The San Marcos Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday deadlocked 4-4 on whether to approve a planned development district for San Antonio developer Darren Casey’s proposed upscale apartment and retail project on Sessom Drive. P&Z commissioners weighed in before voting.
“This has been obviously a very contentious project from the very beginning. It’s kind of sad, some of the personal attacks that have gone on. That’s not good for this town. The reason I (made the motion to approve) is, I don’t want to see this postponed. The developers have all the rights to pull this and get more time, work with people, do this, do that. But I don’t think it’s going to change anything. So there needs to be an up or down vote, because tomorrow night they get to do all this again.”
“I’m a little concerned about this last report from the San Marcos River Foundation’s engineer. Based on that report alone, makes me believe that this project could be detrimental to the river. I know that in the public hearing phase the developer’s representatives said that they do not agree with that report and that they will be refuting it in their own way, I guess. However, I’m expected to vote tonight without having that information. I’m uncomfortable with that.”
“The whole thing about protecting the river from the runoff and the environmental impact, it’s all much more complex than I can understand it — especially because it seems like it’s changed every time I hear about what the plan is to keep sediments and other pollutants from the creek, which runs right into the river. … It seems very complicated to me and I’ll admit that I don’t quite understand all the details of it, but I don’t really think that anyone does at this point. And so I just don’t trust it; I don’t trust that it’s going to work.”
“I’ve got mixed feelings because I love this project… Up until three weeks ago, this was single family. And now, three weeks later, the city council is going to vote and potentially change this. And to me, that just seems too quick. I know this is a whole ‘nother issue, but I’d like the city council to address — people get a letter and a week later we vote on it, it goes to council, and something that’s been a house for 50 years is now a business… This is the best project I’ve ever voted against.”
“I hope you all recognize that this vote has not been easy for any of us. I hope you recognize that it doesn’t really matter what direction we take tonight — it goes to city council tomorrow night and requires a supermajority. … The demand really appears to be for multi-family. The issues are where to put it, where it’s going to go. I think these are just things that this commission and citizens, that we’re all going to have to work together on as we go forward. I don’t think this is going to get any easier. It’s going to take a concerted effort by all of us to make his work for everybody.”
“As our illustrious chair reminded, we need to vote with our conscience. And my conscience here (warns me about) the environmental impact. I did my masters thesis on the San Marcos River. I’ve done extensive work up in that watershed. And I don’t think there’s anyway that this could survive construction and after construction without having significant negative impacts to the headwaters of the San Marcos River. That’s my main issue.”
“If it was my property, I would like to see it turned into a big park. But that’s not going to happen. It just boils down to the lesser of two evils. My main concerns are traffic flow, flow of pedestrians, environmental impact (on) the river, potential geological issues. All of those are definitely issues of concern…but I would much rather see this project go down for San Marcos than something else.”