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

Downtown SmartCode area. IMAGE via CITY OF SAN MARCOS


The City of San Marcos will hold the first of a series of public meetings to discuss adding architectural standards to the downtown development code on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and from 7-8 p.m. at the Dunbar Community Center, 801 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

The city council approved the Downtown “SmartCode” in April with an additional provision to develop architectural standards for the code within a year. The code establishes development rules specifically for downtown San Marcos that are based on building form rather than uses.

“We are developing the architectural standards to preserve and enhance the integrity of historic Downtown,” said Matthew Lewis, director of Development Services. “This process comes in response to the community’s desire for extra protections for this unique area of our city.”

Winter & Company, a planning and design firm recommended by the City’s Historic Preservation Commission, will serve as the consultant on the project and will attend the session.

City planners are seeking public comments on what the existing code allows and what elements should be modified. The architectural standards will affect aspects such as signage, building materials, and design elements.

Participants will also be asked to recommend a geographic area where the standards should be applied. The architectural standards will govern new construction, signage and exterior renovation, including awnings and windows.

The SmartCode encourages a mixture of compatible uses in a walkable, compact environment. Like other “form-based” codes, it folds zoning, subdivision rules, urban design and architectural standards into one document that emphasizes the form of the development rather than the buildings’ uses.

Five meetings will be scheduled between now and April 2012. The resulting public feedback and draft standards will go before the city council for final approval in spring 2012.

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