tax revenue does not come in fast enough. Unfortunately, searching the city website for TIRZ does not turn up any documentation re: the terms of the TIRZ, its expiration date, percentage of increased taxes to be allocated to the TIRZ, etc.

  132. Did a little more digging. I think this is it, but I haven’t had a chance to read it, to confirm.

    http :// www .ci.san-marcos.tx.us/departments/engineering/Docs/SanMarcosTIRZ2.3.final.pdf (remove spaces)

  133. Thanks Ted for doing the work to dig that out. Here’s a paragraph from page 7…

    “Finally, it should be noted that all taxing entities are shielded from risk in that the developer provides the initial funding for the proposed infrastructure projects and only received reimbursement from the TIRZ when and if the increment is created by the project. The sole source of reimbursement to the developer is new real property tax revenue (increment) generated by the development itself.”

    The doc is 23 pages long and I haven’t had a chance to read it completely but it looks like the city is nothing more than a bill collector. By participating the city gives a lender some additional confidence to make the loan.

  134. That’s what it sounds like to me, too, as long as it only covers stuff that we were going to do anyway.

    Suppose I have plans to move to a new production facility, as demand requires and I have a distributor, who claims he is going to drive that demand. I’m not planning to move yet, because the current demand for my products does not require a move to a bigger facility. The distributor thinks that is going to change, because of work he is doing and he wants to fund the new facility, with me repaying him, out of incremental sales increases.

    Fine by me.

    If he also wants me to repay him for additional trucks that he is going to buy and planning he is going to do, to coordinate shipments from the new production facility, that’s not so good. I’m not interested in reimbursing those expenses.

    That appears to be where the disagreement with the city lies, and I am not entirely confident that it will work out in our favor. Maybe it will.

    Then, there are still the questions of unintended consequences, whether these infrastructure improvements really benefit the city, whether Carma would build without our assistance, etc.

  135. Also, some of the stuff in that doc was a little difficult to sort out. I’d really like to see the second doc, with the payment terms, because at first glance, it almost looks like Carma would receive 100% of incremental tax revenue, for a fixed period of time, with no cap. I would expect that the reimbursement would be capped at the actual cost, plus some reasonable amount of interest. I don’t see that here. I may have overlooked it, or it may be in the other doc.

  136. Developer requires $X million in infrastructure before project can get off the ground. Developer does not have $X million, nor will anyone loan it to them, so they look around for someone else to foot the bill. A TIF has the government (or in other words, the taxpayer) foot the initial bill, and those who purchase from the developer foot the actual cost via taxes. Great deal for developer, ain’t so sure about the rest of us. The important thing to note is that the developer absolutely must have the infrastructure money before the project will fly; in the business world they have no leverage at all, unless they want to cut the money man in for a portion of the profit.

  137. I think in this case, developer requires $X in infrastructure. Government is not interested in funding infrastructure, because it is not currently needed. Developer funds infrastructure. Government repays developer for infrastructure, if it ever gets used.

  138. As I read the TIF document from the city web site, the developer gets a loan, makes the payments and gets reimbursed for those payments by the city from the taxes they collect on the increase in taxes on the property outlined in the TIRZ. But if the taxes don’t go up the developer gets nothing and has to come out of pocket to make the payment. The gamble for the city is “would the developer proceed anyway and then the city gets to keep all the new tax revenue”? Of course, the developer is claiming the infrastructure necessary to proceed is the obligation of the city in the first place.

  139. Also developer has city remove requirement for some infrastructure, thus shifting the entire cost burden of that infrastructure back onto the city, and the city negotiates nothing in exchange, but that’s another matter.

  140. Re: negotiating – I seem to recall some debate about whether they (Carma) were allocating enough land for greenspace. It would have been interesting to hear someone on City Council calculate the acreage of ROW required for the roadway, as described in the thoroughfare plan, and ask for a comparable amount of additional greenspace.

    Just a thought.

  141. As it is, it’s like a beauty queen “negotiating” terms of a first date with a 40 year old virgin.

  142. I don’t think Carma has to worry about getting any loans from outside sources. From what was hinted at the last P&Z meeting by the Carma fellow, they must have REAL deep pockets and this is not their first rodeo.

    As for the TIRZ, the Carma fellow also said at the last P&Z mtg that they only wanted to use it for infrastructure OUTSIDE the development that would normally be the requirement of the city.

  143. Chris, the sad thing is, we ought to be the beauty queen in that scenario.

    Winchester, I’m curious to see that too. I don’t know if they would be paying out of pocket, or seeking financing and I don’t know if a commitment from the city, to reimburse them, helps their position when seeking that loan.

    A brief search turns up Brookfield Properties (NYSE: BPO, $3.85 billion in revenue, $1.63 billion net income, $127 million cash on hand), as the owners of Carma. So, it is unclear whether they are going to need outside funding.

  144. Brookfield Properties is trying to sell Carma to Brookfield Homes (NYSE: BHS, $384 million in revenue, $38.7 million net loss, no cash on hand).

    Both are owned by Brookfield Asset management.

    Not sure what questions all that answers, but it is interesting.

  145. The interesting fact check would be to see if they are vertically integrated, like say KB. Those economic monsters have to keep chugging along spitting out development after development just to cash flow.

  146. True. They also have the ability to bankroll some really nice improvements for the community. I wish I knew more about what they funded in and around Blanco Vista, or had time to figure it out. The simplest way for Carma and the city to get people onboard, would be to highlight the positives of that development. Unless, of course, it has turned out to be a bust.

    I know that 5-mile dam is looking nice and the facilities in Blanco Vista look nice. How much (if any) of that was funded by Carma? I have no idea. How much is open to the public and how much is restricted to Blanco Vista residents? How are the homes? Have people had good or bad experiences with the builders? Dunno, dunno, dunno.

    This would be a great time to have a post-mortem, to see what went well, what went not so well, what the people in the development think, what the people around the development think, what we could do better with Paso Robles, etc. I’m a little confused by the rush, rush, rush mentality, if the market is still so slow and they are planning to be a long-term partner with the rest of the community.

  147. you guys are awesome for doing the “grunt work” for the rest of us.
    Thank you so much.
    A side note that I may have mentioned before but is worthy of a repeat:
    Carma does not want to give ANY land or money “in lieu of” period, per our LDC requirements for parkland dedication.
    They think that the private golf course in the gated community should count.
    The parks board said “no”, two or three times. Ed Theriot accused the parks board of being a “activist board” for saying so, and threatened them with legal action.
    Build the golf course community without the golf course and remove the gate, then we’ll talk.

  148. Does that mean that no “money in lieu of” went to 5-mile dam? What is the park situation with Blanco Vista?

  149. Here is a list of the Public Infrastructure and Improvements slated by Carma to possibly be part of the TIRZ:
    (All numbers in millions)

    Hunter Rd. Water Lines $3.7
    McCarty Tank Pumps $1.4
    Regional Water Line Infrastructure $6.9
    Regional Offsite Wastewater Improvements $2.1
    Wastewater Turnk Line and Oversizing Improvements $3.9
    Reclaimed Water Line $2.2

    Also, the golf course will be privately owned but will be open to the public at the same daily rate as the landowners so it will be considered a public golf course. At least that is what was said at the last P&Z Meeting.

  150. Thanks for the info. Those are still pretty broad descriptions. It’s not clear what is disputed, between Carma and the city staff. Not that you need to rehash all of that here. Unless you want to.

  151. Hooray for all of you! The community seems to be regaining its honest voice(s)! Nobody has ever accuased me of being a nice guy, or better than a clown. But, like Martin Luther before the Papal Inquiry, I must say, “Here I stand. I can do no other.

    I thought it might be nice if those of you headed for P&Z might perversely and consistently call Paso Robles “Paso Rubles.” That is Russian for “money.” Make ’em correct you, out loud. Or the audience could sit and hum that notable Joel Grey number from “Caqbaret,” which this entire pageant calls to mind: “Mon-ey makes the vurld go a-round….”

    And remember, water fans, that is really the most important thing at stake in the Buie/Paso Rubles/Windemere/SH110 San Marcos Parkway Loop trifecta being gambled on between us, Randall, Will, CiCo, and friends. Back Dianne Wassenich to the hilt, as she is right, irrespective of the $$ giveaways in progress. You’ve got ’em in your sights now. Please DON’T let ’em skate. Steve, I’ll be there with you in spirit–on the phone, if necessary.

  152. Mayor Moore, the water issue is huge, but shutting down development is not the answer. I’d like to see more gray water usage, more rainwater collection, more xeriscape, more (any?) recharge dams etc. What are we doing, to encourage developers down those paths?

  153. Carma also touts Blanco Vista as NOT being in SMCISD. Paso Robles, will it be excluded from SMCISD, too? From a purely selfish financial perspective, if this private gated residential community really is targeted to wealthy 55+ year old empty-nesters, then it could be a GOLD MINE for whichever school district lands them. Just think, you have expensive homes that will pay big school taxes, and at the same time they won’t place any expense burden on the school district because their kids are already graduated from High School. Wouldn’t it be a shame for San Marcos to provide financial incentives to this residential development, only to see all the school taxes go to a different school system. Kind of like what happened with Blanco Vista, where we end up paying for that big fancy Yarrington Road bridge at the northern fringe of our city limits, but all the school tax money goes to a different school system, not SMCISD. Just sayin’…

  154. Steve,
    Paso Robles will indeed be in SMCISD. During the presentation by Carma at the last P&Z, they showed the expected tax revenue for SMCISD. I can’t recall how much it was, though.

    Ted,
    Rainwater collection is great but it too will be restricted soon enough. There are already rumblings at the EAA about regulating rainwater collection over the recharge since it takes away from the aquifer. At least that is what I was told by an EAA insider. Personally, as a custom home builder, I prefer rainwater collection. The last 2 homes that I have built were 100% rainwater collection with no dependence on groundwater or public water whatsoever. They do not even have a tap or a well for back up. If I had it to do over, I would have done a rainwater collection system for my home too instead of drilling a well. My home is 300 yards from the City well at the end of Harmon’s Way and I have a good, shallow well but still would have preferred rainwater collection. I encourage all of my clients to use it if at all possible.

  155. Curtis, that is interesting to hear.

    I’m not sure what the solution is. I suspect it is a combination of steps. It is interesting (to me) that we have periods of drought and periods of deluge and during the latter, we watch all of that excess rain flow down the rivers (often taking our houses) and into the gulf. Wouldn’t it be great, if we could capture that water and store it, to be pumped into the recharge zone later, or divert it to recharge features where it could percolate back down to the aquifer at a slower rate, or do anything other than watch it flow by?

    Not that it has anything to do with Carma. I’m just not convinced that stopping development will do much to ease our water worries.

  156. Ted said “Thanks for the info. Those are still pretty broad descriptions. It’s not clear what is disputed, between Carma and the city staff. Not that you need to rehash all of that here. Unless you want to.”

    That is all of the information that I have as well.

  157. It should also be noted that the TIRZ and what is in it should and will be decided by Council, not P&Z..

  158. ***A brief addendum: By “Robert’s Rules,” if a proposition is passed/denied on a valid motion, any member having voted for the prevailing side may move to resurrect the item, usually based on new findings of fact or changes not anticipated in the original item as debated.

    (See “City of San Marcos Planning Commission v. City of San Marcos Planning Commission [1986?], IN RE: [oddly enough] approval of McCarty Estates (Oaks?), LTD. A landmark case in which MY then-P&Z had to sue itself to overturn a decision made on the basis of a Professional-Engineer-sealed Environmental Impact Statement and Water Provider Certification.) Honest Aart Millecam, a Commissioner at the time, bothered to dig after the fact of our approval and uncovered the fraud. So we actually sued ourselves and won, thereby saving the City a boatload of $$$ and grief. The lying engineer, far as I know, was not wounded in the fray, though his Seal should have been revoked by the State. The development subsequently went in under a different banner, and did fine. Honestly, the second time around. Ask Aart or Carol Grimm, if you know them.

    Ted, I hate to see you WISH for information, again and again. It is yours. Belongs to the public. It is accessible. And however big the smokescreen, nondisclosure and FOI barrier, you can DEMAND to see it. But that depends on whether you and Mayor Susie and friends have the same sense of urgency to “get this thing passed so the New Council won’t have to trouble their fresh little heads with it.” Hell, those folks are volunteering for this, and spending time, energy and money to get to “serve.” They deserve no special favors or kind consideration. YET.

    That’s what the thing about getting to call oneself “Honorable” and please “Mama and them” is all about.

  159. Somebody, please reconnect this “thread” to the highly-related ones, for ongoing perspective’s sake. We tend to get focused narrowly and lose the bigger picture. Which disorganizes our thinking, collectively. I’m tired. I’m out.

  160. Well, we’ve just hit a record, I’m pretty sure, for hits on a thread in this town and on this site.
    Cool.
    Ted- that means they don’t want to contribute a g-d thing to our town in the way of parks and openspace in our community.
    Does anyone really think the people who live in this gated community will never use our parks, river and associated infrastructure??
    When you build a neighborhood, you must contribute to the town. It’s the cost of doing business and if you don’t like it, go somewhere else.
    Ask Chris Jones about Blanco Vista. He got a pretty good deal on a house out there.

  161. Here’s the info I have:
    EXHIBIT F

    LIST OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE AND IMPROVEMENTS

    WATER

    ITEM DESCRIPTION ESTIMATED COST
    1 Hunter Road Water Lines $ 3,696,078
    2 McCarty Tank Pumps $ 1,416,000
    3 Regional Water Line Infrastructure $ 6,923,350

    WASTEWATER

    ITEM DESCRIPTION ESTIMATED COST
    1 Regional Offsite Improvements $ 2,160,625
    2 Trunk Line and Oversizing Improvements $ 3,865,955

    RECLAIMED WATER LINE

    ITEM DESCRIPTION ESTIMATED COST
    1 Reclaimed Water Line $ 2,185,000

    PROJECTS TOTAL: $20,207,008

  162. Maoyr Moore, maybe I’m tired too. I can’t figure out what you were trying to say.

    a) I have NO sense of urgency to get this passed (or prevent it) and certainly feel no pressure timing-wise.

    b) The fact that I can get intormation via FOI requests is hardly an acceptable answer.

    I’m out too. I don’t even like to read.

  163. Also, I certainly hope you are not making assumptions about who my friends are. Unlike many “well connected” people, I am fairly selective in that regard and count those with that “honor,” with fingers to spare. None of them hold any elected office.

  164. OK everyone, if we were actually standing in front of Carma or P&Z what would we ask them about this development? We are keeping this thread going, but where do we actually need and want to go with this.? I have a couple of ideas myself, but what do y’all think? I have a chance tomorrow to ask a couple of questions to one person who can get us the answers, and trust me I NEED to make them count.

  165. First I would be respectful and gracious since Carma didn’t invent the adversarial system under which development occurs today. I truly do appreciate the investment they are making and the potential they see in our little community that, frankly, often escapes me. Then I might crack wise with some pithy malaprop about canucks, mounties or us having the better side of Niagra Falls. Canada, that place we all mean to go to someday… I would want to know what studies they have done that support the wisdom of building a golf course when play has been declining so much. I might applaud them for the foresight of marketing to the senior sector which is what San Marcos ought to be doing in earnest. I might ask them why they’re fighting the parkland dedication when they could buy so much goodwill with a generous donation. Then I would see if they had tried Cooper’s BBQ yet and take them down there for some ribs and Lone Star.

  166. regarding comment 174:

    ted, If you like the idea of holding back floodwaters and slowly perculating them into the aquifer, I hope you don’t like eating shrimp….. the thing about blogs is anyone with any idea (despite their shortsidedness) can say anything.

  167. What would I ask CARMA? If I were an investment banker the conversation might go something like this:

    Investment Banker: Mr. Carma, it is my understanding that your company has already secured the first 30 million for the development.

    Mr. Carma: Yes sir that is correct. We will have a complete development ready to go before we spend the first of our own dime. We will build some houses and if they sell, we can use that money to build more, etc… Building all those houses will cost about 700 million but if we work this right, we will never have more than a few million of our own money in this at any given time.

    Investment Banker: Wow, that’s a great deal. Where is this money coming from?

    Mr. Carma: The City of San Marcos is using what Texans call a Tax Incremental Finance bond sale to get us the 30 million

    Investment Banker: So you get the money no strings attached?

    Mr. Carma: No, not exactly. We have to tell the City that they will have enough money to pay the bonds back as new tax money comes in.

    Investment Banker: What happens if there is not enough money coming in to make the bond payments. Are you going to have to make payments out of your own pocket.

    Mr. Carma: Well, not exactly. If we were willing to be good for the money no matter what, we would just ask you to issue commercial bonds in our name for $30 million.

    Investment Banker: Well that’s not going to happen at even 12% interest. You are an investment vehicle for a big equity fund called Brookfield. Is Brookfield going to guarantee the payments if you, Mr. Carma, can’t make the payments.

    Mr. Carma: Of course not. Nobody on Wall would invest in Brookfield if they had this huge liability out there in Texas. You, as an investment banker of all people, should know that we are financial weasels who will sell our own mothers for two points. If things got bad, we could sell company to somebody else who would tell the City to go pound sand or if that didn’t work, we just put the whole Carma company in Chapter 11 and have some nice bankruptcy judge relieve us of all of our debt. Nothing would have any effect on Brookfield.

    Investment Banker: That is amazing. So we are back to my question. Why would anybody in their right mind buy these bonds.

    Mr. Carma: That’s the great thing. These bonds are ultimately backed by the full faith and credit of the City of San Marcos. No matter what, the bond buyers know that the city taxpayers can be forced to come up with the money to pay off the bonds. Why else would the bonds get sold for 4% for 30 years?

    Investment Banker: Mr. Carma you should work for Goldman-Sacs. Where did you say this town is? My cousin has a bridge that he needs to sell? Why would the taxpayers in this town agree to such a thing?

    Mr. Carma: That’s the beauty of this thing. They don’t know about it. We have already done this once before and we haven’t got around to defaulting on our payment to the city so they think this is a sure deal.

    Investment Banker: Ha, Ha!

    Mr. Carma: Ha, Ha!

  168. Now I get it, but, can I do the same thing, since our leaders are giving away our money with no strings attached?

  169. Mr. Ben, I am not sure what collecting excess waters from floods has to do with shrimp in the gulf, but I apologize for offending you, with an off-topic thought.

    Congratulations for exercising your right to “say anything on a blog,” refuting a vague idea, with a knee-jerk generalization.

  170. mstevens, I don’t really have a problem with the development (and I don’t think they will provide any answers that will make the project look bad), but I would be curious to know more about how they envision San Marcos in 10-20 years and how this development fits into (contributes to) that vision. I’m also curious about water and energy conservation measures they may be taking. That’s mostly just me being curious, though.

    If I had one question to ask, related to this discussion, and I was reasonably sure it would be answered, I’d ask if the development would proceed without the $30 million commitment from the city.

    If I had a second question, I would ask what it would take to get them to dedicate more greenspace. Maybe some more could go around the perimeter of the golf course. Maybe some could go where, until a week ago, there was going to be a highway. What would we have to do, to make that happen?

    If I had a third, I’d ask how they would rate San Marcos, relative to other communities where they have developments, as far as regulations go. I keep hearing that developers think it is too difficult to build here. Here is a developer, committing to a second huge project. Do they find our regulations to be out of line?

    On a somewhat related note, I’m curious to know how we compare to other communities, from a negotiation standpoint.

    Of course, I can’t say that I would expect truly honest answers to all of these questions, but I believe any answers might provide some long-term benefit, as we work with more developers.

  171. Here are some additional comments, questions, concerns about Carma and the proposed Paso Robles development.

    Their continued desire to use massive amounts of “grey water” for the golf course that will flow right into the aquifer is alarming.

    In certain scenarios, the TIRZ translates into General Obligations which must be paid by the City of San Marcos taxpayers.

    The $700 million figure being bandied about needs further explanation.

    Why should the City of San Marcos provide $20-30 million dollars for infrastructure development within this gated private residential community?

    Why should we consider huge financial incentives / obligations that help homes get built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone?

    Current residents are concerned that we will be financing new developments with our tax dollars and we would like a solution that sees needed infrastructure being put in place that is paid for fairly by those who will be benefiting from it.

    What makes Carma feel Paso Robles will work when Blanco Vista has been such a disappointment?

    Why did Carma push so hard to get the western loop segment of 110 moved onto McCarty Lane?

    Why should taxpayers be subsidizing the development industry?

    Should the headlines we read, “Brookfield Homes seeks merger talks with Carma Developers” pose any concern to us?

    With the help of the help of Michael Dutczak, Senior Vice President of Carma Developers LP, a case study entitled, “Financing Growth for the Future – Who Should Pay for What” was completed. In the report (see below quote), it states on-site infrastructure is paid for by the developer (Carma):

    “On-sites include the infrastructure that is constructed within the community boundaries. On-sites are currently paid for by the community developers, and include rough grading, deep services (water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer mains), shallow utilities (gas, power, telephone, and cable), service connections (deep and shallow utility connections to individual lots and commercial parcels), sidewalks and pathways, curbs and roadways, parks, and streetlights. These costs are in the order of $390,000 per acre.”

    In that context, why should the City of San Marcos participate in expenses that the developer normally pays for? Why should we be paying for their infrastructure, as they request in the Development Agreement, “including but not limited to streets and roads, streets and road drainage, land drainage, water, wastewater and other utility systems…”

    Why should the City of San Marcos agree to, “purchase, condemn or otherwise acquire the necessary right of way for the portions of said planned minor arterial (road) between the Property and McCarty Lane” (as specified in their proposed Developer Agreement)?

    Some of these questions may be helpful to ask. But I still have a feeling there are some other important questions we should be asking that have not yet been identified…

  172. “What makes Carma feel Paso Robles will work when Blanco Vista has been such a disappointment?”

    To me, that is the most important question that needs to be asked. As a taxpayer, I have no desire to subsidize another failed development. As a resident, I don’t want a failed development in my backyard.

    When I think of Carma trying Paso Robles on the heels of Blanco Vista, I am reminded of the old saying “fool me once shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

  173. Chris, re: the development agreement, the only things that jump out at me are:

    — There is no resolution specified for conflicts between the Concept Plan and our PDD or LDC. Originally, the doc said that the Concept Plan would win, but this was stricken, leaving no clear resolution.

    — Waiting until platting for 1726th home seems like a long time to wait for ROW. That could be years, or decades from now. Or never. Shouldn’t ROW should be dedicated when the city needs it and is prepared to move forward with infrastructure projects (or even when development begins)?

    — Ditto for Carma’s construction of planned roads. Why would the city want to wait until the 1726th home is platted? Maybe I am missing something.

    Other than that, most of my questions are about items referencing other documents and (as stated earlier) I really don’t like to read. Nothing horrible jumps out at me, but that doesn’t mean anything.

  174. What great questions and discussion.
    Thanks to all who are paying attention and taking the time to read documents and ask the
    hard questions.
    I think we’re going to be okay after November.
    battle on,

  175. Wassenich. Sims. Marchut. Harvey. North. cws. : Dream Team + two good subs. And we do have some depth on the bench.

    Find the reality behind the choices. Choose. Full court press. Force the ball. Fpllow the $$$$$.

  176. And no, I did NOT call the “Statesman” or any media guys about tonight’s P&Z festival, nor about the upcoming CiCo reckoning. Promised not to do that, and my word is good, although I know journalists have to eat, too.

  177. So, I just found out that staff has made NO recommendation to the Planning Commission on tonight’s agenda item for this development. Strange. They are asking for many variances, including no dedicated parkland. I don’t understand why staff has no opinion or direction for the Commission on this important proposed development.
    Could they be afraid for their lives? i’m just sayin’….

  178. not me. i loaned my kevlar to Sherwood. I’ll be watching though.
    pay close attention, Obi Won, to Ed Darth Vader Theriot. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with next….

  179. Tonight’s P&Z: The Commission, mostly, seems to have got a lot smarter, now that you guys have slowed down the “Paso Rubles Express Freight” enough to look at the cars and see who is on board.

    Chair Sherwood Bishop distinguished himself as a stellar performer–did a revealng LOT of homework; separated the issue into coherent parts; led and clearly explained the parts, demanded clarity and general understanding; led his colleagues through an orderly discussion; used the Staff well and to everybody’s advantage; and turne3d out a final set of products ready for the same kind of consideration by the Council.

    They challenged the Developer, introduced some new and improved NEGOTIATION points AND some further requirements that must follow the development as it it is sold to builders, etc. Snagged some WISE parkland based on the land itself, not the price, Bound in San Marcos Horizons and the newly revised Parks Plan. Referred parts to the role of State, Federal, Regional and other governing bodies, who can help both the City and the Project.

    Most notably, Sherwood dealt effectively and graciously to quash THREE attempted diversions and “hurry-hurry” calls from the “Git ‘er Done” guys, one of whom bordered on being outright rude.

    There are still salient issues out there the CiCo needs to slow down for, and the minutes refer to them: the structure of the TIRZ, the “side deals” like how all that wonderful land “donation” for “extra’s” must ACTUALLY protect Willow Creek, Cottonwood Creek, their flood ways and floodplains, and the direct Aquifer Recharge Zone. Then the finance structure, how much liability was to be foisted on the City over time, how there are indeed “possible muni bonds that COULD come into play”; how some of the “numbers” presented were a bit “catty-whompus.”

    As for the wonderfulness of the portion of the gated golf course to count as public parkland, under our rules, and the “landmark innovation of using gray water to irrigate it,” Sherwood put on his hydrologist hat, having done a carload of research, and pointed out how it could not only pollute the Edwards at the most vulnerable point, where water flows toward our Springs and the adjacent neighbors’ wells, but also, by recirculating that water, COMPOUND THE LOADING OF CHLORINE-RESISTANT BACTERIA AND VIRUSES,, AG CHEMICALS, HEAVY METALS, VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS, PHARMACEUTICALS, ILLEGAL AND TOXIC SUBSTANCES, SEWAGE, COW POO-POO, ETC. The runoff would be bad, not done with care, and the part that recharges directly and increasingly degrading not only our drinking water and the River (already down to an “acceptable but elevated and worsening” suspended solids and chemical load). Seems nobody had tested the water or compared it with either treated City Water OR raw aquifer water–but they will. (Is there a Doctor Longley in the house? No, but I called him and alerted him.)

    ****! In addition, my water expert/”mole” in San Antonio tells me that THEIR initial gray water golf irrigation “model program,” one of the few gestures they made in the ’90’s, almost at gunpoint from Hays, Comal, GBRA, and the Courts, has caused them to make a considerable technical adjustment in their requirements, because of just the Stuff Sherwood pointed out: They have an entire “suite” of requirements now, including impermeable liner beneath the Courses to prevent leaking and leachate of pollutants, carcinogens, etc. into THEIR OWN Edwards reservoir pool and channels. [Run past THAT fact, Swiftie! Ignore THAT, Council, as you hurry past! (I must confess that when I think of “Ol Git ‘ER Done” bloviating from the dais, I think of a fairly common male sexual disorder, which is usually in the young, and which can be terribly embarrassing and frustrating (See “”American Pie.” The Movie).]

    Anyway, looks as if the CiCo may likely miss its “deadline for approval.” The Staff is being allowed to act like true professionals. The Citizens are getting a better deal as things go along and the fog is cleared. If all of Mr. Bishop’s procedural and other concerns are not met, there will be hell (i.e., lawyers) to pay, possible time to be served, and two black eyes for us rubes dazzled by Big City Money.

    About money, the Charles Sims questions above at least made it into the room–bond structures, additional infrastructure costs for the City, CIP impacts, future maintenance needs and who pays, etc. The meeting agenda not covering all those issues, they go unresolved to the CiCo’s; but there is a clear indication that citizens will demand much more explanation from both the City and The Out-Of-Town Guys. One implication is that their financing package doesn’t even have lender approval, and they have sweetened that pot considerably by showing how much they could get US to pay on the borrowing/investment costs. And nobody has yet explored the impact of possible failure of the Project, in the event of lower than anticipated revenues, cash flow, changing markets during build-out, the completion of a currently-proposed sale of CARMA itself, or the Big One, Bankruptcy. [See “Champions Business Park Default, along I-35N before River Ridge (1988?), which was buried in the dust of the collapse of our old and staunch First National Bank. Wayne Becak, a vocal cheerleader for CARMA, should know about that. John Ferguson and Nova Festervan surely do.] That stuff is certainly worth a little open discussion and some expert facts, in place of the rosy “projections” and “rules of thumbs” we’ve seen thus far.]

    [“Splain it to me, Mama Grizzly.” I’m just a poor country boy, and I don’t have a lot of money to lose on your deal.]

    You guys have been splendid so far in getting concessions, in improving the Project Proposal once it was wedged out from clenched fists and distributed, and in helping people understand what their involvement in a monumental gamble may be. So we have CHOICES in place of blind trust. CARMA is discovering that SM is not some drooling microcephalic infant, but a shrewd little bastard with some self-defense.

    The only sad part is that the cheerleader chorus which led off Citizen Commentary read their talking points, citing Jesus, tax revenues, jobs, roads paved in gold, etc, then left. They still have no idea on earth of the issues–were not even interested enough to sit and listen as they rolled by. Damned thing was OVER around 10. Still not very long for THAT much money to be gained or lost, spent or earned. Sigh.

  180. Oh, and while I’ve got my needle and my wits close by, there is “l’affaire Couch.” Bucky sees no real advantage in setting aside or strategically planning parks and open space. Also no real value for the $$. We disagree. He argues we’ve got too much green, natural, and recreational area to begin with. “can’t afford more. Can’t even keep up with what we’ve got now. Shouldn’t “force developers to contribute either land or money-in-lieu of taxes. Takes all the profit out of developing valuable land.”

    Well, my Mama and a host of renowned planners, scholars, economists and economic development professinals led me to believe differently:

    The town is growing FAST, and the land is not–once it’s concreted, it is gone FOREVER. A good community has a long-range strategic plan matching fact with likely projections for at least 20 years out, with monitoring and adjustment ongoing as the plan’s HORIZON moves through time and circumstance. Green and rec space is necessary to the quality of life in a community, for health, safety, common welfare, and COMMUNITY reasons.

    Cleaner air and water and citizen recreation recreation go a long way to pay for their own investment. Since we are sitting on top of our drinking and tourist water, hemmed in by nature and surrounding towns, this is a front-burner issue. Tourists (Bucky’s favorite people?) are drawn by these amenities–in our case, in droves, and they spend money to visit us, without our having to support them with massive infrastructure–it’s the CVB/Chamber mantra, for Pete’s sake! Never mind cooler, cleaner, and quieter and prettier, those being just gravy.

    But HOW are children supposed to play, explore, and socialize on apartment parking lots? Where are neighbors and friends going to get together as families? Where are the bicyclists by choice gong to get exercise that is not in traffic–or hikers, walkers, nature-lovers, etc. (Go birdwatching at the Natural Area by the River and off Crook Park at Riverside and I35 S Access, with somebody who can show you how. Amazing! And hidden right among us.) Where can the young skateboard, hackey-sack, play tennis, basketball, soccer, outdoor volleyball, etc.? Guess they can stay in arcades or back alleys doing mischief, if they can’t work. But what about the fat people and old people and adults who can’t afford the SANDALS spas or cruises for recreation?

    What happens if the “go-getters” succeed in drying or ruining the River, our greatest gift? (It might kill Bucky and his stalwarts to know SM refused to let Schlitterbahn be built on OUR river, because it was potentially damaging and inappropriate for the proposed site. (1985-86?) Yes, Bubba, we did that deliberately, being focused on SAVING our little stream, which is much differently dynamically, ecologically and otherwise from the Comal/Guadalupe traffic intersection, where it went and has thrived beyond belief.)

    Maybe none of this investment in community well-being is worth a dime. Maybe it is, but it will cost us some extra. But how many know that Rodney Cobb has a world Heavyweight contender Grant-Writing Champion in Richard Salmon–good at getting government, foundation, Agency, Federal, private sector, and every other kind of financial assistance known. (I don’t lie. Check his scorebook at the County, whence we stole him, and down at Development Services. The costs for green land ain’t all paid for in taxes, Dollar-Boy. We often get stuff at a discount, and Rodney and Los Vatos leverage it to the hilt. (Rodney WAS forced to say that in the LAST few years we have begun falling behind in both acquisitions and maintenance. Hmmmm…even PRECEDING the “Bush Recession.” Hmmmm…) Calling Tod Derkasz and the GSA!

    There is more, and more discussion ahead–informed, I choose to believe. Fast money on the street says Mr. Thomaides is being assaulted as “just one of them hippies, hugging trees and riding bikes and stopping people from making any money or getting good jobs” (In government, education, hospitality, retail, or food service, our current specialties?) For Pete’s sake, like him or hate him, the man is a successful entrepreneur, and runs a critical, growing-market, slump-free enterprise. He happens to side with me and Chris North (to name only a few) on this issue.

    As relates to THOSE issues–jobs, $$$, bidness, etc., I would ask, “WhatEVER has become of the San Marcos Corridor Business Incubator (1998?), created and funded by a partnership of the CofC, City, Main Street, Mr. H.Y. Price, Economic Development Council, University, State, and Feds? The stated purpose and design function over at the Old Historic Feltner Coke Bottling Plant on San Antonio was to prop up the Downtown and Hysterical Districts, by creating small business and skilled jobs. At the same time providing a haven for small startups until they grew enough to become self-sufficient and move out to their own sites, creating jobs as they grew and paying into the CBI along the way. Guess who was Chairman of the Board as it disappeared? (The City does still own and operate the building, methinks, and MIGHT be able to return to home-growing jobs on the ground, except…..)

  181. Carma’s golf course will increase total water consumption 15% (1.2 million gallons / day). That is why they are pushing so hard for the ability to use less expensive grey water. It is all about the money for these developers. No wonder they want to negotiate cheap water rates, and grey water that will flow right into the aquifer channels leading to our springs.

    The big developers see us as an easy mark. They do not truly care about the long-term environmental impact to our community. Since most of the P&Z commissioners are pro-development, they approved the Paso Robles developer agreement with TIRZ provisions by a vote of 7 to 1 last night. (Thank you, Sherwood Bishop, for all you do in such a tough situation.)

    Of course Carma is pushing hard to get this forced through as fast as possible. They have a receptive P&Z group, and they have a window of opportunity before the November elections. We do not have a City Manager in place to help slow things down (to provide appropriate review and dialog), we have a City Staff operating in a climate of uncertainty, and the track record of our current Mayor and City Council is to give developers most of whatever they want.

    This imbroglio will require greater public scrutiny and involvement than ever before, if we want to end up with a better situation than currently set forth by the P&Z Commissioners last night. This is happening fast because Carma knows that is how they will get the best deal for their bottom line.

    What about the long-term bottom line for the San Marcos community? Now is the time for us to encourage our neighbors and friends to communicate to the Mayor and City Council. Emails, calls, personal direct dialog, speaking before the City Council meetings, asking pointed questions at the end of the meetings, blogging, reader comments, lunch meetings, group meetings, we need to encourage more people to get involved, and now, and how.

  182. Help me understand something. Steve and others are using the term grey water which I have understood as water used for other than sewage – washing machine discharge, shower water, etc. Tom Taggart’s comments in the article indicate the water used to irrigate the golf course is the same water we discharge from our sewage treatment plant into the San Marcos River. Can someone clear up exactly what water is being proposed for use? If it’s the water we dump in the river, what % of that is 1.2 million gallons/day? In otherwords, how much would we still be dumping in the river?

  183. Bob, I have similar questions. I thought gray water was water from sink drains, shower drains, washing machines, etc. Also, I thought gray water irrigation was considered to be a fairly green, responsible thing to do. Treated water would seem to be a different beast, but using that for irrigation also seems like a fairly green thing to do. Austin has an ordinance, permitting the use of gray water for irrigation and San Marcos is considering a similar ordinance.

    Of course, we need to be careful (very careful) about what flows directly into the aquifer, but I feel like I am missing something. Is this really about gray water from irrigation systems running off into the aquifer? A soggy golf course is not a very playable course, so I would not expect a whole lot of runoff. I’d be far more concerned about pesticides and fertilizer from the golf course washing into the aquifer during a heavy rain. This isn’t my area of expertise, and I really, *really* feel like I am missing something.

  184. As a resident on hunter road and a successful young man living in this town, this paso robles project is the only reason im staying here in this community and spending my $ i like to work hard and play harder and San Marcos needs to step up develop this golf course and high end homes or people who can afford it will move to Austin or even Nb to get it I drive by this land everyday, its beautiful, and the development will work off hunter and centerpoint i thought Mr cranston was very professional and did a great job at the meeting last night on the other hand, i thought mr bishop rambled and lost everybodys attention, even had to be stopped couple times there complaining about park space,,, theres gonna be tennis courts, golf course for us to play here, as for as im concerened thats recreation parkland right there I graduated swt bought land on hunter rd, and becoming very successful, im a 110% behind this project and its keeping me wanting to stay here and grow

  185. My understanding of the answer to that question is that we are currently dumping the grey water further downstream away from the endangered species habitat which is located close to the beginning of the San Marcos River. The 1.2 million gallons per day of grey water that Carma wants to use for the Paso Robles golf course would then feed into the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and there are said to be essentially underwater “canals” (or whatever the right geological term is) that flow into the headwaters of the San Marcos River.

    We are learning more about unintended consequences of grey water over the aquifer as we experience results from decisions made all over the aquifer. For example, San Antonio required a liner under the golf course they have on the recharge zone and a rigorous and expensive water testing program, paid for by the golf course developer each year. There is great concern about pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers and pharmaceuticals in the wastewater (certainly to the extent it reaches endangered species habitat, or wells that provide drinking water directly to residents, and the Fish Hatchery so close to the development).

    At the same time, most people should applaud the proper use of grey water, since it reduces consumption of high quality treated drinking water. But let us keep grey water out of the aquifer recharge zone (especially 1.2 million gallons per day for a golf course to be situated on top of environmentally sensitive land).

  186. The only reason Centerpoint would be extended west of Hunter is for this private gated residential community. It would be a dead end street segment whose only reason for existence is to exclusively serve the private gated homes. Carma could choose to put the gates at Hunter and Centerpoint, but instead they will gate the entrances from the dead end street segment. That is a very “smart” move by Carma to have the Centerpoint extension public and everything else private gated. That way they get San Marcos (read, you and me, the current taxpayers) to pay for a good chunk of their infrastructure right up front).

    Regarding the TIRZ, it may not stand up in court. Here in Texas, in general, cities can only contribute public funds for private projects if the project will foster economic development. Residential projects generally don’t meet those requirements. Why should we want to commit taxpayer money to a purely residential project, particularly a high-end one that is exclusively tailored to higher net worth individuals who want to live in a private gated community cordoned off from the rest of us regular folks?

  187. Bob, according to the city website, the plant treated 4.25 million gallons per day, in 2009. That’s what came in. I imagine that what was discharged was less, but I could only guess how much less. I’d wager we discharged 3 million gallons or more per day. I Googled wastewater influent effluent gallons ratio discharge and anything else I could think of, but could not come up with any numbers, for any plant, so a guess is all I have.

    Also, I thought we were selling effluent to Hays Energy at one point.

  188. Next step? Attend the Public Hearing on Aug 24 at 6pm at City Hall. This is THE Public Hearing regarding the City of San Marcos annexing Paso Robles into our City Limits. The notice for this Public Hearing has been posted at the COSM website. Our City Leaders need to hear from us regarding our concerns on so many fronts with Carma and their proposed Paso Robles development.

    If we can delay the annexation, then we can achieve the additional time necessary for more of the issues to rise to the surface in time for citizen dialog and input.

    Please spread the word and let’s get as many people as possible to attend and comment at this important Public Hearing.

  189. If the water Carma proposes to use on the golf course is the treated effluent currently being dumped into the San Marcos River then it’s not accurate to call it grey water, according to what I’m reading on the internet. It’s treated effluent. That doesn’t sound any better than grey water except to those of us aware of the extra treatment efforts that San Marcos makes vs what is required by law. My understanding is that the effluent is very clean. I wonder who pays to pipe it to Paso Robles? That has to be a completely new system. Maybe it’s as simple as tapping in to the line serving the power plant.

  190. As to the extension of Centerpoint, if it eventually extended west and tied Quail Run and McCarty together that would be better for emergency vehicles, etc as that would allow more points of exit/entry. I venture to guess that private development money did not build Quail Run or McCarty.

  191. Steve,

    Why are you intentionally spreading false information? You were at the meeting so you heard it with your own ears. THERE IS NO PUBLIC FUNDS BEING USED FOR CARMA’S SOLE USE. The entire TIRZ is for items that are regional in nature and that benefit everyone on that side of town. Just because you do particularly like growth does not give you a license to spread false information.

  192. The term graywater has not been used by Carma. That is something that was started on here. It has always been referred to as treated water. Also, no where does it say Carma WILL use 1.2 million gallons per day for the golf course. All it says is that Carma has rights to 1.2 mil gallons per day. Also, there is already a treated water line out by the outlet mall so only 7,200′ of treated water transmission line is required.

  193. exactly steve

    spreading false info, wish i would have seen u at the meeting last night
    u sound like ol sherwood San marcos needs to grow, quit vfeeding people bs

  194. One last comment regarding Steve’s intentionally misleading statement: “That way they get San Marcos (read, you and me, the current taxpayers) to pay for a good chunk of their infrastructure right up front).”

    This is ABSOLUTELY false. The extension of Centerpoint is on the Transportation Master Plan and therefore required to be built upon development of this property. It will be built at Carma’s sole expense and dedicated to the City as a city roadway. The COSM will not be paying to build this road as Mr. Harvey wrongly states.

    Come on, guys, at least get your facts straight. If you are going to be against something, use valid arguments, not some made up stuff to falsely rile up the masses.

  195. Oh yeah, one other thing a friend just told me after they talked with the planning department…

    The way a TIRZ works…a TIRZ board is established and each taxing entity that is effected has a stake on the board. This TIRZ board has to approve ALL potential projects that will be funded by the TIRZ. Carma does not have a say on what projects are payed for by the TIRZ, nor does the City Council. So there are checks and balances here. First the City Council has to approve whether or not to establish a TIRZ to begin with. Then a TIRZ board is formed with representation from the different taxing entities. Then Carma presents what they would like to have reimbursed by the TIRZ to the TIRZ board. Then the TIRZ board decides what to allow and what not to allow. Carma dos not decide, nor does the City Council.

  196. If they are paying for all the costs associated with extemding Centerpoint west of Hunter, then I certainly apologize for not understanding that correctly. We do want accurate information in circulation.

  197. Eric, until the TIRZ is finalized, it is impossible to say with certainty what will or will not be included, and whether Carma will pay for everything they should and the city will pay for everything we should, etc.

  198. Ted, This is correct but the decisions as to what will be paid for by the TIRZ lies solely with the TIRZ board, not Carma.

  199. Correct, I’m just saying that it is too early to jump on the caps lock key and say that there no public funds will be used for Carma’s obligations, or that anything will be built at their sole expense.

  200. One other thing, Ted…TheTIRZ board will be under strict statutory requirements of what they can and can not fund. This will prevent them from funding inappropriate items.

  201. Ted, please clarify about your sole expense comment. Are you suggesting that I am incorrect to say that the Centerpoint extension will be funding at Carma’s sole expense? If so, re-read all of the information. Carma is not even requesting that any portion of Centerpoint extension be paid by anyone but them. This is a developer requirement and they have already said they are paying for all roads and internal infrastructure improvements.

  202. Also, the development agreement that was recommend by P&Z last night list the specific things that Carma will seek TIRZ reimbursement from so it is safe to say what items will be built at their sole expense. Based on the development agreement, they can only request TIRZ funding on the items listed in appendix F and nothing more.

  203. Who could have guessed that I would be attacked for suggesting that it was too soon for either side to start screaming about anything?

    when is it ever too soon to start screaming?

    I have no positive or negative feelings about this development. I’m certainly not going to join anyone in the mud over it. Enjoy the rest of your day, if you can.

  204. Ok, first of all I have pulled what does or does not fall into a TIRZ in Texas. I sure hope this committee reviews Texas TIRZ Statute on the Texas Tax Code. According to everything I have read this development does NOT qualify as a TIRZ. I guess I must be missing something.

    Second, no matter what happens with the TIRZ, in the ACTUAL Developers Agreement which passed last night, Article III Sub-Section 3.02 Titled “Reimbursement From Other Eligible Sources of Funds”.

    “Notwithstanding anything in this agreement to the contrary, the City and Carma may agree to reimburse Carma for portions Carma’s eligible expenditures for Project Costs from other eligible sources of funds, including but not limited to the City’s Capital Improvement Program funds, upon such terms as the City and Carma may agree.”

    This sounds just like a shell game to me. I have also spoken to an attorney who tells me that this paragraph should have been removed do to the ambiguity, that could later become a court battle between Carma and the City.

    I also have issues with all this talk about good for “economic development”. If a company does decide to move here how is a senior housing development giving them additional housing? We need executive housing not senor housing. Statistically, most of the working class is WELL under 55 years old. If you break down the numbers further, you have roughly 3450 homes. If you sell 20 per month (which is a way high number) it would take you 14 and a half years to complete build out. I have heard real estate agents THRILLED to not lose career people to Austin or New Braunfels. Closing 20 houses a month in one development with housing costs from $200,000 – $500,000 is a huge exaggeration.

    I wish the Council or P&Z would just take some time to review and do the research of what people are telling them and what the proposal states. Whatever they do to PLEASE break down the numbers. The numbers are NOT passing the smell test and are extremely exaggerated.

  205. Margie Reed will either have to be paid off or sign on with this deal as she holds the mortgage.

  206. If they can’t make this squeeze in to the parameters of a TIRZ I’ll be surprised. There are so many across Texas the window must be fairly large.

    As someone said in an earlier post, we’ll take all the affluent seniors we can get. They pay into the school system but never use it, much to their dismay. They have the money to support the kinds of restaurants that never seem to make it here. They put very little strain on our other facilities (you won’t fight them for a place in line at the Rio Vista tube chute!) I haven’t heard that this is a restricted community along the lines of Sun City so I expect Carma will sell to “executives” if they have the money. I have heard for years that one of the reasons so many of our higher income workforce live outside the community is lack of attractive housing. Paso Robles sounds like a community that would rival anything nearby – pool, golf, gates, amenities. San Marcos needs neighborhoods that are insulated from college students. I don’t see where the city is on the hook financially so I would say battling against this project on the basis of whether or not Carma has done their homework doesn’t make sense.

  207. Ohmyohmyohmy! I thought this was such a SIMPLE proposal, and so near approval, it could run like an express train. I think that is what I heard the Mayor and CiCo say they By God! intended to do with it.

    The FIRST question asked of any sizable “economic development project” has always, until… well, you know… was how much water they would be using, where they’d get it, what it’s quality would be, and where it would subsequently go. Just to make sure.

    The SECOND question was whether, and if so how much, of any effluent or pollutant the project would give us (Oh, but I forget–past Councils never “bought into” a retail or residential project at all, for the reasons listed above. Normally, the question would apply only to the proper targets of “incentives”: manufacturing and light or heavy industry, which usually DO involve some pollution of air and/or water, but also (Check the National Stats) offer a permanent JOB multiplier of 4-5:1 (support jobs created per onsite job.

    The THIRD question was how much LOCAL, DIRECT revenue would be produced locally, on top of salaries, which vary wildly, depending on whether the PERMANENT jobs created pay over minimum wage (bye, bye, Retail). In other words, what is the CITY TO GET IN RETURN FOR OUR CONCESSIONS, other than rosy promises? One might cut to the chase by projecting not a final, but a time line-rate, of growth in property and associated taxes. (One can produce pretty sharp numbers on that, rather than going by the Applicant’s always rosy, usually-inflated numbers.) There are professional people who do this type of analysis, and some live here.

    The FOURTH question was, how much do you need, for how long, what kind, and how big is your match in what YOU bring to the table. [Some genius told me that AT buildout on this project, LONG after CARMA is out of the picture, (although only The Almighty could predict that time span, as opposed to say a factory or warehouse facility), the proponent CLAIMS he will have $750 M on the ground.]

    Another vaguely useful question is, once the deal is struck, will the lucky winner GUARANTEE the return of all the rebate and incentive targets if the agreement is not met IN FULL? (That is the “clawback,” normally a standard clause, done by our Honorable fiduciaries to keep the taxpayer absolutely warranteed against fraud, failure, malpractice or loss. That is, after all, their JOB. To make sure we don’t either deliberately or inadvertently “take it in the shorts” and lose public money.

    If, as suggested above, the City will have absolutely no “skin in the game,” then WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THIS? Let Bob the Builder just build it, if it meets legal requirements. A possible answer, lost long ago in this discussion, was uttered on the record by Mr. Ed Theriot, once our own City Planner: CARMA hasn’t got their own financials down pat yet. They need our commitment to pay for the project in order to sell to the BUILDERS who will finish it out. Have I gone daft, or isn’t that the way big-time development works? Every single time.

    That is to say, June Marie and Earle, their even GETTING the money depends on how much WE will commit, and how much later “collateral damage”–that telltale set of gray water pipes, lift stations, side roads, utilities, etc. we will ACTUALLY put ON the table. If we refuse to bend over far ENOUGH, they are apparently toast, even though they are the child of multi-billion-dollar parents. Those figures and bloodlines are also listed above, thanks to Mr. Harvey, I believe. Why not just “get the money from Daddy?” Here too, one of our local wise guys leads us to believe that, even now, they are involved in some sort of divestment by sale, adoption, … they are likely to be sold as soon as the ink is dry. Could that be the REAL hurry?

    Answer to above question, which has become rather befogged in the rush to judgment: Gray Water is like a used car. It has been used, but not as sewage (“blackwater”) and not for industrial processing (“toxic water”)–more like shower and dish water. Water is routinely treated before any potable use, except in private wells. It can be, as Mr. Taggart tried to point out, either merely pre-treated for stuff like suspended solids and biotoxins; or carried a step further, for irrigation or non-potable uses; or carried all the way to what the City puts back into the River after citizens have used and “flushed” it, for other folks to use again downstream (Good sewer plants make good neighbors.). The very best one can do is distilled and irradiated via UV light or a radioactive Cesium Ring. That last is water God and NASA use, but we ain’t them. We have neither the money nor the use. We even stop (so far) before desalination, which is essentially distillation–would, and likely will, in the relatively close future of Texas, be HUGEly expensive.

    As it is, we get our River water free, by permit, as a State Water Right. We must cut that with cheaper surface water we buy at whatever is the current going rate for surface water (in our case, by arrangement with the State and GBRA, Lake Dunlap water). There is no longer enough of the free stuff, so we are reluctantly climbing the cost pyramid to develop more supplies as we grow. THAT IS WHY THE RECHARGE DEVELOPMENT ISSUE LOOMS SO LARGE AT BUIE, CARMA, WINDEMERE, ETC. WE CANNOT BE POOPING IN THE CHEAPEST AND BEST WATER WE HAVE, AND NEITHER CAN WE BE DRAINING LAWNS AND FACTORIES AND PARKING LOTS INTO IT BEFORE IT COMES FROM THE SPRINGS.

    This is why the “CARMA shuffle” on the issue should likely be a hanging offense. Mind, they have NEVER had gray water actually on the table (only to “whatever extent proves feasible)–just affords them a likely cheaper way to water their “gated public” golf course. Also caused our Representatives to give them a break on the TRUE Parkland Dedication Requirement and configuration. And the proposed “parks,” in addition to being smaller than normally required, don’t conform to our Ordinance and Plan standards. Sherwood Bishop was trying to discuss/explain all this last night, but kept being rudely interrupted by a Commissioner who is vocally and loudly “in the bag” and wanted to vote “yes” and go home. Mr. Bishop also noted the entirely RECENT appearance of an arterial road WE will build, cutting smack through the newly- dedicated parkland and across the headwaters/floodways/foodplains of the Cottonwood, Chrystal, and Willow Creeks.

    Another little detail is the large chunk of land already in City limits, which would automatically come in zoned Multi-Family and remain unrestrained by the binding criteria within the Planned Development Agreement. That’s right, Charlie, it could be sold off to a second owner who could either use or sell that zoning upgrade, at such time as the platting proceeds. ZONING AND PLANNING/DEVELOPMENT ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Different State laws. Makes that “unaccounted-for acreage” both immune to downzoning or less dense use restrictions than MF.

    THIS HORSE HAS ACTUALLY BEEN MOVING AND CHANGING SINCE LAST TIME THE CICO TOOK A LOOK–assuming they EVER actually did. That might, anywhere else, either trigger lawsuits, criminal penalties, or a total do-over using the FINAL offer.

    All this is why they pay their planners, lawyers, PR men and stalking horses WAY better than we can afford to pay ours. They are MAKING serious money! Else, Cletus, they wouldn’t be going to the trouble! We are just trying to protect and invest our modest means and resources. Our Staff, given the Almighty Voice holding them back from above, is performing stupendously well. They need support to be let loose to do their jobs as proud, dedicated professionals. Not threatened with execution if they don’t run this through “on time.” If we are going to get a virtual “gift” of $750M plus fries and a shake, isn’t that worth a bit more of time and scrutiny, in the daylight, to see if there are any roaches in what we are about to eat?

    Many eyes and brains are better at finding those roach parts, I am sure, than the carefully screened handful that have had actual access. And if Mayor Susie insists once more that we have had “an open public process” so far, I think I shall commit hara-kiri in the Council Chambers. The only “open Public process” to date has been right here. The rest has been Hollywood bally-hoo, premised by ‘Y’all come and look at the cake WE have baked for YOU.” Not “Here is what we have looked at, in detail. Now you let us know if there is anything we have missed. You, after all, are the payors. CARMA is the payees.” Mid-day focus groups and developer presentations/staff coercions, MY FAT ASS!

    The deal still is, the TIRZ commits us to FRONT tax and bond money to do the project, until the time runs out or it’s paid for. Yes, Virginia, we DO legally owe the upfront until this embryo horse can run on its own. That is what the State made the TIP/TIRZ provisions FOR! To help developers out financially, so they could build GOOD stuff.

    I should hope the sitting Honorables and the Candidates ALL can take a moral from this fable. They, too, have committed legally and by oath to be OUR property and to do the bidding of the CITIZENS, so long as they continue to sit in them big chairs. IF THIS REALLY IS WHAT THE CITIZENS WANT, KNOWING ALL THE FACTS, THEN SO BE IT. But where are the solid, unimpeachable, binding FACTS to choose from? If one asked any of the locals who are in heat to have this project speed through nearly any of the questions being posed here, they would soil their didies and read the “talking points,” then faint. Far as I can discern, they left that relatively short P&Z as soon as they finished speaking and went home, bathed in the glow of shameful dog ignorance. Never asked a single question. Here endeth the sermon. This has ceased long ago to be fun or entertaining.

  208. It IS a 55 years or older community. It was stated last night. This is what Carma has told the county and p&z recently.. It’s very well documented. When Carma first approached the Chamber and the City it wasn’t a 55 years or older. Now it is. They have change price point housing cost and it IS an age restricted community.If you had followed what Carma has stated in interviews to the electronic media, you would have read all about it. I have saved hard copies of all their interviews over the last 19 months.

    Now heres the kicker, are ya ready? Over the last 19 months they keep change price point, gated or not gated, age restricted. Now I am wondering when the next change will take place or what the change will be. Anyone up for a bet here or their?

  209. But recall, that–the PDD Agreement–applies only to a PORTION of the entire project. The part already in the City would actually be pre-zoned MF, high density. Now about that added future traffic and utility infrastructure cost, just one more time? (PSSST! I think that’s US.)

    Bet the “spec” boys already have their lawyers drawing up contracts of purchase for that little tidbit. And since they’re annexed already, we will OWE them the services.

    I almost hate to admit it, but this is NOT my first rodeo. Seen this movie. Quite often in the past 5 years, in fact.

  210. Bob, I agree that nice neighborhoods are one of three key components to improving our economy, the other two being exemplary schools and, of course, jobs. The three are inextricably linked, IMO and a huge community of seniors funding our schools does have some strong appeal.

    It makes me wonder, though, why do we have such a poor track record of protecting the neighborhoods we already have? Why are we so quick to destroy an established neighborhood, with apartments and duplexes?

    Not to take us down another OT path. Just something to ponder. It can be really difficult to figure out what the city leaders are trying to do, when you look at all of the decisions together.

  211. Yep, we just don’t have an existing or in-progress “nice” or “decent” neighborhood in this shabby town. I heard that right from one of our Realtors last night. Just cannot find a fit place to live here–have to go to New Braunfels or someplace. WHAT!!! Maybe Commissioner Seebeck should have shouted at somebody. He and others have us fooled into thinking what they build is “nice,” affordable, livable, and conforming. His Daddy tried the same trick–for about 30 or 40 years, I believe.

    And one of our most trusted Bankers said the same thing, again for the record, into the mike.. We are all forced to live in colonias and favelas–nay, hogans and wickiups. We need more respectable housing and more respectable people in this town. And more $$$$.

    That is a hell of a sales pitch for us to be putting out there to attract all them “good jobs” we hear so much about. And good industry. I’m sure they will hear what a slum we live in and just come-a-runnin’. Maybe then, at last, we can start to grow a little, rather than being “stagnant”–another insult to the mike AND the City. This desolation and destitution is going to kill us yet, unless we offer prizes. So here we are. Teetering between doom and Graceland.

  212. Billy,

    You said,

    “The deal still is, the TIRZ commits us to FRONT tax and bond money to do the project, until the time runs out or it’s paid for. Yes, Virginia, we DO legally owe the upfront until this embryo horse can run on its own. That is what the State made the TIP/TIRZ provisions FOR! To help developers out financially, so they could build GOOD stuff.”

    That is in conflict with the TIF done for Yarringrton Rd as per the city document posted by Ted earlier. Do you have information that this one is different?

  213. I’ve heard there is a lot to be developed, and a lot of money to be made, in Detroit or Newark right now. Or in “nicer” places: why not Austin or San Antonio, or maybe Houston, the “New Jerusalem”? I’ve hear Irving is nice this time of year. But they are still paying for and tied to GWB’s Stadium, for which they sold their souls.

  214. This is from that earlier posted doc which is not the contract. I don’t have the contract for the TIF and I would love to see it to see if the city borrowed the money or if the contractor came up with it as outlined in the paragraph below. My understanding is we don’t FRONT the money, Carma does and gets repaid by the city as they collect the taxes increased.

    “The purpose of the Zone is to finance reimbursements for costs associated with the proposed railroad overpass public improvement project to be constructed in the Zone. It is anticipated that the owner of the bulk of the real property within the Zone, Carma Blanco Vista, Limited (the “Developer”), will advance 100 percent of the funds for Project costs and will be reimbursed from tax increment revenues of the Zone as provided in a separate agreement and other documentation between the Developer and the City (the “Reimbursement Agreement”).
    It is also anticipated that the infrastructure improvement costs will include interest costs associated with the Project….”

  215. Bob,

    You are correct and the others who keep spewing otherwise know it but choose to mislead to garner public opposition. Carma PAYS FOR ALL THE IMPROVEMENTS covered by the TIRZ and then they are reimbursed with a % of the increase in taxes over a period of 15 years. If the project goes bust and the tax collections do not go up and their 15 years runs out, they are out of luck. Once again, THE CITY DOES NOT FRONT ANY MONEY for the developer.

  216. Come on, Billygmore, if you want to oppose this project, fine, but at least get your facts straight. The ENTIRE property is under the PDD. Item 6 c of the P&Z agenda from last night:

    “PDD-08-05. Zoning change from FD (Future Development and US (Unzoned) to a PDD (Planned Development District) with the underlying base zoning for the PDD to be Mixed Use and General Commercial. Subject area includes 1338.5 acres, Area 1 located at the terminus of Centerpoint Road and Hunter Road, Area 2 located east of Hunter Road and south of Centerpoint Road.”

    If you also look at the map of the property, it shows the 2 tracts that are already in the city limits. Both of these are included in the 1338.5 acres

  217. I believe seniors also get additional property tax breaks and their taxes are capped (can’t go up). So, what may be a good deal for us today, may not be so good in 10 years, when everything is more expensive and taxes are flat (from this development).

    Also, we need to keep in mind that whomever lives here, there will be *some* additional burden on the city, Although it may be less of a burden for seniors, than for other demographics, if 100% of the tax increase goes to the TIRZ, that leaves 0% to cover anything else required to accommodate up to 8,000 additional residents.

    So, it will be *very* important to structure the TIRZ carefully. What is covered by the TIRZ is only part of the equation. If I recall correctly, the city agreed to 100% for Blanco Vista, while the county, perhaps more wisely, only agreed to 50%. With a potential increase of 16% to our population, we would be wise to structure the TIRZ in a way that leaves ample tax revenue for unforeseen (or foreseen) expenses the city may incur as a result.

    Just some things to keep in mind, for whomever has the (mis)fortune of serving on the TIRZ committee.

  218. Eric,

    I see you are refusing to remark or comment on the economic development issues. Seems to me you don’t have an argument or a leg to stand on.

    As to your last comment, I am not afraid of “front money”. I am afraid of what I quoted earlier. When Carma is half way through or completely done, will they come back to the City (as quoted earlier from the development agreement) at a later date and want money and how much would they want?

    As a citizens of SM I think what I would like to see or know is, what does this deal do to to us taxpayers in 5, 10 or 20 years. What could happen or what WILL happen because of Carma Development / Paso Robles?

  219. My comments earlier today on the “right up front” were from my (apparent) misunderstanding regarding the dead end extension of Centerpoint west of Hunter. If Carma is indeed paying for that dead end segment and then turning it over to the city at no charge, then it appears there is no “up front” expense (to the City) for the road itself.

    I have been there and heard the pitch that Carma is making, saying they will put up a bunch of money to get things going faster, and then the city can pay for what they would have already been doing over time. But, a couple of weeks ago the city staff said the developer should be paying for certain infrastructure expenses that the developer right back said the city should be paying for.

    If and to the extent the city staff has been silenced on being able to provide their true opinion on the merits, that would be a real shame.

    The pertinent financial point is that the developer wants the city to pay for things that many others say should be the responsibility of the developer.

    Remember the case study done earlier this year (“Financing Growth for the Future – Who Should Pay for What”) with the help of the help of Michael Dutczak, Senior Vice President of Carma Developers LP, states the following:

    “On-sites include the infrastructure that is constructed within the community boundaries. On-sites are currently paid for by the community developers, and include rough grading, deep services (water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer mains), shallow utilities (gas, power, telephone, and cable), service connections (deep and shallow utility connections to individual lots and commercial parcels), sidewalks and pathways, curbs and roadways, parks, and streetlights.

    So, here we see Carma themselves saying infrastructure constructed within the community boundaries are currently paid for by the community developers.

    Well, maybe they meant to say, currently paid for by the developers when they aren’t able to convince the City to pitch in money…

  220. There are other potential exemptions for seniors as well. ACC, for example, offers a $105,000 exemption for seniors. I could not find anything for SMCISD, so I am operating on the assumption that there is no additional exemption there.

  221. Oh yeah, according to Mr. Cranston from Carma (and verified by the Planning Director) as last nights meeting, $13 mil of the $20 mil proposed for the TIRZ is stuff already in the Capital Improvement Plan.

    mstevens, I did not realize I was required to comment on the economic development issues. I am just pointing out the truth that the antis are trying to distort.

  222. Just because something is in the current CIP (Capital Improvement Plan), that does not necessarily mean it will necessarily ever see fruition (funding and completion). The CIP is a dynamic tool which is reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis.

    When I’ve looked at the complete San Marcos CIP in the past, I’ve seen projects listed that I personally thought would never get done because there would always be more worthy projects pressing for limited dollars and attention.

    To the extent building a short dead-end segment extension of Centerpoint (the street, water, wastewater, electrical, and everything else) is in our CIP (and I have not personally verified that), there’s no rush from the city’s perspective to do that any time soon.

    Personally, I hope more Carma Paso Robles supporters jump on this thread and bring their points to the surface. The more we can all dialog to understand the many aspects, the better. An informed citizenry is in all our best interest.

  223. Steve,

    The Centerpoint Rd section IS NOT ON THE CIP. It is a road that any developer is required to build and pay for if they want to develop that land. I am talking about items dealing with water and wastewater offsite improvements. Forget Centerpoint Rd. It will be built at Carma’s expense with no possible reimbursement from the city in any form.

  224. Ted, you have once again hit a b-i-n-g-o.

    Eric, you would have had to observe and listen to last night’s P&Z to hear the truth finally dragged out that the non-PDD section will be a) open to construction; an b) given MF zoning to come in the door. And if you had read above, you might have noticed that I personally am not for or against anything, except the hiding of the actual facts from the bill-payers under the guise of Urgency and the absolute mushroom cloud of false, nitpicking issues and answers and PURE developer sales talk. As I said when I ran for office each of my five times, if a knowing public wants to disband the City, burn City Hall, and sow the ground with salt, they DO own it and are, and will be paying for whatever they allow to happen. This “deal” stinks to high heaven, but if TRULY INFORMED CITIZENS GET THEIR QUESTIONS A SET OF ANSWERS THEY LIKE, then it is not on me. I have both the aforementioned (did you notice?) tax exemptions for being old, and another et for being disabled. I will never claim the baby.

    Bob: Don’t believe the public has ever heard that the whole reason for this kerfuffle is, as you say, just to pay for a railroad overpass. Would that be in the Master Plan or the existing CIP, so the “little people” know what they are actually getting back–a CARMA overpass–for their trouble? Tell me that that is common knowledge, or has been discussed from the dais or published, and I will concede that relatively minor point.

    Rather than true “economic development,” long both my job and my hobby, I don’t believe this is it–like one of those ships sailing under the Liberian flag, to avoid any bother. Real economic development is bringing in industry and larger business, which carry their own jobs, decent salaries, and housing market IN THE FRONT DOOR. Yes, I have done and participated in some careful incentive packages, which either delivered as advertised, or were defaulted. Can’t really do that with a real estate developer, now can we?

    And as mstevens keeps asking, what happens if CARMA is sold or goes belly up on this (to them) relatively small project? If it remains a ghost town, who goes in and picks up all; the random and scattered pieces. Want to personally go in with a few avid cheerleaders and sign that you will be individually responsible, or should we spread that out some? Somebody has to do it, and you guys seem willing to believe the assertion, made for the record last night, that this project will “never cost the City a dime.” That is verbatim, and recorded, and inarguable. But was it the truth and the whole truth? No matter what “changes in the environment” may bring before buildout? Say it here, so folks can see you do it.

    As any lawyer will tell you, “documents” is one thing, and what they MEAN is another. As any bond rating agency will tell you, the City can go belly-up and/or lose its credit rating over meeting future obligations it creates. Even corrupt as Moody’s has shown to be, if you commit to more than you can chew, whatever the cause, they will cost you a fortune at the stroke of a pen. Ask Dan Wegmiller, of First Southwest, our Financial Advisor since he was a trainee. He won’t lie. He can’t, even if he weren’t the honest man he is.

    IT TAKES A WHOLE VILLAGE TO RAISE A DISTANTLY-RELATED NEW SMALL VILLAGE.

  225. billygmoore,

    I was at the P&Z meeting last night. I have also looked at the development agreement and the P&Z agenda from last night. You are absolutely wrong on this. The 2 portions that are currently in the city limits were zoned FD (future development) and UZ (unzoned). At last night’s meeting. item 6-c on the P&Z agenda changed the zoning from FD and UZ to PDD with the underlying base zoning to be mixed use and general commercial. I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears one of the P&Z Commissioners move to approve PDD-08-05 which is the agenda item I mentioned above. It passed BTW.

    Then item 6-d ZC-08-20 was the re-zoning case for 1278.29 acres from FD and UZ to a base zoning category with the PDD zoning classification of MU (mixed Use). This 1278 acres is the ENTIRE TRACT of land to the west of Centerpoint Rd, INCLUDING the portions already in the city limits. The remaining 60.3 acres to make up the 1338.5 TOTAL is across Hunter Rd and was handled with the next agenda item, ZC-08-21.

    According to the planning department maps that were displayed on screen last night, THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL LAND that is zoned MF anything that is even related to this project.

    BTW, were you at the P&Z meeting last night? I have no idea what you look like so I would not know if you were.

  226. Does anyone know if the proposed annexation plan covers only the Carma development, or are existing neighborhoods at risk of being absorbed into the city as well? I can’t speak for anyone else but I bought where I did in part because I thought I was safe from the greedy fingers of the city tax assessor…..

  227. Dano, no idea, but I would bet money that it is only the Carma property, especially given the city’s history annexing/deannexing established neighborhoods down there. I’d rest easy, but I’d verify whenever I had free time, if I were you.

  228. “The NEW development agreement…” Well, bless my buttons. I thought we were talking about the SAME stuff all those dozens of public meetings, open postings, and formal hearings have been about, for so long, during which the citizens “had plenty of time to give their input.” I must apologize for ever saying a word.

  229. Dano, here is what the official notice of the Public Hearing says at the COSM website:

    “Notice of Public Hearings on Proposed Annexation
    Paso Robles (Carma) Tract, Barnes Tract, and Lowman Tract
    920.659 acres
    Located at the terminus of Centerpoint Road and Hunter Road”

    “The San Marcos City Council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed annexation of the area described in this notice. At the hearing, the City Council will hear and consider comments on issues related to the City’s proposed annexation of the area.”

    “Annexation Areas: Area 1- 860.369 acres of land, more or less, consisting of 860.369 acre tract of land, more or less, located west of Hunter, north and south of the terminus of Centerpoint Rd at Hunter and a Area 2 – 60.29 acre tract of land, more or less, east of Hunter, south of Centerpoint Road west of the Union Pacific Railroad;”

    “Public Hearing Date and Time: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 6:00 PM.
    Public Hearing Location: City Council Chambers, City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins, San Marcos.”

  230. Where the heck does anyone say anything about a NEW development agreement as you quoted above, billygmoore? I dis a google search on this entire page and did not see anything at all with the term “new development agreement” and you quote?

  231. Thanks Eric for bringing additional facts to the table. If those that are opposed would give the real reasons why, whether that’s because of the environmentally sensitive land, urban sprawl, no-growth attitude or whatever, we could debate the real reasons but until then I suppose we’ll have to go another 250 posts refuting the same answered points. Carma borrows the money for the TIF. If Carma fails the lender settles in bankruptcy court. Etc, etc. As to Yarrington, it’s not a CARMA overpass. It’s a key portion of loop 110 which I imagine Mayor Moore is opposed to since it proposed to go west of I-35 where all the no-growthers rally the troops. To them I would say we have a decent land development code with impervious cover restrictions and if we need to do more maybe that’s where you should spend your efforts rather than trying to sabatoge a righteous development.

    Additionally, Mayor Moore and others seem to think that somewhere down the road Jesus is going to come back as a developer and bring his investment mana to San Marcos and we should reject all others until then. As Carol Barrett said to me once, let’s not let the perfect get in the way of the pretty good.

  232. Eric your spot on my man

    own some land just down the road on hunter from this proposed project went to the meeting
    two things i learned
    ol man sherwood rambles and bores me
    & this paso robles project came at a great time, very excited about golf course and possible new homesite in the future the surrounding community and visitors of outlet mall and all the golfers that live on mcarty to riverchase in nb will support this championship course. Time to step up San Marcos pass this project and lets get behind carma and make this successful in this community im supporting this project all the way

  233. Ask me sometime about the history of the Yarrington intersectin with I35, dating back to 1989 (?). You know, when we brought in CFAN/Rohr under an incentive agreement, which has paid off. I think. There3 were some interesting hurdles that had to be cleared, involving adjacent landholders, and what we also had to proffer them. Nah, I’m full of it and have my feelings hurt. Actually, the whole deal became quite colorful, with a days-long sit-in at City Hall, etc. It is worth revisiting, if just for the entertainment value–does relate to the Blanco Vista/Zone “thing,” kinda. Check out City Hall (if you CAN) and the SMDR Archives. Somebody ELSE look all that up that up. I am out.

  234. Here are some of the “real reasons” I am personally concerned about Paso Robles.

    (1) Carma tried to force the City of San Marcos to move the western loop segment of 110 onto McCarty Lane. The two times they brought it to TAB, when asked about existing McCarty Lane property owners, Carma did not have a good answer. This makes me wonder how much Carma is community minded.

    (2) Carma brought us Blanco Vista. It has been a huge disappointment. What makes Carma feel Paso Robles will fare better? We as a community certainly do not want a repeat of Blanco Vista anywhere else in our city.

    (3) Carma feels we should not worry about the potentially harmful environmental impact of the “up to 1.2 million gallons per day” of “reclaimed water” they will use to water the golf course and other irrigation purposes within the project.

    (4) Carma wants a significant financial incentive from the City of San Marcos. Whether it is $20 million dollars, or a net of $7 million dollars (if the math and statements are correct that we would “already” be spending $13 million based on some CIP entry), they are looking for a boatload of money from our little city. Of the limited funds we have for economic development, they should go to direct permanent job creation more than to residential development.

    (5) Carma wants money from the City of San Marcos to help them build their high-end private gated residential community. Is that what we want our tax dollars funding?

    (6) Carma has directly or indirectly let a figure of $750 million dollars investment be bandied about as representing the total amount of money that will be spent once Paso Robles is built out. But every time we try to deconstruct the big figure, the math does not add up. Can we see some more information about this purported $750 million dollars?

    (7) Carma feels the City should pay for certain infrastructure that the City says the developer (Carma) should pay for. But now it appears the city staff has been silenced on this point. What is the real answer to this question? Is it by law or regulation, or simply by whoever negotiates best?

    Note the case study done earlier this year (“Financing Growth for the Future – Who Should Pay for What”) with the help of the help of Michael Dutczak, Senior Vice President of Carma Developers LP, states the following:

    “On-sites include the infrastructure that is constructed within the community boundaries. On-sites are currently paid for by the community developers, and include rough grading, deep services (water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer mains), shallow utilities (gas, power, telephone, and cable), service connections (deep and shallow utility connections to individual lots and commercial parcels), sidewalks and pathways, curbs and roadways, parks, and streetlights.

    So, here we see Carma themselves saying (elsewhere, not here in San Marcos) that infrastructure constructed within the community boundaries are currently paid for by the community developers.

    (8) Carma’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, some citizens believe that in certain scenarios, the TIRZ translates into General Obligations which must be paid by the City of San Marcos taxpayers. Can we get a definitive answer on this from our City Attorney?

    (9) Why should we consider huge financial incentives and long-term second-order obligations that help a large number of homes densely packed together get built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone?

    (10) Should the recent headlines we read, “Brookfield Homes seeks merger talks with Carma Developers” pose any concern to us?

    (11) Paso Robles is one of the biggest deals we will consider in our history. It feels like things are getting rushed all of the sudden. Have we had enough public scrutiny of the deal before we rush into annexing them into the City Limits and setting up a TIRZ?

    I am sure there are more concerns by other community members, this is just a quick list of points that immediately come to mind.

    We all know growth is going to happen in and around San Marcos. We are smack dab in the middle of one of the fastest growth corridors in the entire country. The responsibility of our city leaders, and desire of our current community members, is to see good growth happen, growth that is respectful of the current citizens and mindful of future citizens. Growth that is sustainable.

    It would be naïve to think homes are not going to be built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone here in San Marcos west of I-35. But, it should be done responsibly, with proper consideration to the immediate and long-term environmental impacts.

    I believe Paso Robles can be a good thing for San Marcos, if it is done properly. How does one define properly? How about the will of the people, once they are fully informed.

    Bob and Eric (here in the thread) and many others (including all but one on the P&Z Commission) feel Paso Robles is great just like it is. Bob asked for real reasons of concern to be articulated, and this entry is an attempt to provide some of the concerns. I hope it can foster further mutually respectful dialog by all interested parties. An informed citizenry is in our best community interest.

  235. Sigh….just as I abandon ship, I think I have figured out how all this is supposed to work. You read one or two entries, then make a cute response, and leave the riposte to the next sharp tongue, ad infinitum. No worry about facts or a real community dialogue. A knee-jerk will do. Just like TWITter.

  236. Steve, you are still missing something with this:

    “(4) Carma wants a significant financial incentive from the City of San Marcos. Whether it is $20 million dollars, or a net of $7 million dollars (if the math and statements are correct that we would “already” be spending $13 million based on some CIP entry), they are looking for a boatload of money from our little city. Of the limited funds we have for economic development, they should go to direct permanent job creation more than to residential development.”

    They are not asking for anything from the city. The ONLY funds that will be used for repayment of the TIRZ is the incremental taxes collected on the property. If the land sits empty with no improvements as it does now, then it generates $84,169 per year in current tax revenue. If it is developed as proposed, once built out, it will generate $17,307,854 (yeah, that is $17 mil) per year in annual tax revenue as projected. That is a difference of $17,223,685 PER YEAR in increased tax revenue. A portion of that INCREASE in tax revenue will be used to repay Carma for the REGIONAL improvements that have been agreed to at a rate as agreed to by the TIRZ board. Once Carma has been repaid, 100% of the increase goes to the taxing entities.

    So, basically, let it sit and continue to receive $84k per year (for ALL taxing authorities combined) or develop it, let Carma take the up front risk of the regional improvements, and then, as Commissioner Seebeck mentioned last night, let the folks who buy the homes in the development re-pay Carma for those regional improvements that benefit all citizens when they pay their taxes to the various taxing authorities.

  237. So let me get this straight, Billy…you have been putting forth wrong and misleading information, then, when called on it by someone who is not one of your loyal followers, you abandon ship? You will not even try back up your claims? I really want to hear all about this multi-family land you insist is included in the Carma place.

  238. Eric, thank you for the math, additional perspective and dialog on the 4th point. I need some time to think about what you say on this point. The numbers look compelling, on the surface, on first reading.

    As a starting point of reference (in our discussion on the 4th point), I found a detailed presentation on TIRZ #2 (the one with Carma for the Yarrington Road Bridge) online:

    www. ci.san-marcos.tx.us /departments/engineering/Docs/SanMarcosTIRZ2.3.final.pdf

    (remove spaces to get to the document … I’m including the link here so everybody can see the same thing)

    They say the total value of Blanco Vista is $304 million (less than half the purported value of Paso Robles, but still a mighty big number, and worthwhile to look at as an example and reference point).

    In the 23-page document, I see Hays County partnered with the City of San Marcos, too (something for us to think about regarding Paso Robles, as I wonder whether Hays County is participating in proposed TIRZ #4, or have they declined, and either way, what were their thoughts for their decision).

    Slide 19 in the 23-page document has a projection schedule that may be similar to the kind of ramp Carma expects for Paso Robles. It shows an expectation of total $60 million value in the year 2010. But, as we know, Carma has maybe approximately 100 homes built right now, so they overshot the expectations quite a bit.

    Slide 20 (in the 23-page document) shows they expected to have 480 homes completed and sold by the end of 2010. They will miss that by a long shot, too.

    All of that to say that projections are important to see and discuss, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for sales to get into gear, and we need to see what alternate (less than rosy) projections would mean to the complete picture.

    Back to your feedback, though, where you say we are not out any money, it is all being fronted by Carma, so there is no “lose” financially for the City or taxpayers…a definitive answer to the 8th point would help reassure everybody on the financial risk aspect.

    I will think about this some more and jot further thoughts. And perhaps others can chime in on this particular point, too.

    Of course, as you saw in the “top of my head” laundry list, financial concerns are not the only concerns. But, this dialog is helpful, I hope, for those interested, regardless of whether one is for, against, neutral, undecided, or whatever at this point.

  239. “Carma borrows the money for the TIF. If Carma fails the lender settles in bankruptcy court. Etc, etc”

    I don’t think you have this straight. Carma is not borrowing the money. The city of San Marcos is borrowing the money. These are going to be tax free municipal bonds issued by the city of San Marcos. They will carry a notation that the city anticipates that the bonds will be paid back by the TIF but that is of no concern to Wall Street. Other wise, carma would not need the city for anything. The City is going to borrow the 30 million and give it to Carma. The city is going to collect the taxes on the new improvements. The City is going to pay the bond holders. Carma has no skin in the game. If the city does not take in enough money from the TIF, the city will have to pay the bonds to keep from a default. That is why people get paid very little interest for municipal bonds. They are considered to be very safe.

    If this is not true, why can’t the city finance director or city attorney tell us straight up that the City will have no liability for the 30 million. Why can’t we hire an independent firm to advise us on this 30 million dollar issue? Why can’t we hire an independent law firm to advise us on this issue? Would we sell 30 million dollars worth of bonds to finance a sewer project that has been designed and advocated by the construction company that has been given the contract to build the project? Of course not. We would hire an outside engineering firm.

    As far as this being good for the school system, it is my understanding that this project will be in the Comal (New Brunfels) school district. I am unsure about that so if somebody has a definitive answer let me know. Blanco Vista is not in the San Marcos school district. Regardless, if this is such a good deal for the city, why is the school district and county not being asked to participate in borrowing the 30 million.

    Once again, for everyone who keeps missing the train here – CARMA IS NOT BORROWING ANYTHING. ONLY THE CITY IS BORROWING THE MONEY. Carma only gets to spend the money.

    If the project money will be controlled and doled out to carma, can anybody tell me who is on the TIF board for Blanco Vista and where and when do they meet and where can I read the minutes of their meeting and get a financial statement.

    And finally consider the following statement on Wikipidia ”

    Cities us TIF to finance public infrastructure, land acquisition, demolition, utilities and planning costs, and other improvements including sewer expansion and repair, curb and sidewalk work, storm drainage, traffic control, street construction and expansion, street lighting, water supply, landscaping, park improvements, environmental remediation, bridge construction and repair, and parking structures.

    “Most jurisdictions only allow bonds to be floated based upon a portion (usually capped at 50%) of the assumed increase in tax revenues. So, for example, if a $5,000,000 annual tax increment is expected in a development, which would cover the financing costs of a $50,000,000 bond, only a $25,000,000 bond would be typically allowed. Providing that the project is moderately successful, this would mean that a good portion of the expected annual tax revenues (in this case over $2,000,000) would be dedicated to other public purposes other than paying off the bond.”

  240. Of interest

    Why an honest accounting of TIFs is needed
    • Tax increment financing (TIF) hides the diversion of funds from government services that is inherent in borrowing.

    • TIFs still put taxpayers at risk for repayment and are more expensive than general obligation bonds or certificates of participation (COPs).

    • Just as lenders and borrowers underestimated some of the risks from subprime mortgages, there is great potential for negative surprises with TIFs.

    • Higher tax revenues from TIF districts will go to debt repayment, not government services.

    • Local taxpayers could also pay directly because their governments are unlikely to default on the debt even if revenue falls short.

    • Governments can borrow in other ways and use the savings as a cash subsidy or incentive for target projects.

    Adapted from “Debt is Debt: Taxpayers on hook for TIFs despite rhetoric,” John Locke Foundation Spotlight #337, November 2007.

  241. At Tuesday’s P&Z Meeting, we were given a hand out entitled “Carma Paso Robles TIRZ Frequently Asked Questions”. I believe it was prepared by Carma. It explains the TIRZ and states that “Carma will pay for the full cost to construct the improvements….No public funding assistance from any existing City of San Marocs revenue source is being requested.”

    I am not sure if this document was made available to the public in attendance so if anyone would like, I would be happy to scan it and share it somehow. Mr. Harvey, I still have your e-mail address and if you would like, I would be happy to send it to you and then you can find a way to make it available.

  242. This is a copy and paste directly from the TIRZ document for the Blanco Vista project from the link provided by Steve above.

    “Finally, it should be noted that all taxing entities are shielded from risk in that the developer provides the initial funding for the proposed infrastructure projects and only receives reimbursement from the TIRZ when and if increment is created by the project. The sole source of reimbursement to the developer is new real property tax revenue (increment) generated by the development itself.”

    As you know, the TIRZ #2 is also a Carma TIRZ so one could fairly safely assume this one will be similar.

  243. There’s nothing wrong with Blanco Vista. Just because it didn’t sell out overnight doesn’t make it a failure. It’s affordable, deed restricted, nice amenities. I was very tempted to buy a house there but the floor plans don’t work for me (all the master bedrooms were upstairs).

  244. It would be helpful, I think, for the city to have some workshops on how various funding measures work, how various requests move through P&Z and City Council, what city staff’s role is, what the CIP is, what the thoroughfare plan is, what the various master plans are, etc. In “the heat of battle” does not strike me as a good time for people to be learning this stuff for the first time.

    I have to wonder how much of the emotion could be eliminated and how much faster we could get to a constructive discussion, if more people understood more about how this stuff works. It would also go a long way toward keeping decision-makers (and others) honest. Unfortunately, I have been in many meetings, where city staff, elected representatives, and various volunteers could not agree on how a lot of this works.

    I guess I would add that to the transparency wish list (if it is not already on there – remember, I don’t like to read).

  245. There are some good points, on both sides here. It is unfortunate that they are buried in 270 posts of anger and conflicting interpretations (or misinformation, for those less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt).

  246. Charles, thank you for presenting the additional information on the money for the proposed TIRZ. I sent an email to our City Attorney (Michael Cosentino) this morning on this subject, explained to him there is a lot of confusion and concern in the community on this issue, and asked him to clarify for us the correct answers to the following two questions:

    (1) Is Carma borrowing the money for the TIRZ, or is the City of San Marcos borrowing the money for the TIRZ?

    (2) Are there any scenarios where the City of San Marcos would have any liability for the TIRZ money?

    Also, your information from The Center for Local Innovation was very helpful. Here is a link to one of their informative articles, for everybody to see:

    http:// johnlocke.org /site-docs/CLI/2008issueguide/taxincrementfinancing.html

    Curtis, that would be wonderful if you can scan the “Carma Paso Robles TIRZ Frequently Asked Questions” document and email it to me. And I would be happy to then email it to anybody else who wants a copy. For those who want a copy, you can email me at steve.harvey @ cleantegrity.com.

    Eric, thank you for the highlight on TIRZ #2 regarding the statement that all taxing entities are shielded from risk. Hopefully within the next few days we will receive a clarifying response from our City Attorney regarding the proposed Paso Robles TIRZ.

    Bob, there are several areas of disappointment in Blanco Vista, especially from the perspective of the current residents. Many of them are finding the current new homes are being sold at a greater buyer value than what they bought, so they are concerned that they may be “under water” (owing more on their home than it is worth) for an extended period of time. Also, with so few homes scattered about, there are some crime problems where people will drive into the mostly deserted Blanco Vista subdivision to engage in illegal activities. Theft is an issue (for example, items being stolen from homes under construction or new homes before move-in). Non-residents are coming in to use the community pool. And, there are reports that students (multiple per home) are starting to live in some of the houses.

    Will these problems persist in Blanco Vista? Is Carma willing to do anything further to make things better at Blanco Vista? How is TIRZ #2 doing these days? These questions come to mind as we discuss our community desire for whatever Paso Robles will be, to be better for everybody involved than Blanco Vista. I guess all that is summarized in question #2 in my 11 point list: What makes Carma feel Paso Robles will fare better?

    And, to reiterate one of the questions Charles posed:

    Can anybody tell us who is on the TIF board for Blanco Vista and where and when do they meet and where can we read the minutes of their meeting and get a financial statement?

    And, Ted, you are spot on, we need, as you say, “some workshops on how various funding measures work, how various requests move through P&Z and City Council, what city staff’s role is, what the CIP is, what the thoroughfare plan is, what the various master plans are, etc” (and I added that to the list of ideas for transparency and open government, thank you).

    Regarding the high post count here, I believe it can become part of a healthy cleansing process in our community. Things will be so much better when people of different opinions can get their viewpoints articulated and engage back and forth respectful and real dialog. The key is open and honest dialog. And, to the extent that any of the people posting here have listed information that turns out to be incorrect, I would rather believe that it was a matter of misinformation, rather than anybody trying to spread false information. I mean, gosh, we live in this community, why would anybody be so foolish as to say something clearly wrong in this public manner, for all to see. Certainly, for me, to the extent I have gotten some things “wrong” at different points, I apologize, and commit that I will continue to endeavor to understand things with enough insight before I express concerns and comments.

    The high post count may scare some people away, feeling it is all too complicated and they are too busy to dive in. But, for those interested in knowing what people are thinking, and looking for ways to help educate us all on the correct information, this thread is most valuable and helpful. An informed citizenry makes for a healthy vibrant community.

  247. So Bob- There WAS something wrong with Blanco Vista…And if you have cookie cutter homes, you are eliminating a lot of your potential middle/upper class buyers. Was this a SMART decision for the developer to make ALL the homes with the same floor plan?
    You mentioned earlier : “They were cursed by bad economy and IMHO, bad floor plans. I’m shocked they want to keep investing in this depressed part of the I-35 corridor but if they go belly up..” I believe Hays county continued to grow at one of the fastest rates in Texas during the past 5 years. Developments were flying out of the ground in Kyle and Buda. Why did Blanco Vista flounder when Hays county was growing? Was it poor planning/insight of Carma? Do you still trust a company that you admit “I’m shocked” makes poor decisions?

    “That’s because it UGLY over there around the high school. People want to live on the west side.” You are right! (not about the ugly, but west side preference) It’s strange because east side has the best soil. I guess east side looks so barren because the developments are built on old ranch lands that have been cleared. Give them 15-20 years with trees planted, and it will be nice.

    “These long range master plans are often an attempt to look into a crystal ball and see what will be the highest and best use for a piece of property 20 years down the road – an exersize in futility. A city needs to be flexible and amend the plans when appropriate.”
    “so few neighborhoods immune to college rentals.” So you got flexibility but you didn’t like it?

    On that note about college rentals- you know how the city council gave SWT profs $$$ towards buying homes in town? Well neighbor took advantage of it and now his college son and roommates live there while prof lives in other neighborhood.

  248. I think some of you are confusing Blanco Vista to the development out by the airport on hwy 80 (and the other golf course). Not so long I went for a drive out to Blanco Vista (Yarrington rd.) and it is 80% ranch style homes and average of 1800 to 2000 square foot. I walked through a home that had been built but not sold yet.

    I would be afraid to even leave my car doors unlocked out there.

  249. Carma is a developer, they buy land and develop it. After they develop it they sell it to builders.who then in turn build on it. Lets hope the deed restrictions will keep the builders in line

  250. Those problems mentioned above are not Carma’s fault. The builders didn’t have a product I liked so I moved on. I’m disappointed it didn’t take off better but I’m patient. Kyle & Buda are closer to Austin and that’s the simple answer as to why they would develop faster. East side soils are expansive clay (black gumbo) and have problems different than west side rock which may have to be blasted or chipped out to before you can pour your slab. The east side problems are also socio-economic. As to that college prof scamming the system – let that be a lesson that gov’t should stay out of private sector businesses. Don’t mess with the market.

    Steve – please let us know if/when you hear back from Cosentino.

  251. Thank you to Curtis for using my favorite Ted Kennedy quote: the perfect is the enemy of the good.

    If I could pick a single blanket statement that describes the issue with Paso Robles, I’d say it was communication. I’m certainly not in love with the project, but I’m not privy to enough hard information on it to give an informed opinion. This city has yet to learn that many headaches can be saved simply by making information readily accessible without jumping through bureaucratic loops. They also don’t seem to understand that people have become increasingly skeptical of decisions because of poor previous actions, especially in the realm of incentives. This is exacerbated by local officials failure to adequately acknowledge the concerns being brought to them–people are leaving meetings feeling like they have not been listened to.

    There really isn’t anything wrong with the Yarrington Road TIRZ that negatively affects municipal finances–it actually has some good safeguards built in. But I will be quick to say that I do not like TIRZ being used for residential in non-redevelopment scenarios. This is not a San Marcos problem though–we are seeing this statewide.

    Regarding the progress of Blanco Vista, Carma does not directly build any of the homes. They do not design the floor plans; that is the responsibility of the builder that purchases the “blocks” of lots within the subdivision. The only real influence Carma has comes through the deed restrictions and whether they feel the builder is of sufficient quality. Some of the builders out there have realized their floorplan problems and begun developing new single-story plans. Crime is ALWAYS a problem in newly developed subdivisions–once you get more eyes on the street that situation will improve. Also, and you can ask the builders out there, theft of building materials is an issue at nearly any home under construction; I’m sure Curtis can verify that even in neighborhoods of $500k custom homes this problem is encountered.

    As for the college rental issue, the city simply hasn’t had the brass to take on meaningful action beyond requiring code enforcement to monitor a house for a month and then take them to court. The only option available to developers is to develop homes at a price point that discourage investor purchasing, but if you do that you also eliminate housing product available to middle class searching for a home in the sub-$200k range (the same price range that an investor goes for that is interested in college rentals). There are a lot of actions the city could take to discourage absentee landlords and violation of occupancy restrictions, but that is a different topic for a different day. And that isn’t just a Blanco VIsta problem–it is happening in that DR Horton neihborhood south of town as well, and in Blanco River Village. Blanco Vista needs to invite Ken Bell to a HOA meeting so he can explain what residents can do that have concerns. They also need to check their deed restrictions, as most have some definition of “single-family.” Deed restrictions have enforcement provisions, and residents can sue for enforcement of those measures in extreme cases. Honestly, I’m a little baffled by college students wanting to live in a neighborhood like Blanco Vista, far removed from the campus, off the tram line, and in an area that has far more appeal to young families with children than singles looking for a fun place to live. I’m a bit skeptical of this really being a serious problem in Blanco Vista.

  252. Bob- Good point-” let that be a lesson that gov’t should stay out of private sector businesses” I believe you’ve summed up the majority of these posters position.

  253. Sam – Your comment implies the gov’t is in this deal and I don’t think they are so I don’t think I’ve contradicted myself.

  254. Carma gave a couple of handouts to the P&Z Commissioners on Tuesday. Thanks to Commissioner Curtis Seebeck, he scanned and emailed them to me today. One is entitled, “Carma Paso Robles TIRZ Frequently Asked Questions,” and the other is entitled, “Paso Robles Community Summary.” If anybody else would like a copy of these two documents, send me an email and I will scoot a copy of them over to you, too.

  255. The numbers don’t make sense to me. The development is 1338 acres. They are going to put a golf course on it, which will take up about 200 acres, according to industry averages for an 18-hole course.

    There will be other greenspace requirements, as well as space taken up for community centers, roadways, setbacks, and other uses, but since there is no way to accurately quantify the space requirements of those other uses, let’s just set that aside for now.

    Carma has plans to build 3,427 homes on this land. JUST backing out 200 acres for the golf course means that those 3,427 homes will go on 1,138 acres. That’s 3 homes per acre, or 1/3 acre lots depending on how you want to think about it.

    Considering that every other neighborhood in the area comes on a lot of at least an acre, I wonder how they are going to be able to sell these lots as places for “high end housing”. I know that large yards aren’t a priority for many seniors, but that’s a tiny little lot to try to sell a $400,000 home from……

  256. Five lots per acre is a very common metric. The zoning code SF6 means Single Family, minimum 6,000 sq ft lots (0-6 dwelling units per acre). They might plan to do some garden homes in there and go to 12 units per acre on those allowing them to do some larger lot product. I hope they do because that is another complaint I have about Blanco Vista, lots are too small. But I guess some people want to live like that, Plum Creek is very popular.

    Large lot size in the general vicinity is because they are on septic.

  257. Bob- “the gov’t is in this deal and I don’t think they are”
    The same branch of government (City Council) who offered $5000 incentive to professors to buy in San Marcos, is the same branch of government that Carma is asking for a $30,000, 000 incentives (The headline of this article).
    So, if you believe the government (City Council) is not in on the deal, I don’t know what to say.
    Carma should be able to successfully develop without our local tax money. That way we haven’t “messed with the market” If Carma is a financially stable and capable corporation , they should do well.

  258. Dano,

    Those #’ have even gotten smaller. The “Petition for Development Agreement Paso Robles” states they will have 867.1 ares for 3450 homes. Now, they are also stating that there WILL be apartments in the development, so what the exact lot size will be is fuzzy, but Mr. Cranston stated Tuesday night that the lot sizes would run 40, 50. 60 and 70 foot wide. They will also have some lots they will call “estate” lots that would run 100 foot wide.

    If you look at the kind of housing that is currently selling between here and Wimberley in the Hill Country the lot sizes are AT LEAST 1 acre.

    Mr. Cranston also stated that price point would range from high 100,000 all the way to $400.000.

    Speaking of numbers, if you take their total dollar investment of seven hundred million, take that number and divide it by the total lots. They will lease out the golf course to someone else. All this boils down to selling just the residential LOTS (not lots and homes) for roughly $200,000 per lot.

    You are so very right that the number we have been given do not add up

  259. My guess is that you will see them offer some product that is:
    true townhouse
    patio home zero lot line
    4500 s.f. lots (garden home)
    6000 s.f. lots
    11000 s.f. lots (roughly 1/4 acre)
    22000 s.f. lots (roughly 1/2 acre)
    much more than that and you won’t get as much interest as age-restricted. They might do some executive retirement on a larger lot, but I don’t think you’ll see a lot of that. I’d expect to see, in a development like this, lots of casual public spaces even if they are just maintained by the HOA, the idea being that the retired folks get to enjoy the open space, but don’t have to maintain it themselves. I like the idea of having a variety of housing products available in any given neighborhood because that will bring a larger, more diverse group of purchasers.

    Keep in mind that the 2.7 unit/acre includes areas like the golf course.

  260. Ms stevens

    u wont be living out there, so who cares what u think San Marcos better pass this project thru, or people with better means moves out. thats the bottomline look who supports this project, bank owners , real estate people, business owners, people who make things happen around here so yalls little dream team as yall put it, can keep your no -growth attitudes away from this south end thank u, have a nice day

  261. Sam – As I’ve stated in an earlier comment, I don’t see the difference between the city selling bonds for infrastructure when there isn’t a specific beneficiary and providing Carma with the revenue collection function through a TIF. When the city finally got around to improving the water and wastewater lines that were run in haste to accomodate the outlet mall they did a very nice job and spent a lot of money to serve the entire south east quadrant of the city (from I-35 to north of Hwy 123). There was no payback for that infrastructure other than this area was in the city’s preferred (per the Horizons Master Plan) growth corridor. So now the city is faced with the potential of extending infrastructure to the south west quadrant of the city. We weren’t quite ready to do that so Carma says hey, no problem, we’ll do it and you can pay us back if our gamble pays off and your tax revenue goes up. If I learn the city is borrowing the money and diminishing their borrowing capacity I’ll re-evaluate my thinking but everything I have right now says Carma is funding these infrastructure improvements that benefit Carma as well as others who develop in the area.

  262. Very interesting to hear Carma plans apartments for Paso Robles now. But, the hardcopy handouts they gave P&Z on Tuesday continue to represent that the residential units will all be homes (they mention nothing about apartments).

    In those handouts, I do see where the $750 million figure (that has been bandied about so much) comes from. It is what they project the total assessed value will be when completely built out. The math behind their projection is listed as follows:

    3,300 units @ $211,151 per unit
    484K Sq Ft @ $110 / sq ft
    Proposed Assessed Valuation Within City: $750,038,300.00

    As noted by others, Carma the developer is putting the infrastructure in place, but it is the builders who will spend the money to construct the units.

    Carma’s TIRZ FAQ states, “No public funding assistance from an existing City of San Marcos revenue source is being requested.” At first glance, this sounds reassuring. But, does it leave the door open to funding assistance from new revenue sources. And, how does that relate to their further statement: “reimbursement bonds may be periodically issued until the full reimbursement has occurred.”

    (Jot me an email if you want a soft copy of the two handouts Carma gave P&Z this past Tuesday.)

    Their timetable shows they have been lobbying COSM for a TIRZ since December, 2008, and that, “Staff has briefed City Council on several occasions during Executive Sessions providing updates on the status of the discussions.”

    I am looking forward to the answer from our City Attorney to the two questions posed earlier today:

    (1) Is Carma borrowing the money for the TIRZ, or is the City of San Marcos borrowing the money for the TIRZ?

    (2) Are there any scenarios where the City of San Marcos would have any liability for the TIRZ money?

    Until we receive clear “for the record” answers from COSM to these two questions, this will continue to be a major concern.

  263. Fellow Mystery Lovers: If you are interested in the TIRZ application, you might trick a good e-researcher or two to revisit the popular MUD (Municipal Utility District) concept and law so popular in the mid-late ’80’s as Central Texas growth “heated up” around Travis County. Travis and Williamson approved a busload of them. Most never panned out so well, and thus, despite the additional directly authorized taxes and fees the residents (pobrecitos) had to pay on top of normal property and other local taxes, most failed rather spectacularly and had to be adopted and re-habbed by the cities that had bought in. San Marcos said, “No thanks. WE will drive our growth.” Thus, behold the advent of the PDD, which was thought to offer real help to scrupulous and creative developers, while barring others. And we survived.

    The TIRZ is the latest manifestation of the MUD, and works similarly.

    Don’t ask ME. Check the Stateman archives, the Tax Appraisal figures, the SMDR archves, a Municipal Finance Advisor, whatever. I am notoriously unreliable–some even say crooked, stupid, or unstable. I was capsized in trivia and swore off this. But I just loves, like my hero, Steve, a little taste of accuracy in my public records. Letting them be revised or hidden just makes me more than sad. I always recall what some guy once supposedly said: “Inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” Maybe he was confused, too. This time I really leave this ping-pong game for sure. Question is, WHY DID ANYBODY NOT KNOW THE FACTS, WITHOUT A FEW HAVING TO DO HUNDRED OF HOURS’ INDEPENDENT RESEARCH, as Steve and his few “faithful followers” have done for the people of the community? See y’all at Steve’s Meeting on 8/16 at the Activity Center, if I can come.

  264. On the Recharge Zone, it’s 0 to 3 units per acre or VERY low density, accounting for the ground that’s ‘undevelopable’ because of the required CWQZ and recharge feature setbacks. That, and the ENTIRE development has to come in under 20% impervious cover, including rooftops, roads, driveways, sidewalks and the little slab the A/C unit sits on.
    The contributing zones have regs as well…
    it will be hard to get that kind of density unless they do some clustering.
    (unless of course you don’t want to be annexed, then you are on your own for water and wastewater and can do 5 to 10 acres lots with septic systems, which would never ever happen.)

  265. Why wouldn’t 5-10 acre lots happen, Chris? This particular property WILL be developed. If the council decided to turn down the PDD and this project, you can almost guarantee that Carma will still develop the property and will just choose to not have it annexed and will simply make 5 acre lots with city water and individual septic systems. If you took out 200 or so acres for infrastructure improvements such as roads, that leave 1138, acres or 227 5 acre tracts and 227 individual septic systems over the recharge zone rather than 1,300 acres with NO septic systems over the recharge zone.

  266. Or worse yet, 10 acre lots with private wells and septic with at least 113 MORE wells drilled into the aquifer.

  267. I am hearing from people that we are still not getting an appropriate amount of parkland planned for the Paso Robles development (not even the minimum required by the Land Development Code).

    I reckon that would be “concern #12” to the previous list of 11 concerns posted yesterday evening.

    For everybody interested in showing up to provide your further input in person (pro and con), remember that the Public Hearing is August 24 at 6pm at City Hall.

  268. instead the city is getting a much bigger park for recreation golf course alot more golfers in community then nature hikers in community Carma is developing parkland at their expense and the upkeep expenses. i applaud them for that. the University has a great golf team and the high school in town has a boys and girls golf team also the baptist academy kids have a golf team, they need a better facility in San Marcos. this project affects the youth in this community positively. We should be thanking Carma, and Mr. Cranston

  269. What are the latest estimates on % of impervious cover for Paso Robles? I read elsewhere that the EAA is drawing up, “new rules that would limit impervious cover in the Aquifer recharge zone to 20%, with up to 30% allowed in some cases. A wide body of scientific literature indicates that allowing impervious cover to exceed a threshold of 10 to 20 percent can degrade water quality.”

    I am still surprised we are seriously considering authorizing a golf course on top of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone here in San Marcos. If it passes, then other communities will certainly question our resolve and dedication to protecting the Aquifer.

    As noted at the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance website, “The Greater Edwards Aquifer is known as a karst aquifer, characterized by rapid, open-channel water flow and by a thin to nonexistent soil cover. Because of these physical factors, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has recognized since 1989 that the Edwards Aquifer is more vulnerable to pollution than any other major aquifer in Texas.”

    One “Soil Report Newsletter” notes the following about grass maintenance requirements for golf courses: “Keeping that grass short and green takes a lot of fertilizer. Then there are pesticides to discourage various insects such as mole crickets and nematodes (parasitic worms), herbicides to fight weeds and such, fungicides, and chemicals to prevent or thwart plant diseases.”

    The “Hill Country Water” website has a “Golf Course Impact” page where they note, “each time a golfer plays a round of golf it takes between 2,200 and 3,500 gallons of water to support their game based on golf course average water use. In summer, a golfer uses 3,400 to 5,400 gallons per round when water use peaks and our annual drought occurs.”

    With our water constraints during the summer months, conscientious golfers would prefer to play on courses that at least use gray water for watering the course. But, it is reported the EAA says gray water should not be used over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. So, the solution is to not build golf courses located over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

  270. and those stats you threw out for water usage during a players round is bs. obviously your not a golfer, and know that golf courses protect the environment and population

  271. Steve, I apologize for not being able to congratulate you one the phone for your persistence. But it looks as if you’ve now got the President of the US involved. But I wish he would stop trying to distract you and the “vatos peligrosos” from the real issues by focusing on the golf thing, and not offering anything more helpful. Like facts, which I know you have some kind of “thing” about.

  272. i am also glad to see young men on the p&z committee, who want to see San marcos grow pass this Tuesday night Sherwood Bishop was the only one anti, and no matter what Mr. Cranston had to say he had to debate it. He even had to be stopped by Mr. Couch causeand other councilmen cause he tried to get on his soapbox. I dont know the council in this town yet, but i hope they are smart enought to get behind Carma and make this successful and realize this will stimulate jobs

  273. Billy

    Eric had to call u out on all your incorrect facts you were spreading and u were defeated might i add sir
    i did agree with u when u called yourself pompous, loudmouth you were correct there

    and if i remember right at one time you were criticizing councilman seebrook and his father then later was thanking him for sending u ppwk showed me what kind of man u are

  274. To all the known candidates and others in the wings, it sure would be great to hear your thoughts about all of this expressed by each of you individually at the August 24 Public Hearing. This is a major event in the life of our city, and we should know where the candidates stand in this matter. What better way to demonstrate your community issues awareness than by showing up and speaking on August 24. Let’s move beyond campaign rhetoric and get into the real issues. The Public Hearing is August 24 at 6pm at City Hall. Show up and let us hear what you have to say about this, while it is happening, not after the fact. Just sayin’…

  275. eventhough majority of the hardwrking business men and owners in this town support paso robles, and cant always make the city meetings, they support Carma and want to see this project successful the few people that are complaining do not come close to representing people who are waiting for this to happen and will be supporting it might i add these are important people inthe community, with majority of them living off Mcarty

  276. Obama,

    Can you point me to where Mr. Harvey criticized me and my father? I have not seen that but I have also not read everything on this blog in the past. Thank you.

  277. Mr. Seebeck, again you have been misled. It was I, and I praised the honesty, uprightness, creativity and durability of the Seebeck Way. I’d repeat it, but you must already have a sense of that, and so far as I know, you show it. In plain sight.

  278. Curtis

    My apology, it was Mr. Moore that had made that comment about u and your father … Also like to thank you and Mr. couch and other P&Z men for passing this Tuesday. And Billy didnt praise your family like he is stating. I see some people referring him as Mayor Moore. I find it very hard to believe he was elected. Curtis at the meeting the other night the one comment u made was the most important. The city is only getting around 8 grand because of ranch being ag exempted. This project will create more tax money. Valid point needs to be more young go getters like u on the commision sherwood looked like black sheep of the family up there

  279. Obama,

    Sherwood is a good man with convictions just as strong as myself. He and I do not always see eye to eye but I respect his opinion and his viewpoints. I certainly do not consider him “the black sheep of the family”. As for the comment Mr. Moore supposedly made, can you please point me to the thread where this comment was made so I can decipher it for myself? Thank you!

  280. never claimed Sherwood was not a good man. But i dont respect all his viewpoints, especially with him trying to postpone voting cause of prkland issues. He needs to wake up and realize the 2-300 acre golf course is prkland for alot of citizens, no matter what the code requires. I wanna tell Sherwood i drive by this land 6 times a day and right now there is no prkland in sight Carma is donating plenty, I think everyone of yall should have thanked Shaun, instead of playing badasses up there and the other councilmen just trying to throw something in, then saying no no i dont want to have to vote this in. But then again he did vote yes to approve it. Try reading number #235 thats where billy states his ignorance and his unaccurate reports

  281. You’re slow, “obama.” Maybe if you had a better handle on the simple things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you might better be able to spot something really complex like sarcasm. I don’t think I’d ordinarily give anyone any heat for that in a casual dialogue like this one, but you’re just so nasty on top of it!

  282. Srry i get to typing fast, but usually i have good grammar just not coming across on the post correct Im not trying to be nasty at all, just stating what i saw at the meeting. It was my first meeting ever since ive lived in San Marcos, and thats what i saw when i was there. I thanked the commision, I thanked Carma, i will thank the city council also. Im srry im not agreeing with the complaints Steve and Billy and Chris make on here. I dont know all the facts, nobody does, i just want to see this project happen, thats all oh soo that was sarcasm he was to say that about my father , he would be eating those wrds

  283. Thank you for pointing that out, Obama. I did not read that earlier.

    Mr. Moore, you sir, owe me and my father an apology. Per your very own words…

    post 235 in this thread “Maybe Commissioner Seebeck should have shouted at somebody. He and others have us fooled into thinking what they build is “nice,” affordable, livable, and conforming. His Daddy tried the same trick–for about 30 or 40 years, I believe.”

    In your retort to Obama: in post 309: “Mr. Seebeck, again you have been misled. It was I, and I praised the honesty, uprightness, creativity and durability of the Seebeck Way. I’d repeat it, but you must already have a sense of that, and so far as I know, you show it. In plain sight.”

    So which is it, Mr. Moore? Am I and my father honest, upright, etc or are we fooling you into thinking what we do is good when in fact it is crap? Talk about me all you want but for God’s sake, leave my cancer stricken father out of it.

    Also, just for the record, have you ever even been in one of my homes? Are you even aware that I was the first sustainable builder in San Marcos and that I only build sustainable homes? Do you know that I built the only 5 star Austin Energy Green Building Program rated home in San Marcos, the highest it gets? (at the time, there were only 17 in all of Austin) Do you know that every home I build is designed and built to last at least 100 years while the average custom home’s life expectancy is much less? Tell me how that is fooling anyone. I am walking the walk, sir.

    I await your apology or explanation of how your comment was taken wrong.

  284. Mr. Moore,

    Feel free to contact me via e-mail to further discuss this if you prefer to not have it on the public forum. My e-mail address is curtis @ builtbydoc.com

  285. Sarcasm, Seebeck, sarcasm! Go back and re-read 235. I know the man writes like a crackhead sometimes, but in this case it’s fairly clear… he actually is saying that both you and your father build and have built nice and decent homes, in contradiction to the “Realtor” who said there aren’t any such places in town.

  286. I *believe* he was expressing indignation at the idea, presented by others, that we *need* this development, because there are no nice homes/neighborhoods in San Marcos. He was pointing out that you and your father (and implied others, by his tone) have been building nice homes and neighborhoods for decades. He seemed to wonder why nobody objected to comments that there were no nice homes/neighborhoods here.

    I, like Kelly, never read it as anything other than a compliment to you and your father.

    I, however, do see nice neighborhoods as an endangered species, particularly as you get closer to downtown. I’d love to see more diligence in protecting them, if we all agree that they are so important to the economic future of the city.

  287. Sooo how bout them cowboys…… look i got a hot date tonight yall be cool me and mchlle going hip hopin kelly i love u girl

  288. Mr. Seebeck: I thought you were following all of both the factual info. here, and the diversionary BS that takes away from the facts as they are painstakingly mined from under the covers. Then you might have seen my and Kelly’s explanations for the obfuscators of clear and honest debate, who continue, often anonymously, tro try to pull the serious folks away from learning anything new. This ain’t a Twitter-fest, yet. It started as a serious conver4sation for serious people on a serious matter. As for your kinda defensive questions, the answer is “Yes,” about six times. And I have long cited you as an example of water and energy and land custodianship people should know and know about. Just think you are a little shy of the whole, complex pictures of the clusters of issues NS wants people to share. Much of the geologic, financial, and other relevant information is being dragged into the open here, and that is too important to waste on ad hominem attacks, cutesiness, lies, surmises, etc. SMDR is for show-biz, not NS.

    THAT is the source of the manic sarcasm and parody which is my trademark way of getting to THE POINT. Somebody wants to “do the dozens” with me, they should “bring a lantern and a lunch.” Just not here. This is about the long term future of a remarkable and blessed community of REAL and often INNOCENT people, who will live with and pay for any spectacular deals gone South. We all have, and will have, considerable and long term investments deeper than $$$$$ laid out as bait. And the upcoming election MUST not give us “more of the same.”

    The several “projects” being discussed in NS, which look a lot like out-of-wedlock siblings, are not all about photo ops and payoffs and personal ambitions. Sez I. Now what was being said before the fog-cloud came down to obscure REAL debate? Serious people might take time to read more than today’s “posts,” lest they be made fools of. Or maybe pick up on the emerging set of scandals, assassinations, and malfeasances coming–nay, flooding now–out of our City Hall. Easier fodder, more fun, and only taking out one career at a time. Those will play out and then be forgotten. Turds on our doorstep and in our water supply will not. Less heat, more sunshine, por favor?

  289. Billy

    also let commisioner know u called them a bunch of local yokels. Which they are not, The ones I know have successful business around town dont sugarcoat know, let us know how u really feel Mayor

  290. Obama,

    I have tried to ignore you and your now it all attitude and sarcasm for a couple of days. We do not have to explain ourselves to you. The last time I checked this is one of the things that makes this country great.

    Now, as far as your opinion of me let me explain something to you. I am very much pro-growth. I hold an In-Active Texas Real Estate License, currently working on insurance licensing, and my husband works for the City of Austin in the CIP division of the Public Works Dept. He has 30 years of development work and is currently doing ALL the inspections for Brazos street in downtown Austin. He also holds Water and Waste-water licensing among ALL his NICET licensing. We both know about growth and are pro-growth. Our issues are not against growth at all, our issues have to do with the water, waste-water, VERY DENSE housing, and CIP/Developer/ city contracts, and we have nothing against Carma personally.I am also very concerned about the $$$$ in this issue not adding up.

    Now, your opinion is just as important as ours, but please quit making judgments about the people who have decided to take their own time and energy to do all this research on such an important issue that will affect those of us who plan on spending the rest of out lives in this city.

  291. Obama,

    I’m sorry, I should know not to use acronyms’ with people who don’t understand what they mean on my husbands licensing. TCEQ – Texas Commission On Environmental Quality / NICET – National Institute For Certification In Engineering Technologies.

  292. The headwaters of the San Marcos River are very susceptible to non-point-source pollution. The river could face algae associated with increased levels of nutrients due to excessive fertilizer and chemical flow from the proposed golf course. We may find finds increasing levels of conductivity, sulfates, turbidity, and total organic carbon in the river. It could create higher than normal concentrations of bacteria, sediment, hydrocarbons, pesticides, and arsenic flowing through the Edwards Aquifer.

    We don’t need or want, we can’t afford long-term, watershed sprawl. There are many water experts in the area who understand the issues and can help our City Leaders (and the public at large) realize the long-term implications.

    I believe our City Council needs to adopt a Comprehensive Watershed Ordinance containing rules that would make the construction of new golf courses on top of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone impractical.

    In June of 1990, it is reported that “More than 800 people register to address June 7 council in opposition to the planned 4,000-acre Barton Creek PUD. After an all-night meeting, council unanimously rejects the PUD.”

    It feels like there are unseen influences stoking this Paso Robles development train to hurry up and get the agreement signed and the area annexed into the city and the plans finalized before we have a chance to fully understand the long term implications.

    Some kind of development will happen on this land. We know that. Let’s make sure it is a development that we can all be proud to have as part of our community 10, 15, 20+ years down the road.

    I wonder what it will take to get our City Leaders to “slow down” and take the time to really understand the significant and varied water issues associated with the proposed Paso Robles development?

  293. Ms stevens

    I apologize to u Mam i have better things to do then post anyway, looks like yall comment about everything city does, not just this project Just remember if yall wanna dish it out sometimes u gotta learn to take it. And what your husband does, doesnt concern me bottomline: If you wanna keep the wealthy in this town , better star catering to them better, and have places to meet their needs

  294. you mean if we want to keep YOU in this town, obama?
    no, we were okay before you got here, well be fine when you take you winnings and go…
    thanks for all your good advice, though.

  295. Your welcome for all my good advice
    i better see u and sherwood playing in that prkland yall keep complaining about when i move out to Paso Robles

  296. Mr. Moore, thank you for the clarification. I honestly did not see the sarcasm but also, at first, did not read the whole thing in the beginning. Some of your posts get a little long so I sometimes skim though them 🙂 When Obama brought it up, I went back and took a closer look. In doing so, it did appear as a character attack when one does not recognize the sarcasm. My reputation, character, and integrity is of utmost importance to me so naturally, I was defensive. Thank you for the further clarification

  297. Fyi im not an obama fan at all

    i knew yals dream team wouldnt take kind to my views. Im not a sarcastic smartass, im a hrdwrking man in this town who supprts this great City

  298. If anything is going to pollute or dilute the water or identity of San Marcos it’s this project. Can it! The upper income echelons in San Marcos can afford to build whatever they want whereever they want. We don’t need outsiders coming in to tell us what we need. For the record my grandson is looking to buy a home in the price range that is 400-500 K and he would rather live in his car than pay that kind of cash for a house on 1/3 of an acre. The whole project is a bad idea and only benefits people outside of San Marcos. I am not and will not ever support any political candidate who supports this project or whom has been found to accept campaign assistance from it’s principals. Just a little thing to think about this November.

  299. The property owner across from project on hunter road, already building storage units. Im sure he knows this will be coming soon. Ceating job opportunities already

  300. Obama,

    I f you are planning on moving out to Paso Robles, hope you are at least 55 years or older. I for one am not, but would never live on anything less then an acre. I live in San Marcos because that’s where we want to live. It would actually benefit us to live in Austin, but please,no 50×100 foot city lot for me. I guess SM does have something to offer people, you know being that you live here and all. SM must not be too bad after all.

  301. obama must be one of the Carma investors. no wonder he says “I live in san marcos it benefits me”.
    of course it does!
    god i can’t wait for november.

  302. That’s really strange. I have a hard copy of an article done in the other on-line newspaper here in SM, dated 1/14/2009, and I will quote Mr. Cranston “is targeted to families with at least one permanent resident who is 55 or older”.

    Next paragragh states: “despite today’s dire conditions in the housing market, Cranston told P&Z that he has no qualms about Carma’s $35 – $40 million investment in the San Marcos.

    Buried in the articles I have hard copies of , it also states lot sizes. During this weeks p&Z meeting Cranston stated that the majority of the lots would be ” 40, 50, 60, and 70 foot wide, with SOME estate lots at 1 acre.

  303. not an investor no ties to Carma a in anyway

    read my post youll know why it benefits me
    ofcourse it benefits me i own property on hunter road, but it really is all about the golf course

  304. THE PEOPLE THAT PURCHASE OUT THERE WILL BE PAYING THE MONEY BACK TO CARMA,
    WITH TAX MONEY GET IT GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN

  305. The very idea of building a golf course on top of the Edwards Aquifer should be a major issue with San Marcos stakeholders. Yet, it seems to be gliding through the final steps for complete approval. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved it this week, and a Public Hearing is now scheduled to annex this proposed golf course development into San Marcos city limits.

    I wonder why Carma (the developer of the proposed Paso Robles golf course) doesn’t at least consider steps to safeguard the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone? For example, over in San Antonio, we read:

    “Thanks to an intricate and high-tech network of aquifer-saving safeguards, the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio has been ballyhooed as a little slice of environmental heaven … a sophisticated water-recycling system includes a closed-loop drainage and irrigation process that captures and recycles rain or sprinkler runoff. Under the turf and an 8-inch “sand cap,” a critical foot-deep clay layer acts to force water into underground pipes heading to a half-dozen water-quality basins. From there, the water is pumped to larger storage areas, to be used again for irrigation.”

    But, no, for the proposed Paso Robles development golf course, it seems Carma simply wants to put up to 1.2 million gallons of “reclaimed water” on the golf course each day, regardless of what it will then do to the headwaters of our beloved San Marcos River.

    We shouldn’t take our water for granted. Geologists will tell us the development could block recharge and contaminate the water with chemicals from runoff. Over at the Texas Water Matters site, and the Texas Water Development Board site, more information can be found on planning that is taking place to coordinate and protect our water. Both the fragile geology of this area and the rapid encroachment of under-regulated urban development threaten the purity of the Edwards Aquifer.

    Over at the “Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance” site, in summary:

    “The Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem of Central Texas is one of our most valuable, irreplaceable, and endangered public treasures. It is both our right and our civic duty to preserve and protect the Aquifer, its contributing Hill Country watersheds, its Great Springs, and its native biodiversity in perpetuity for the benefit of all citizens and all future generations.”

    Why in the world would San Marcos City Leaders even consider approving this proposed golf course over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone? But, that is what is happening, and it will be a “done deal” soon unless enough citizens quickly rise up and protest. We need to show up at City Hall for the Public Hearing on August 24 at 6pm. We need to show up in great number, with plenty of folks speaking at the podium, to counterbalance the current development-biased City Leadership. Will you be there? Do you care? Will you act now to protect our water for future generations?

  306. Waters treated, will cause no harm No need to get wrked up over nothing Sir U heard the Man speak at the meeting to reassure skeptics like yourself

  307. Golf courses preserve and protect P&Z wouldnt have passed it if their was that much concern on water issues no way will they be using that much water, they have permission to use that much is where u get that number

  308. Golf courses can easily use a million gallons of water per day. Over at the Soilmoisture Equipment Corp website, we read about the 57 individual golf courses in Palm Springs as an example:

    “Each of those 57 golf courses in Palm Springs … uses a million gallons of water per day. That’s roughly 57 million gallons, 365 days a year.”

    And, over in Hawaii, “Chauncey Hew is concerned about water consumption by golf courses, which he places at between 750,000 and 1 million gallons per day per course, especially on the dry side of the islands.”

    There are other sites that speak of various courses using anywhere from 500,000 to over 1 million gallons of water per day.

    Whatever the actual number might be specifically for the proposed Paso Robles golf course, it will be a lot of “reclaimed water” going right into the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

    And then we hear about underwater “canals” (or whatever the right geological term is) that flow from this (Paso Robles) area right into the headwaters of the San Marcos River.

    On top of that, plenty of fertilizer and other chemicals are used in golf course greens maintenance, and there is concern about the runoff and flow of these elements through the aquifer and into water supplies.

    And, with “reclaimed water,” there is the issue of pharmaceuticals present. Many legal and illegal drugs are found in reclaimed water because sewage treatment plants cannot remove them. Sources of these include:

    * Human activity (e.g., bathing, shaving, swimming)
    * Illicit drugs
    * Veterinary drug use, especially antibiotics and steroids
    * Agribusiness
    * Residues from pharmaceutical manufacturing (well defined and controlled)
    * Residues from hospitals
    * Excretions from humans (e.g., antibiotics, birth control pills and other hormones, etc.)
    * Flushing of left-over drugs down the drain.

    Studies (by USGS, EPA and many others) have shown that these materials can persist in soil for months after application and can flow through sand and clay into aquifers and other water sources.

    The City of San Marcos has stated there will likely be buyers for far more “reclaimed water” than can be supplied, so it seems like we could (and should) easily adopt a policy of not using “reclaimed water” over the recharge zone and in other sensitive places.

  309. I dont know where yall find yalls information

    Who was the gentleman at the meeting that was asked to speak about the water. My understanding was Carma is taking all correct procedures and they find no harm The developer of the courses Carma uses look top class, look at Royal oaks in Houston All correct procedures will happen to protect edwards

  310. I already know two councilman that have pretty good sticks and can golf their ball. Not looking good for yall

  311. Here is a condensed list of concerns about Carma’s “Paso Robles” development as it currently has been proposed (and approved by our Planning & Zoning Commission, now awaiting consideration by the Mayor and City Council). This is not the complete list, but it does reflect many of the top concerns by members of the community.

    (1) Carma tried to force 110 onto McCarty Lane. What else might they try?

    (2) What makes Carma feel Paso Robles will fare better than Blanco Vista?

    (3) Up to 1.2 million gallons per day of “reclaimed water” they will use to water the golf course along with all the fertilizer and chemicals, why do we want a golf course built on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone?

    (4) Carma wants financial incentives (money) from the City of San Marcos to help them build their high-end private gated residential community. Is that what we want our tax dollars funding? Why should we consider huge financial incentives and long-term second-order obligations that help a large number of homes densely packed together, along with a golf course, get built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone?

    (5) Carma feels the City should pay for certain infrastructure that the City says the developer (Carma) should pay for. But now it appears the city staff has been silenced on this point. What is the real answer to this question? Is it by law or regulation, or simply by whoever negotiates best?

    (6) Carma’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, some citizens believe that in certain scenarios, the TIRZ translates into General Obligations which must be paid by the City of San Marcos taxpayers. We await answer from the City Attorney to the following two questions:

    (a) Is Carma borrowing the money for the TIRZ, or is the City of San Marcos borrowing the money for the TIRZ?

    (b) Are there any scenarios where the City of San Marcos would have any liability for the TIRZ money?

    Until we receive clear “for the record” answers from COSM to these two questions, this will continue to be a major concern.

    (7) Should the recent headlines we read, “Brookfield Homes seeks merger talks with Carma Developers” pose any concern to us?

    (8) Has our City Finance team considered the negative implications of another TIF on our books? Note the Center for Local Innovation article:

    http:// johnlocke.org /site-docs/CLI/2008issueguide/taxincrementfinancing.html

    (9) As a point of comparison, how is TIRZ #2 performing to plan? Can anybody tell us who is on the TIF board for Blanco Vista and where and when do they meet and where can we read the minutes of their meetings and get a current financial statement?

    (10) Carma’s timetable shows they have been lobbying COSM for a TIRZ since December, 2008, and that, “Staff has briefed City Council on several occasions during Executive Sessions providing updates on the status of the discussions.” What other secret meetings have been held?

    (11) We now hear apartments are going to be built in Paso Robles, too. Can Carma provide more information on this latest news?

    (12) Community members believe we are still not getting an appropriate amount of (true) parkland planned for the Paso Robles development (not even the minimum required by the Land Development Code).

    (13) What are the latest estimates for % of impervious cover in Paso Robles? What are the math details supporting that figure?

    (14) How does this proposed development resonate with a properly developed Comprehensive Watershed Ordinance?

    (15) Paso Robles is one of the biggest deals we will consider in our history. It feels like things are getting rushed all of the sudden. Have we had enough public scrutiny of the deal before we rush into annexing them into the City Limits and setting up a TIRZ?

    We all know growth is going to happen in and around San Marcos. We are smack dab in the middle of one of the fastest growth corridors in the entire country. The responsibility of our city leaders, and desire of our current community members, is to see good growth happen, growth that is respectful of the current citizens and mindful of future citizens. Growth that is sustainable.

    It would be naïve to think homes are not going to be built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone here in San Marcos west of I-35. But, it should be done responsibly, with proper consideration to the immediate and long-term environmental and community impacts.

    This is a hugely important issue for our community. Remember that the Public Hearing is August 24 at 6pm at City Hall.

  312. There’s an article this morning in the Daily Record online about the Kutscher family. This development effects them directly. Article :Family with deep roots…”

  313. Kutschers not even affected just cause they got land next to them Ask mrs kutcscher if she rather have a industrial plant built out there instead. Kutschers are a good family, they know this land is to beautiful to just sit. They will be fine, hell Daniel might take up golf

  314. Well, cms, mstevens, ted, and other apparently serious researchers and clear-thinking logicians discussing in detail here and on several other, concurrent but often-forgotten, seemingly SOMEHOW related NS issues: While I’ve never met, shaken hands with, or even identified most of you, you’ve about got me convinced that as a taxpayer and affected person, I should listen up more over the roar. But a real issue arises–do any of you “have ‘good sticks,’ hit the long ball, enjoy hot dates, already made your decisions on debate and voting, and have open pockets,” as well as your seemingly open and curious minds? Or do you just have nothing better to do with your time and energy than badger people about open and honest local government? You are really trying to run the rich out of town and deprive us of our right to serve them? Just an inquiring mind, who wants to know.

    While I have checked out some of the mile of information above, and found it sound as a dollar (oops! sorry), just what is your point? Are you “pro-government” hacks? Well, ignore that–both rude and stupid to say that. You seem to be CRITICAL of our current government and the handling of law, regulation, and common sense in SM. Guess I’ll just have to keep watching and reading, researching ON MY OWN for facts that seem to have got lost or stolen, and check out the meetings to see what happens. It is really hard for me to to mistrust people before they have DONE ANYTHING shady or dumb. Who knows? Maybe a whole new group might satisfy you, even if they lack experience or a track record. At least we might trust that they don’t know any of the tricks you seem to allege have been pulled.

    Have any of you smarty-pants pulled up the “Central Texas Sustainability Index,” done annually out of Austin, by Jim Walker? Or that Envision Central Texas Regional Plan thing, online? They have numbers and explanations and everything! They talk about every little hamlet in the 10-county Region, including Travis County and Austin, but done for neither one. Might the City or the Council Members have access to copies? I think if I were doing all this stuff, I’d want to know about them AND the Texas Municipal Code AND the Open Meetings Act Revised. And of course the Final Judgment in “Sierra Club v. Babbitt and US Dept. of Interior.” I wouldn’t just ASK somebody. I’d LOOK before I put MY hiney on the line for anybody, friend or foe. Especially if the taxpayers actually PAID me to do the job.

    Whew! Did you hear about the Old Rec Center and the desert island the Lions seem to be stranded on, what with the bids for their new facility having come in astronomical and all being rejected for re-bid, right before the referendum and new contract? I would have thought KBR or one of the locals could meet the city’s announced budget needs. Now the Lions may have a referendum which can bind them to a contract for a facility that won’t yet exist. HOW in the world could the bids stream in so uniformly high in “such an economic downturn” as the hard copy paper tells it? Does SM really look THAT easy? Aw, maybe my age makes me easily confused….

  315. yes sir your age makes u confused and confusing

    new generation intown likes to play hard and work hard
    yall 4 complainers are outnumbered on this one Srry

  316. Kutschers go ahead bring your whole clan up there again, give your story how yall are affected and we want this and we want that. I dont tell my neighbors what they should do or ask my permission first.

  317. Umm, I’m not complaining. I have no real opinion, one way or the other, except that I would like to see the development done well and I would like the city negotiating something in exchange for any concessions. Less park land can be offset by greater conservation measures, for example.

    I’m also very concerned about the structure of any TIRZ, as incremental tax revenue must be available to cover whatever needs arise from the growth this development may drive.

    I have played plenty of golf and enjoyed it, when I had the time. Not so much, these days, although it would be a welcome diversion for visiting family at times.

    Obama strikes me as a bit of a tool. I very much prefer hearing from Bob and Eric.

  318. i think the name obama throwing off
    my apologies i didnt vote for the guy myself

    definitly not a tool actually im pretty cool, Im srry if im just wanting to stay in San Marcos and this area, and keep wrking hard and have a beautiful place to play and see

  319. I got a hundy says the golf course never gets built anyway, or at least not for many years. No ROI in this size market, especially if it’s a course that costs way more than typical to construct. This could be a red herring. And obama, you can quit advising us you didn’t vote for the man. I don’t think the name is throwing anyone off. And I don’t think you’re changing anyone’s mind on this topic so you might want to try a different strategy.

  320. i have two handy studies that show people move to golf course communities for the openspace. One study says only 12% of residents actually play golf, the other says it’s 17%. Build the golf course community without the golf course, and you’ll have a successful and more affordable development.
    By the way, the number of people in the Southwest playing golf has declined 2 to 3% in the last year, depending on which study you read…

  321. OK Obama if you want to get into this that’s fine, we welcome other peoples opinion in a true debate, but if you insist on being sarcastic and mean I would have to ask you to go back to Chicago.

  322. Carma wants to put up to 1.2 million gallons/day of treated wastewater on this Paso Robles golf course situated right on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. I don’t think that is very neighborly, and it does not reflect an attitude of caring about the long-term environmental impacts to our community. It seems like they want to use this wastewater simply because it will cost them less money for their golf course maintenance.

    The underground canals (that will take this wastewater right to the headwaters of the San Marcos River) are a description of the dropped fault block of rock underground that makes a “conduit” towards San Marcos from San Antonio and New Braunfels, in the particular area that Paso Robles is located. Conduit is a better term than canals, but it is immediately apparent what is meant when you explain it using the analogy of underground canals.

    The Edwards Aquifer Authority is not in favor of using this wastewater on the aquifer. We should see what they have communicated on this to the City of San Marcos. Gee, I sure hope COSM checked with EAA on this, right? I hope our City Leaders have not already made (secret) promises to Carma, right?

    Tom Taggart’s presentation to P&Z mostly said that not a lot is known about effects of pharmaceuticals. Government has not yet set standards for some of these chemicals in drinking water. Taggart is NOT saying that there will be no harm. Fish and Wildlife folks are worried enough that Dr. Tom Brandt showed up at P&Z to express concern from the National Fish Hatchery perspective. So yes there is a lot of concern at the refugium about pharmaceuticals, plus the pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers.

    Once Carma starts placing the up to 1.2 million gallons of wastewater onto the golf course situated on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, then it will be too late to protect the aquifer once the aquifer is polluted. San Marcos has to be protective of not only the springs (and consequently the San Marcos River), but our city wells, Crystal Clear wells and the many private wells, too. None of those wells have treatment facilities to remove these chemicals.

    Citizens are not opposed to growth in general, or even this annexation in particular, IF it is going to be developed correctly, developed in a way we can all be proud of in the future, developed with proper regard for current citizens and the environment. The COSM draft service plan (for providing city services to the annexation area) should have all provisions for wastewater use deleted.

  323. Steve, Steve… You, of all, “Transparency Boy,” must surely realize that the ENTIRE cluster-bomb that has set the woods afire around us came from a single focus, which you labor superhumanly to bring into clear focus: It is about Epidemic Development, you silly. It is the battle-cry of SM and HaysCo, the rallying point for millions around the Nation and the globe, the only viable pursuit of people who would be left jobless and helpless without our “putting the pedal to the metal” and hiding the actual, tedious but necessary proceedings from the “little people.”

    Ted, thank you again for being open to convincing argument and proof beyond a shadow of doubt in the debate, which may not have even STARTED if not for NS and a handful of responsible citizens willing to fulfill their obligations to the democracy, at some cost. How, I must ask with you, can one build out a “PROJECT” around a golfing resort that might be built, it seems, without golf? Or a small-lot, silk-stocking new community on actually rather skimpy lots (Does the old Realtor formula still apply–house for 4-5 times the cost of the lot?)? Or a “senior-oriented community that may not actually require “senior” status? Or a place where mstevens continues to testify that “the numbers just don’t work?”

    Chris, you seem to have massive documentary evidence for your supposedly “crazy, out of control” point of view.
    Like many, I would LOVE to see you actually DEBATED, rather than marginalized, demonized and satirized. So far, I see no takers all the way to the horizon. With all you do, I can’t see how you find time to honor your reputed, and surely bizarre, sexual fetish for “hugging trees.” I wish I could see your debatng opponents, and what they KNOW.
    What is that you often say, “just in case,” or something like that? I have reliable testimony in this very thread that you are being read and dissed by “4 times the opposition.” Why do they not deign to stand with you in the glare of the sunshine, and duke it out in public?

    SMCiCo incumbents and aspirants, are you also watching from the shadows, and being fully ready to answer these questions and issues while being sweated in public prior to the upcoming local erections? Remember what the Bible says: “The race goeth not to the swift, nor the prize to the strong.” “Goeth to the SUSTAINABLE,” I think it says.

    Finally, I have suggested to several interested parties that much light might be found in the TxState Alkek E-Library, in either the Dissertation Abstract or the web document of Dr. Todd Votteler’s encyclopedic Ph.D. thesis, done using materials he picked up as Federal Court Monitor of the judgment rendered in “Sierra Club, et al. v. City of San Antonio, et al.” (1989-95)). That ruling, exciting as it is, is quoted and summarized, along with all the scientific evidence and the history of Texas Water Law, etc. This amazng document, which is neutral in point of view and absent of personal bias or opinion, and which contains the LAW WE ALL LIVE UNDER, having gone all the way to the Supremes, is handy in a fistfight like this. It is the Kayo Punch. For the mildly curious, the conscientious debater, and the literate, it is named “Water From A Stone: The Limits of the Sustainable Development of the Texas Edwards Aquifer” (TxState Univ., 2000.) It would save a trainload of idle speculation and useless banter. And it leaves a wonderful and precisely delineated walking trail for the lawyers who WILL follow as CARMA, etc. move along.

    I leave again in respect to all, asking only to quote one kinda important statement from the Senior US District Coourt, Hon, Lucius Bunton Presiding, in the Findings of the Court, Aug. 23, 1996:

    “The Edwards Aquifer region has finally reached the point where the Aquifer is unable to provide for the needs of all those who depend upon it during dry years, from persons directly over the Aquifer, to those persons and endangered species at Comal and San Marcos Springs. [Now y’all get his next part and listen to Daddy–my insertion] Without a fundamental change in the value the region places in fresh water, a major effort to conserve and reuse Aquifer water, and implemented plans to import supplemental supplies of water, the region’s quality of life and economic future are imperiled.”

    One might trust, even assume, that each and all our “Leaders” have a tattoo of this quotation. But it seems rather unlikely, given the thrust of their policies. May be some Good Samaritan could offer a handout copy for all, well BEFORE the upcoming meeting and Agenda Item, and read it into the record before the vote. Just for consideration.

    I was in the Midland Federal District Courtroom as representative of San Marcos and Hays County. Alongside the Hon. Mark Taylor, LLD, then SM City Attorney, now our EAA rep. I refuse to do any more e-research, leaving that to clearer minds. I have a hard copy of the Dissertation, and don’t lend it out. I would PRAY that the folks at City Hall and the County have one, especially the City Attorney, His job, after all, is to advise and defend the SMCiCo to the BEST of his ability.

    Now, if I may be excused, I would like to go and practice the “Theme From ‘Deliverance'” on my banjo and try to perfect my halting Spanish. Again, I apologize for rudely interrupting, and for not addressing any little turd-throwers who might be trying to divert the serious conversation. Also for my crushing disrespect for wit and conciseness. But I do believe that, in important “Matters of Consequence,” OBSESSIVE BREVITY KILLS. Like speed.

  324. “Water from a stone: The limits of the sustainable development of the Texas Edwards Aquifer” – Todd Haydn Votteler, Texas State University … here is the link to the online summary:

    http:// ecommons.txstate.edu /dissertations/AAI9995099/

    Click on the “View More” link on this page to see the abstract. Alas, to download the PDF, there is a $42.00 charge.

    However, elsewhere I see reference online that the San Marcos Public Library can access a copy for interested people to check out and read.

  325. are you actually reading any of this, “obama’?
    you want to call me a joke, under an assumed, and rather offensive alias.
    you are a troll, and nobody cares.

  326. Ask the folks out at Quail Creek about how it feels to be trying to make a golf course work around here. The word on the street is that the new owners only bought that property to eventually raze the course and build homes on that land anyway.

    Why? Because golf courses around here only lose money, that’s why. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to build another one…..

  327. Chris n

    i try to read what yall have to say, but its the same 4-5 people on here that keep posting this stuff. Ive realized the rest of the population dont waste their time with yall, nor do they take yall serious., U have a sarcastic comment for everything that happens in with the commision and council decisions All yall try and buddy up and pat each other on the back with your false reports and bullsh** studies. Im sure when the Mayor or council see yall, there like ol sh** what are they gonna complain about now, i dont take yall serious, and im sure they dont either. Yall just keep digging for something to stop this project, i heard about this 2 years ago, so no need in telling people its being rushed i would like to know how your gonna sell those lots for that price with no golf course. You make ridiculous comments The public doesnt waste their time with yall , nor will I

  328. Dano

    People in the community have given up on quail, for many reasons
    mainly overpriced, and the course is depletting
    I would say majority of the members out there live on the south end
    Take the bandit in Nb for example, their getting over 200 rounds a day out there theres plenty of golfers not counting outlet mall visitors who will support this their gonna get my money

  329. who are you, obama?
    if you would like to stop by and debate the issues at hand, i would really appreciate that!
    as i’ve said to Eric, you are welcome in my home anytime to talk, debate, and access
    all the stuff i’ve compiled over the years (it has been my hobby) on water quality/quantity protection, density, and
    the latest on BMP’s for golf courses particular to our region.
    i’m very serious. 392-3932.
    i’ll make the coffee,

  330. Chris N

    I apologize for calling u a joke! obviously you are not

    good luck guys! wish i could make the meeting

  331. I came across this post last night for the first time. It took me three plus hours to read every word. I feel like I’m much better informed about many of the development projects now and thank you for your work retrieving the info. I know many of the “posters” here if only by name (haven’t met them) and know you do have an influence on local policy, keep it up.

    I am sad to see someone like Obama assert himself so. He’s like a child in a mask coming into a room of thinkers that have been meeting for hours in lofty discourse about their dreams for a great community; wanting to stop or at least curtail the onslaught of development. He yells and whines with no forethought about what comes out of his mouth. It is easy to dismiss him and push him aside. So, I say to you Obama, take off your mask; sit down at the table; take a deep breath; and join IN the conversation. As it stands now, you’ve managed to stop any real discussion and no one is taking anything you say seriously. For me, all I see is a screaming child. If you want to be taken seriously, re-post with YOUR name; take a deep breath and become part of the discussion. Disagree all you want, I just ask that it be done politely and honestly. It’s easy to be an ass when no one knows who you are.

    Golf Course: I AM a golfer and do NOT want to see another golf course here. No Central Texas golf courses are making money. The only reason a developer wants a golf course is to sell the “idea” and sell the homes. Once done, he’s out-a-here and no one is left to manage the course. Have the questions about management of the course been asked? It’s easy to sell the idea of a beautiful golf course out your back door in the rolling hills. I can’t speak to the numbers stated earlier as to how many residents actually play.

    As for the point that we NEED another golf course in town is ridiculous. The point Obama made is we need a course where the golf teams can practice. There is nothing wrong with Quail Creek, which I am a member of, as a place for young people to learn the game or practice the game. The university also has a nine hole course in town that I love to play on occasion. Both courses are fun and challenging for most players. A NEW course in this area with the same climate, same conditions, same rain fall amounts will “PLAY” the same as the OLD courses. We have many courses to choose from within 25 miles of SM if you are bored with SM courses. I am sure that whatever is built will NOT be a TPC course, it will be the cheapest that the developers can create. It will not be Jack Nicklaus designed or any other high profile designer. No one from SA or Austin will drive to play it, it’s just not going to happen.

    The Future of San Marcos: I hope that most people that don’t post want to same things for SM. A place that visitors can come to and enjoy what is unique about the town. For those moving to SM- a place that they can raise a family, enjoy the parks and open spaces. No one wants to live in urban sprawl, where you have to drive everywhere and all you see are strip malls…where the soul is gone and consumerism is king. There are a few that have the money and unfortunately have the voice (with the help of our current council and P&Z board) that see Dollar signs in the future of SM. Everyone should have a copy of the master plan, it should be taped to the council chamber walls and before anything is voted on, it can’t go against the MP.

    These are tough times for city planners and leaders. We live in a unique area that is growing so fast we don’t know where to put everyone. We want to safeguard the aquifer and the springs. I’ve heard that if the aquifer water table drops to low the springs would stop flowing and even if the water level came back up, the springs may not come back. That scares a lot of people, I wish it scared everyone. We came close years ago when the water level was at an all time low. We can’t live in a bubble; people will continue to move here, which is great, but we have to plan for it now. I’m sure city planners 30 years ago never expected, nor planned for 50% growth per decade.

    We may not have another chance to stop the steamroller. If we sit idly by, the money men will swoop in, build what they want and be gone and we are the ones that will have to live here. I think often about what someone said to me within the last year, “San Marcos is the best investment in Texas right now, everyone is buying up as much as they can.” This was at a time, I thought, when we were still in an economic down time.

    Beware and be diligent…

  332. Steve

    check out the Bandits, its making money

    Also this golf course will be visible from I-35, which should really help out

    Quails, gonna be selling probably wont be a course very soon. Owners are members out at tpc San Antonio. You notice they cut back out there putting no money into upkeep, so nobody supports it, anymore. Go play your cheesy 9 hole aquarena course. thats a joke. Ive been a member at quail, dont know your name at all Sir, but u might want to watch your name calling there The course ofcourse is not tpc, but check out royal oaks in Houston, thats who Carma uses to develop. Looks first class

  333. fyi Fred couples designed their Royal oaks course

    Steve

    it would be my pleasure to play a round with u, i would enjoy taking your money Sir
    I will ask Ferguson who u are, im sure he will enlighten me

  334. There’s not a golf course in Central Texas that’s making money. It won’t be the developers’ problem because they will build it and let others worry about keeping it afloat – that is, if they can find someone willing to take on the financial albatross of trying to run an enterprise in an industry where failure is the norm.

    As far as Quail Creek, the course is deteriorating because the current management company is nearing the end of the time period where they were contracturally obligated to operate it as a course. They’re playing out the string on that property until they can flip it into another subdivision and they simply don’t care what it looks like until then.

  335. Dano

    I know the owners very good, You dont know what theyre trying to do
    actually theyre trying to get the city involved, which should happen hopefully

    if anything thats more of a reason to build a championship course in town, maybe i should quit golf be a non growth activist or do studies for water prevention

  336. Yes, maybe you should do more productive things with your time than swinging your sticks with the fellas. What is a water “prevention” study. I’m surprised you even figured out how to turn the computer on based on some of your statements.

    Another thing, I’m tired of hearing the cheerleading of developments when the person has nothing to gain from the development. If you do have something to gain than admit it or otherwise you’re a snake. People would appreciate some honesty, like “dear council, please approve this development because I’m a silent investor and I really like money. I mean I go crazy for money. If I have enough come next November, maybe I can let you have a little. Of course your approval of this development would likely result in this surplus. Thank you.”

    If you don’t have anything to gain, but you’re one of those who desires all of the creature comforts of the city life, than by all means head on up the highway and join the other city slickers that are so inundated with “things to do” that they never have to think for themselves.

  337. I happened to hear about a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday pm from two people this evening (and thank goodness for Google Alerts, too) and found it was posted at the COSM website earlier today, as follows:

    “Informational Meeting Set for Wednesday on Paso Robles – An educational meeting on the proposed Paso Robles development will be held Wednesday, August 18 at 6 p.m. at Mariposa Apartments, 2600 Hunter Road. The meeting is an informational session about the proposed development. Mayor Susan Narvaiz will moderate the session, giving some background on the project and the approval process. Paso Robles representatives and City staff also will be present to discuss the project. Commissioner Will Conley will represent Hays County. Public hearings on the proposed annexation of the development are scheduled at special City Council meetings on Tuesday, August 24 and Tuesday, August 31 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins.”

    All I know about this meeting is what I read in the above press release. I have no idea whether questions will be entertained, or if and to what extent they might be answered. Figured I should post the meeting notice here so that interested parties can at least know about this meeting.

    For those that are really interested in seeing the right things happen with Paso Robles, please note that the Public Hearing on August 24 at 6pm at City Hall is the “BIG ENCHILADA” meeting where we need a lot of citizens to show up and speak their mind for the record. Input at the Public Hearing will be a matter of public record, and the way our Mayor and City Council do or do not respond to the voice of the people will be manifestly clear.

  338. I received an e-mail late last night telling me about this meeting scheduled for Wednesday night. I was told that it would be a meeting about the road that will run behind their development and dump out on McCarty making it a major arterial.

    My guess is everything about this development might be on the table for that meeting. Only because of the reaction and concerns from all SM residents and public in general. I also believe we need a lot of citizens to show up for every single meeting they might have to get our facts straight and make sure they all know just how important this is to the citizens.

  339. I sent a follow-up email to Michael Cosentino (our City Attorney) to make sure he received my email from last Thursday morning, and to find out when we can expect his answer to the following two questions:

    (1) Is Carma borrowing the money for the TIRZ, or is the City of San Marcos borrowing the money for the TIRZ?

    (2) Are there any scenarios where the City of San Marcos would have any liability for the TIRZ money?

    Surely we can get a bona fide “for the record” answer from COSM well in advance of the Public Hearing taking place next Tuesday, August 24 at 6pm at City Hall.

  340. fyi, There is another ‘secret meeting’ scheduled for tonight:
    Wed. night, Aug. 18, also at 6:30 at the Extension Office on 1253 Civic Center Loop there is a meeting for the proposed shooting sports range on the Hillert tract. This isn’t an official county meeting, but hosted by Debbie Ingalsbe and the Shooting Sports Task Force. It’s not posted, and only neighbors of the Hillert tract were invited.
    Loop110 is proposed to go through this property as well.

  341. Well, the answer to these two questions appears to be (who is really borrowing the money, and are there scenarios where COSM might be on the hook for the money regardless) … It depends. Apparently, we won’t know the true complete answers until the TIRZ is negotiated between Carma and the City of San Marcos. Whatever is being said verbally right now is simply that, words in the air. What counts is what is in writing and executed. It’s like we’re being asked to approve the potential for writing a big check, and told to trust the check writer that if it is written, it will be for our own good. So, we’re all in a rush to annex Paso Robles, with this TIRZ mechanism built in, and it will only be “afterwards” that we know just what we signed up for financially. Based on what I know right now, especially with all the unanswered questions, I am not in favor of annexing Paso Robles as it is currently proposed.

  342. Mr. Harvey,

    Please try to attend the meeting tonight or contact Sean Cranston or Walt Elias of Carma to get their take on things. I have both Sean and Walt’s phone numbers so if you want them, feel free to call or e-mail me. I am sorry you were unable to make it to today’s San Marcos Area Builders Association luncheon as you would have certainly had a more clear understanding of what is proposed. I do understand why you couldn’t, though. Hope you are feeling better, btw!

  343. Thanks, Curtis, and I will follow up. I appreciate the open dialog, and I hope many things can be cleared up with accurate information indeed. I was still sleeping quite a bit this evening. Sometimes the chemo sessions are tougher than others (this was my 21st round of chemo, I take it every other week now). But I am thankful for every day, no complaints! Usually the latter part of the “on” week is tougher, so it may not be until early next week that I can contact Sean or Walt. Hopefully more information will continue to surface for everybody in advance of the Public Hearing next Tuesday, too. I just finished an hour and a half chat session with our younger daughter who just (literally) moved to Peru (by herself). We are so glad she is safe and sound. But between pain medication and lots of typing, I’m a bit rambling right now, so I’ll sign off until tomorrow!

  344. Did the dream team go to the meeting tonight at mariposa

    Im out of town for 3 weeks, did anybody go tonight

  345. Please pardon a question from an interested citizen who is MERELY interested, not ESPECIALLY interested: Does anybody out there in “electronic-land” still follow the “local newspaper, of general distribution,” which the State Law prescribes as the “public Record,” for purposes of legally posting public information and local government notices? I saw therein (Sunday?) an eye-catching applause-piece stating that TXSTATE has just got a humongous grant to build a Technology-Propagation and Technical Research/Business Incubator/Economic Development Engine for us.

    Oddly, I recall recently hearing a discussion that part of the reason for the big kerfuffle regarding roads and transportation. The long-planned and seldom-disputed route of the San Marcos Parkway Loop, SH 110, the section planned with no feeder roads, through the Willow/Cottonwood Creek area, maybe our Most sensitive watershed/recharge zone. Seems to have come up and received a great deal of attention in re: Paso Rubles. The public endured a long and wholly phony discussion about how SH 110 was NOT to pass Centerpoint, yet NOT to be moved astride McCarty, which was already built up and would cost God’s own fortune in ROW alone.

    What I thought I heard was: 1) This road section as proposed was of CRITICAL importance to Paso Rubles. 2) the whole concept of SH 110 had been carried to CAMPO and REMOVED from the Regional Plan, which the State has tactfully agreed to guide the State Plan, regionally. 3) Among the reasons cited for the CAMPO move, according to Comm. Conley and our Beloved Leader, were that the existing Plan was outdated; that the citizens/PUBLIC had given instructions to delete it at the Regional level; 4) that the “former” plan was too expensive ever to build (See, Wonder World Extension” and related Links); 5) that it was too environmentally threatening to make sense as a part of any east/west transport linkage of the City (See Horizons Master Plan); 6) that it would never make sense, since we already HAVE the new WW section over to RR12; 7) that a Western segment of the SH110 Loop was already dropped, in favor of urban growth and growth potential between RR12 and Hunter and I-35; 8) that anyway, the State Fish Hatchery was there (as of WHEN, again?) and a proposed new TXSTATE technology propagation center, etc. was being planned for the area of “The Old University Farm,” still today enjoyed as a University asset (even though I my own SELF had helped try to land at least two first-class PGA-level golf courses in the area, before I had all the now-known water FACTS).

    **** In other words, we are awash (oops! sorry!) in reasons the SH100 plan, however much $$ spent and diligence applied, however much time, planning, and environmental research had been spent on it, should be summarily DROPPED. And now, officially has been, except that CAMPO and HaysCO are to be “kept apprised, as new and better loop plans go forward. Reasons and petitions to local govt.? TSU’s and CARMA’S current $$$$ plans. (For those who joined late and could not be entertained, the Council Meeting, from whence come the Public Record of what I have just said, was a veritable of apologies, crawfishing, “Really?’s, and “We’ll get back to you”‘s.)

    *****Cue the theme from “The Twilight Zone”: Having read the article above, regarding the TSU Grant and Project, I recalled having worked years with and for “Mr. Technology Enhancement and Propagation,” Former Mayor Robert Habingreither (I long supported, advocated, fought for, and helped him in getting a School of Engineering and Technology at “the Rising Star.” That being, in my view, one certain way to make the “Star” to “rise.”) Only in weighing these weighty matters did I recall that Mayor Bob, or “Tech-Boy,” first annexed into the City, and then, during his term, set for de-annexation, amid heated public discussion, is also the Father-in-Law of Comm. Conley. A more suspicious person than I, and there are MANY, might ponder whether they ever discussed development in their area of common interest, which is right now the object of EVERYONE’s interest.

    Now, lest any fool say I am concocting some conspiracy theory, one must remember that people who don’t Do them also neither understand them NOR look for them. Nor have I ANY cause to descend into “personalities.” People are dog-tired of hearing me on that subject. I am interested ONLY in policy, which lives long, not people, who fade rather rapidly, leaving their good or bad policy as a legacy to others. Look as one might, I have neither made any allegation nor called for any inference of ANYTHING except greed and hide-and-seek with the Public/Taxpayers/Citizens. On these matters, I think I can bet all-out on a Royal Flush, and the record is clear. I am just fascinated with all the apparent coincidence–statistical improbability–that is leading us to the 24 Aug. Public Hearing of the SMCiCo. If there is ANY wrongdoing, deception or malfeasance, I believe as did Lady Macbeth, “It WILL out.” Sunshine, Anyone? See Steve and his “crazy followers.” THIS lemonade stand has been closed for years. And tries to remain so.

    In honesty, I must admit that I asked Hon. Comm. #3 Conley on his Facebook Page last week (the only place I have ever found successful, despite his being MY Commissioner and Representative to the County Commissioners Court) about the dropping of the FM110 Long-Range Strategic Plan, which I found mysterious and sudden, if not foolhardy. His response was very much like, “A lot of things have CHANGED since then.” (whatever “then” is supposed to mean) “Call me, and we’ll talk.” I may yet, but I doubt it. I think I have my answer, and don’t need to interrupt a busy day. That would be just wrong.

  346. Incidentally, and very briefly: I have already played under the big lights. I have been herein accused of being a fool, a liar, a mischief-maker, and far too-long-winded. I plead guilty on all counts, at one time or another. I am too serious to ignore, I am too visible to hide. I am too big to miss. Too tired to debate. Too mean to screw around with. Check out my story, in detail, IF you wish. Then go and discuss it–with somebody ELSE. Promise I won’t sue. I just want to get some rest and some fun, until 2 Nov. On that day I WILL be voting, assuming I am alive, and well enough.

  347. Billy And Chris

    Soo i take it yall didint go to the meeting. Go to the meetings get your questions answered from the guys who can answer them. Yall keep asking questions, to yourself and other followers. If you want answers, ask the correct person, or go to the meetings to get them asked. Commonsense people

  348. Obama,

    I don’t consider myself part of anybody’s dream team, but yes I did attend the “City/Carma” meeting last night.

  349. I didn’t attend. I’m not on any dream team either. I probably would have gone, if I had more than 47 hours notice. Unfortunately, I need to make arrangements to leave work early, if I am going to get up there in time for any meetings.

  350. Msstevens

    Can u let us know what was brought up, Do u feel alittle better about the project now , what was discussed

  351. I went to Steve’s meeting. He publicized that pretty aggressively, for a couple of weeks, even though I am sure he would have loved nothing better than to get the ball rolling much earlier.

    He had a great turnout. Even had some Paso Robles supporters there. I guess it’s just a matter of how badly one wants to involve the public.

  352. Mr. (or Ms.) “Obama”

    You are quite abrasive,

    and borderline offensive here, on this forum.

    I suspect the same is true, elsewhere.

  353. B franklin

    I stopped all the bs reports on here is what i did
    takes abrasiveness with these dreamteamers

  354. Msstevens

    Glad you got your questions answered. Thanks for sharing information with us about the meeting

  355. B franklin

    I reports stopped all the on these is what i bs did
    dreamteamers takes abrasiveness with here

  356. I have asked myself the question from the outset of your appearance, here.

    What is your interest in Paso Robles, other than golf and the good of our community ?

  357. I asked the same question a few days ago, and it was also met with silence.

    From 8/16: “Another thing, I’m tired of hearing the cheerleading of developments when the person has nothing to gain from the development. If you do have something to gain than admit it or otherwise you’re a snake. People would appreciate some honesty, like “dear council, please approve this development because I’m a silent investor and I really like money. I mean I go crazy for money. If I have enough come next November, maybe I can let you have a little. Of course your approval of this development would likely result in this surplus. Thank you.”

    If you don’t have anything to gain, but you’re one of those who desires all of the creature comforts of the city life, than by all means head on up the highway and join the other city slickers that are so inundated with “things to do” that they never have to think for themselves.”

  358. Whats my interest in Paso Robles u ask

    Thats where I plan to be buying my next lot build my next home
    Its where i will be living for many many years in this town

  359. Did I just read , the parks board passed the development for enough prkland, cause carma is now donating more
    land let me read it again Billy

  360. I agree lets not attrack people who want dump money into the local economy by living her. ALL OF YOU GO AWAY! MOVE TO KYLE AND NEW BRAUNFELS WE DONT WANT YOU HERE!

    By the way other then the summer New Braunfels is a nice place to live.

  361. Ted,
    Last night I asked the mayor and Carma about the issue with Carma taking the loop 110 to McCarty, and that I was personally at the TAB meeting where it happened. The mayor told me I was wrong and that never happened, and Sean Cranston also said that never happened. After the meeting I brought it up to Mr. Cranston and he asked me for the minutes of the TAB meeting where moving of the loop to McCarty was requested, and I told him he could probably get the minutes from the city. Mr. Cranston was not at your TAB meeting and swore his people would never say anything like that. So, here I am again hitting my head against this wall. I explained to Mr. Cranston this was the issue that started the bad taste in my mouth for Carma.

    Obama,
    I did get some answers last night on SOME of the issues that I have with this development. But they were my questions and my answers that I received, and truthfully, with your sarcastic attitude I have no desire explaining, or telling you what they are. But I will say one of the biggest things that came out in the meeting was the fact the mayor and city staff were falling all over themselves to apologize on how this entire development has been handled by the City. I will also tell you that it seems that Carma IS giving and doing everything that the City is requesting them do. So that leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe our problems are not with Carma, but with the the City of San Marcos.

  362. msstevens

    I respect that

    Im Glad to see that our current Mayor is wrking with Carma to make this project a big success. Glad my vote went to a distinguished intelligent lady.

  363. If there needs to be a loop in town, if even necessary
    needs to go on Posey road not mcarty. Mcarty for a loop is retarted

  364. Obama seems to be trolling the thread here. The awful spelling and grammar tipped me off, but I was sure once he/she became so antagonistic to the other posters.

    Remember people, don’t feed the troll.

  365. Obama, Posey Rd. ends at Hunter Road. I assume you mean to make Quail Run into the loop if needed? That is even more costly than McCarty since Quail Run goes right through Deerwood subdivision with 1 acre home sites fully built out that would ALL have to be condemned/bought for ROW. Then you would have re-alignment issues with aligning Posey and Quail Run. The other alignment option for Posey would be to come up Hunter Ridge but that too is a fully built out 1 acre lot subdivision.

  366. yeah dont feed me

    Steve

    take one of your 12 questions of concern off ur list looks like prkland issues got resolved tuesday

  367. Curtis

    yeah your right it would cost too much going thru subdivision
    the Wonder world extension looks great and helps out, i dont see a need for a loop yet

  368. Curtis, I agree with you. With conditions….
    Kenny, I agree with you. Obvious Troll is obvious. obama is either a 17 year old troll who couldn’t pass english, or he’s a spawn of Gilmore or Carson and there is no hope of rehabilitation.
    Or a combination of both… either way, FAIL>

  369. mstevens, I am sorry that either the mayor lied to you, or thought so little of the work that the TAB did, that she didn’t read/remember our meeting with Carma.

  370. chris n

    dont be upset just cause everything is going smoothly. If my grammer is so bad, yall are still understanding my comments. Like i said nobody takes yall serious including the Mayor, as i pointed out earlier. As u can see she didnt agree with stevens last night. Maybe you should respect your mayor, instead of bad mouth her, maybe thats what Steve should be teaching in his planned meetings.

  371. Ted- Not to go off topic but I can’t just dismiss the idea the that our Mayor and her family made a decision to not run for office after 20 days of fasting and praying…I’m wondering what other important decisions did she make under those conditions? Could there be a connection between her memory loss (412, 420) and her fasting and praying stint? Could this fasting and praying marathon alter her mind enough to that she is really manipulating our city’s search for city manager because she believes God has chosen her for this job?

  372. From the January 27, 2009 TAB minutes – “The proposed width of the FM 110 project is 210 feet – at least on the east side of IH 35. McCarty is shown as a major collector street and is 85 feet wide. The people that live on McCarty now have the expectation of a three lane collector street and not a 200 foot highway. Ted Marchut asked if the major arterial drawn though Carma’s subdivision could be 200 feet wide? Carma staff replied that it would go right through the heart of the community with residential access. Ted Marchut stated that if it is not suitable to go through a neighborhood that does not exist yet, it certainly is not suitable to go through an established neighborhood.”

    If it comes up again, I am happy to go pull the audio tape and get the details of the discussion. Not that it matters too much, since this issue has been settled. It is a little bothersome that people are denying the conversation ever took place, but then I wouldn’t want to be quoted saying some of the things they said, either.

  373. It is good to see that the park issue was resolved. I think that would represent about a 60-65% increase in the size of the Purgatory Creek greenbelt. Very nice. It looks like we held our ground and found something that will work well for the city and the developer.

  374. Yeah, the cost of the houses out there ONLY went up by around $100 each in order to provide for that larger Purgatory park!

  375. Sin Nombre- Yes. Would people be a little more concerned if she (Narvaiz) had announced that she made important decisions based on astrology?

  376. Astrology? Well that would make her sound like a pagan witch, and you know what they do with witches…….

  377. What if she is incorrect in her choice of deity? Praying to the wrong god would really upset the true god. It’s better to be a nonbeliever than wrong.

  378. Clinging misguided rats,

    habited to self-motivated interest,

    and assured with lingering bravado,

    sneer at a fleet looming on the horizon,

    that will reduce their raft to splinters.

  379. “…and what do we do with witches?”

    BURN THEM!!!!

    And what do you burn, apart from witches?

    MORE WITCHES!!!!

  380. i just read all 434 posts on this thread. yeah, the kids are gone and there is nothing on tv….
    i just want to thank all (except obama, you are an idiot) for all the thoughtful comments and good information.
    If we all stay informed, pay attention and remember what makes this town great (water), we’ll be fine.
    Listen to the guys who have been around from the beginning. It’s so important. I think we are coming to the time where we can actually have conversations again, and that is awesome./
    San Marcos is going to be okay.
    battle on.

  381. Chris n

    whats up bff

    did you hear the good news about park board passing it Tuesday night Arent u excited about the additional prkland yeah!

  382. chris north for mayor! shes got all the answers keep San Marcos no growth is her dream and sole purpose

    battle on

  383. Tsk, tsk. You guys get back to the real discussion. I fear the annoyance you blink at may be a product of our stunningly-effective education system, not some hideous flaw in one person’s ego. It’s a “Critical Thinking Skills” thing, and that IS relevant here. And it seems to be working.

  384. ” I fear the annoyance you blink at may be a product of our stunningly-effective education system, not some hideous flaw in one person’s ego.”

    I’m thinking developer/investor with a Blackberry,

    who is not “out of town for three weeks”, but was indeed present at the meeting(s).

    A cretin, in any case.

    And on another front.

    “Rock on Chris. BTW, I think we’ve got our man.”

    Perhaps so on this.

  385. I think Chris and Kenny had it right about “obama,” although I didn’t understand the term until I looked it up. Wikipedia has “troll” as internet slang for “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[2]”

    I have to apologize, because I was the first to react to it. But perhaps if we stop feeding the troll, it will go away.

  386. There are four important meetings coming up on Paso Robles during the next several weeks. Tuesday, August 24 at 6pm at City Hall, is the first Public Hearing on the proposed annexation. The following Tuesday, August 31 at 6pm at City Hall, is the second Public Hearing, which will be about the proposed annexation and land use and zoning issues. Neither of the two Public Hearings will provide any comments or dialog from City Council. They are only for City Council to receive public input. At the second hearing, they are looking for input on annexation and:

    “A petition for a development agreement on annexation, utility services, transportation, development standards, parkland and project amenities with duties of the developer, City of San Marcos and Property Owners Association”

    “Amendment of the future land use map on 60.3 acres east of Hunter and south of Centerpoint from high density residential, open space and industrial to commercial.”

    “A zoning change from Future Development and Unzoned to a PDD (Planned Development District) with the underlying base zoning for the PDD to be Mixed Use and General Commercial. The area includes 1,338.5 acres, Area 1 located at Centerpoint Road and Hunter Road, and Area 2 located east of Hunter Road and south of Centerpoint Road.”

    “A zoning change from Future Development/ Unzoned to a PDD zoning classification of Mixed Use for 1,278.29 acres located at Centerpoint Road and Hunter Road.”

    “A zoning change from Future Development/ Unzoned to PDD zoning classification of General Commercial (GC) for 60.3 acres located east of Hunter Road and south of Center point Road.”

    Elsewhere we read that:

    “Actions on the proposed development are scheduled for September 21 for the first reading on the annexation ordinance and October 4, 2010 for the second reading of the annexation and final consideration on the development agreement, land use amendments and zoning changes.”

    So, now I am not sure which meeting is the BIG ENCHILADA … all four of the above listed meetings seem to be important inflection points for public input.

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