The San Marcos City Council deliberates at Tuesday’s meeting. Photo by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
San Marcos City Councilmembers voted unanimously against re-aligning a portion of the proposed FM 110 with McCarty Lane Tuesday night after numerous citizens turned out to protest to the possibility.
Instead, councilmembers decided to delete the disputed portion of FM 110 from the city’s transportation master plan.
As a result of the deletion, the disputed portion of FM 110 will not pass through a 1,338-acre, gated community planned by Carma Development, LP. However, the deletion also relieved citizens who were concerned that an expansion of McCarty Lane to a four-lane divided highway would adversely affect their properties.
The deletion does not eliminate a request from Carma Development for a $30 million tax reimbursement to defray the costs of infrastructure improvements in the Paso Robles project.
In response to questions from San Marcos Planning & Zoning (P&Z) commissioners last Tuesday, San Marcos Development Projects Coordinator Bill Couch said the proposed deletion and re-routing “is, in part, a response” to Paso Robles.
“This segment of (FM 110) went through (Carma’s) property, and they did not want it to go through the property, and so it’s being moved to McCarty,” Couch said. “It’s in the development agreement.”
Other motives for the proposed relocation of that segment of FM 110 were the conflicting locations of the existing San Marcos National Fish Hatchery & Technology Center and the proposed Texas State University Research and Commercialization Center.
ETR Consulting Development Consultant Ed Theriot said the creation of Paso Robles does not depend on the absence of the disputed portion of the loop from the city’s transportation plan. Theriot said Paso Robles is proposed to include 3,450 homes and 50 acres of commercial units on Hunter Road. Theriot said another 10 acres of neighborhood commercial development could be included in the project.
FM 110, also called “San Marcos Loop,” is proposed mostly to loop around the eastern portion of the city to connect Interstate-35 at McCarty Lane on the south to I-35 at Yarrington Road on the north. The portion now deleted was to begin at I-35 between McCarty Lane and Centerpoint Road and run west to the terminus of McCarty Lane.
During their transportation planning processes in the next 20 months, the city and Hays County may fill the gap in the loop with a section of roadway located somewhere else, or continue the westernmost portion of the loop along a major arterial road already found in the transportation master plan southward past the terminus of McCarty Lane.
The recently-completed Wonder World Drive extension provides a quick route from Interstate 35 to western Hays County, while McCarty Lane dead-ends in the city’s western extraterritorial jurisdiction. Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley (R-Wimberley), who expressed support for the Paso Robles development, said the western portion of the proposed loop is “obsolete” now that the Wonder World Drive extension is open.
“Suddenly, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to have McCarty as a major arterial, Centerpoint as a major arterial, and a loop between them,” San Marcos Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer said. “So that’s where the idea of the loop or this piece moving over (to McCarty Lane arose). Was that a good idea? Obviously, it was not a good idea for us to propose that. Does it mean that the city or the county would go out and purchase right of way and create that road? No. What it means is that as property along McCarty redeveloped, additional right of way could be obtained with the redevelopment.”
Moyer said staff proposed moving a portion of the loop to accommodate Paso Robles, the fish hatchery and the Texas State commercialization facility.
The P&Z) held a public hearing on the FM 110 matter at about 11:25 p.m. on July 27, but no one from the public was still there to speak about it. About 20 citizens spoke out about FM 110 at Tuesday’s city council meeting as people crowded the council chambers and lobby.
P&Z commissioners voted 6-1 last week to recommend deleting FM 110 from the Transportation Master Plan. Commissioner Jim Stark abstained. Earlier that night, P&Z commissioners voted to delay recommending the Paso Robles development agreement and related zoning changes until their Aug. 10 meeting.
Residents said turning McCarty Lane into a four-lane divided road would negatively affect their quality of life. Some residents said building the disputed portion of FM 110 may result in environmental degradation and habitat destruction over the sensitive Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, through which much of that portion was to pass.
One common complaint among residents Tuesday was that the city had not sufficiently notified them of the proposed re-routing, and that the proposal did not appear on the agendas of the city council and the P&Z. The two agendas indicated only that the bodies would hold public hearings and consider action to remove a portion of FM 110 from the transportation master plan.
Mention of the proposed FM 110 portion relocation to McCarty Lane appeared in the lengthy backup material accompanying the agendas. The language of the relevant motion P&Z commissioners voted on last week only refers to the deletion of a portion of FM 110, not to its relocation to McCarty Lane.
The proposal to delete the disputed portion of FM 110 was bundled into one agenda item with two other unrelated transportation master plan amendments. P&Z commissioners cast one vote in favor of all three items last week. The city’s agenda refers to FM 110 as “Loop 110,” while the P&Z agenda refers to it as “CR 110.”
Moyer said the city could have utilized a “much more transparent” and “inclusive” planning process.
“I feel awful for all these people who are out here at 9:30 at night, who just heard about this,” Councilmember Kim Porterfield said. “Their lives have been disrupted, really, because of a poor communication on our part. And so, I want to apologize.”
Conley represents the residents on McCarty Lane who live west its intersection with Hunter Road. Conley is the Hays County Commissioners Court’s representative on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), which distributes millions of dollars in federal and state dollars each year. CAMPO has no funds this year for FM 110, and projects no available money in future years for the project.
Said Conley, “Even if the city — which, I know the city won’t do it — but if the city were to change your master plan and align that state highway on McCarty — as you well know, mayor, that would have to be amended at the MPO, which would be blocked by Hays County. So there are several checks and balances in our system.”
Mayor Susan Narvaiz represents the City of San Marcos on CAMPO.
Hays County Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe (D-San Marcos), who represents the McCarty Lane residents on the other side of Hunter Road, was not present at the city council meeting.Email | Print