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Click to download the revised concept plan for Darren Casey's proposed apartment and retail complex on Sessom Drive.


A skirmish in the ongoing conflict over an apartment and retail complex proposed in San Marcos was resolved Tuesday night in favor of San Antonio developer Darren Casey, who wanted to build a $63 million high-end mixed use project across Sessom Drive from Texas State University.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, which deadlocked on the issue in December, voted 5-2 to recommend the rezoning from single-family homes after about two hours of impassioned arguments from supporters and opponents of the project. The city’s planning department has also recommended the rezoning.

The revised planned development district includes what amounts to, according to the developer’s representative, concessions to neighborhood and environmental concerns including moving the building closer to the street and farther away from the bank of Sessom Creek; building rainwater detention under the parking garage instead of next to dedicated parkland; and reducing the project footprint to 50.2 percent of the land, the same as would be permitted if the land remained zoned single-family residential. About 4.5 acres of the 14.3 acre project would be given to the city for use as parkland.

Seeking to capitalize on concerns that the university is not subject to city environmental and land use oversight — authority the university has utilized with little restraint in past decades — backers of the Casey project have argued that Texas State could buy up the land and build a high-rise dormitory instead of the four- and five-floor plan that Casey is proposing.

“I struggle with the fact that it is right across the street from the university and I do not believe it’s going to develop out as single-family dwellings. I think it’s probably going to be some sort of dense housing,” said Bill Taylor, the commission chair.

Taylor was joined in voting for the planned development district by Bucky Couch, Kenneth Ehlers, Chris Wood and Randy Bryan, the last of whom previously voted against the project. Commissioners Travis Kelsey and Curtis Seebeck opposed the re-zoning.

A third ‘no’ vote, that of Sherwood Bishop was lost when Bishop’s commission term ended Dec. 31; his replacement, Corey Carothers, was unexpectedly absent from Tuesday’s meeting because his child was in the hospital.

Opponents of the project say it will create a dangerous traffic situation on Sessom Drive, needlessly destroy wildlife habitat, pollute the San Marcos River and lower the standard of living of nearby single family households, among other concerns.

“There’s no way that during construction and even after construction that it can’t have a negative impact on the headwaters of the San Marcos River,” Kelsey said. “I think it’s a great project. It’s just in the wrong location.”

Part of the discussion on Tuesday centered around dueling engineers’ reports. One, commissioned by the San Marcos River Foundation and drafted by Austin-based engineer Lauren Ross, concluded construction would send sediment down Sessom Creek to the San Marcos River and probably introduce pollutants such as nitrogen, lead and petroleum products from asphalt runoff. A rebuttal by San Marcos-based engineer, Steve Ramsey, who works for Casey, said Ross “claims … that Sessom Creek will experience severe impacts as a result of this specific project appear to be unfounded and exaggerated.”

To make sense of the conflicting conclusions, commissioners turned to the city’s engineer, Linda Huff, who answered yes when asked if the project could be built without damaging the river.

When the project comes before the San Marcos City Council next week, it presumably will need six of seven votes to pass. Opponents of the project gathered signatures from owners of slightly more than 20 percent of property that falls within 200 feet of the Casey project perimeter. This invokes an element of city law that requires a supermajority on council for approval.

Whatever the eventual fate of the Casey project, Couch said the caliber of the proposal is a good sign for San Marcos’ aspiration for high-quality development.

“I believe whether this project is approved or not, I think that we’re on the cusp of raising the bar of what a quality development should look like and what we would expect from someone who wants to come in and do a development of this size,” Couch said.

The conflict over Casey’s proposed development is itself just one skirmish in San Marcos’ ongoing residential identity crisis. Almost 4,000 multi-family residential bedrooms are under construction in San Marcos, according to a document city staff provided to the planning commission on Tuesday. An estimated 22,458 multi-family bedrooms already exist.

The strife in the past year between proponents of apartment construction near single family neighborhoods and some residents of those neighborhoods led San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero last spring to suggest the council consider the pros and cons of a moratorium on multi-family development in the city. Guerrero had just cast one of the losing votes against rezoning for the Retreat at San Marcos, a 780-bed student housing project under construction just west of Casey’s proposed project.

San Marcos resident Dianne Wassenich said she has hundreds of signatures on a petition to request such a moratorium on multi-family development in the city. She hopes to have thousands by the time Casey’s project is up for a vote at the Jan. 17 city council meeting.


» Original environmental assessment by Horizon Environmental Services [pdf]

» San Marcos River Foundation’s engineer report [pdf]

» Ramsey Engineering rebuttal to River Foundation report [pdf] Email Email | Print Print


60 thoughts on “P&Z approves Casey’s Sessom Drive development, 5-2

  1. Wow. I can’t believe this got approval. I have to say that I don’t think the council will pass it though. I am all for this sort of development in the city but that location is preposterous. I wish the residents of the Canyon the best of luck in their battle.

    On another matter…Really, a moratorium on multi-family housing is a ridiculous proposition. The demand is there and the space is needed so why not build in sensible locations? For those of you who in your head are saying, “why doesn’t Texas State just build more housing for it’s students?,” think about where the university would choose to put them and how much more of your precious neighborhoods would be lost, and off the tax rolls might I add.

  2. I’m under the impression that we’ve had such a moratorium before, although I haven’t seen the specifics. The supposed “glut” of of multi-family units may be a consequence, as well as a reaction to a potential future moratorium (everyone wants to get their project planned and built while they can)

  3. Let’s hope Linda Huff is right in her assessment that the project can be built without damaging the river. There’s a lot riding on that call.

  4. Tarl,

    I was at the meeting last night when Ms. Huff answer the question “In your professional opinion, can this project be built safely (with regards to the river)?”

    Her initial response was to explain to the board that she would be consulting with other, more experienced engineers to evaluate the mitigation technology, and working with them to perfect it because – in HER words – she did not have the experience. After a few minutes, she was asked *again* to give her professional opinion, and only then did she answer “Yes”.

    Now, if she needs to (correctly) consult with a more experienced colleague to plan the system, how is she *at all* qualified to give that response on the developers’ current plan? She also continually asked another town engineer if she was explaining things correctly during her answer. I’m not convinced.

    As for the town staff member’s recommendation for the project, she *again* answered the boards’ questions regarding zoning without ANY maps. Yes, there is a zone of M24 property, but if she had shown the map (which I looked up today) the board would clearly see that it is at the eastern edge of the neighborhood – not in the middle, as she implied.

    There is always going to be an EDGE between the University and the private properties next to it. The town chooses how it will look. It is not inevitable that this area become an area in transition. (Her opinion was that it already is – I and others – disagree)

  5. I believe that this project can be built without harming the river. I actually think it will probably help keep the erosion that is currently happening up there from getting any worse. The slope side along the creek has been flowing away with the rain for years. I don’t think that the impact will be as damaging as some are leading others to believe. The apartments on N.LBJ probably cause more damage to the river than this project will.

  6. It will be so wonderful having idiots wandering out of the woods into our neighborhoods from this obomination of a project that DARIN CASEY, CARTER MORRIS, AND THE LAND OWNERS have proposed to defile this area with! Thank you to those that once again put greed before integrity, your place will no doubt be one that you may not enjoy, after your time on earth has expired! I will forever remember all, that for the sake of greed, are certainly destroying our beautiful city with the ultimate deadly sin, greed itself. Darin Casey is a strip miner of products that are used for the fracking industry, such a wonderful man, and so very considerate of environmental issues, according to him anyway. To all that oppose this travesty, please rise up, speak up, and show up at the City Council meeting on 1-17-2012, and see if your elected officials are listening to you, or to a group of rapists that will leave our city in ruin with their greed! If their ears are not listening, perhaps in November the voters will telegraph the message clearly! JLB

  7. I’d like to clarify my earlier comments about the city engineer. Last night, she specifically said that she wished to work with a third party geotechnical engineer to review plans and set up periodic inspections. This was the type of SPECIALIZED experience that she said she didn’t have, and is extremely pertinent to the questions raised at the meeting.

    I didn’t mean to imply that Ms. Huff isn’t in general a well qualified city engineer and I apologize to her because my comment did read that way. I’m very sorry.

    Still, she was asked to comment on a specialized aspect of engineering that she wanted help with, and I feel that therefore her answer of “Yes, it can be done safely” should be taken with a giant grain of salt – I’d like to hear from that 3rd party geotechnical engineer, instead.

  8. First let me say “the truth is always somewhere in the middle”

    Ok, let’s talk hypothetical; say some guy goes into a large national chain electronic store and buys a computer. In the next year he uses that computer to hack into other computers and commits multiple fractions of identity theft. Do you go after the computer salesman because someone he sold a computer to used it to commit theft? If a car salesman sales a car to a guy who goes out and drives drunk do we arrest or sue the car salesman? No, of course not. Can everyone leave Carter Morris alone. The guy has a job to do and is doing it. You are trying to blame a local businessman who is trying to make a living. He did the right thing, he recused himself from the vote. I for one am proud that we actually have someone who would recuse himself when most of our federal judges would not do the same.

    Now, let’s talk about the development. The standards of this development along with Paso Robles (Brookfield Properties/Carma)is much more higher and in depth than this town has ever seen. I am proud of the P&Z committee and the city council for making these developers do so much more than they are required to do by federal, state, county and city laws and ordinances. Any of you heard of the EPA? Well this passes their mustard. They have now set the standards for future developments and all of us are really pretty lucky for the steps our local officials have taken.

    I do feel sorry for the people in that neighborhood. If this was happening in my neighborhood, I am sure I would not like it. But, (here’s the kicker) this was and is going to happen. With the 36th largest university in the nation they need to have a place to put these kids. So why not also give them someplace to shop or have a cup of coffee right across the street in already vacant property? Face it people, if you live next to the university or even in Willow Creek, it really doesn’t matter, just the size of this university is going to impact you in some form or fashion. It will continue to grow and in turn we will have to grow or move.

    Last night one of the biggest concerns I heard was “somebody’s kid is going to get killed”. If you really believe this and want to do something about it ( instead of complain and offer no solutions) why don’t you have the university pay to have a sky-way (above ground over the street walk way) built? You know one of the walkways they have in several cities in the county that allow for pedestrians to have a walkway built above ground, going from the development to the college? I can’t be the only one who has thought about this. Where their is a will, their is a way.

  9. Money, money, money. This is the one and only reason the Casey project was given a positive recommendation by our city planners and P&Z. I’m truly saddened by what I saw last night. I’m amazed by their blatant disregard for our homes and river.

    Apparently, no neighborhood in San Marcos is safe and the river that we all treasure is in serious jeopardy. At what point will we stop being so short sighted? At what point will we stop allowing bank accounts to be more important than our natural resources? At what point will we finally and truly embrace the value of single family neighborhoods? At what point will we all finally slow down enough to realize the connection last night’s disasterous actions have to many of the societal ills we see on the news every day?

    Maybe our city is now one step closer to having the nicest and most modern apartment complex and retail space in the state. Maybe we’re one step closer to having more tax dollars in the bank. But I think our city has also lost a lot at the hands of five voting P&Z commissioners, one commissioner who recused himself but who was never more than one step behind it all, and a severely inexperienced planning staff most of whom are simply in San Marcos until a bigger and better job comes along.

    I remain hopeful our City Council will see its way clear to stopping this madness.

  10. Mr. Horton,

    The skyway was brought up several times, and the traffic engineers for Mr. Casey insist that studies show these are expensive and not used by the pedestrians. I haven’t had time to research this myself. There was also discussion of the difficulty of putting a skyway or overpass at this location due to the difference in the grade of the land between the development and the University.

    You are right about the standards being set higher than “they are required to be” but that does not negate the fact that they are not high enough for this site. Period. And that’s what the project should be based on . A “green” project that damages the river anyways and destroys a neighborhood is still a bad choice.

    As Curtis Seeback put it before he cast his NO vote: Great project, wrong place.

  11. Hey Taylor: I know you read this site, you commented on it last month after the last meeting. I believe you owe this town an explanation why you voted “yes” for this shift in use for a project that will dramatically change this part of town, but “no” for a project that was exponentially smaller in scope due to the potential — a very small one at that, I would say — that it would damage this very same neighborhood (well, assuming a five minute walk or so constitutes being in the same neighborhood). I would really like to see this logic in print if you could get around to commenting like you did before to praise this wonderfully democratic process (funny how the $$$ usually seems to win out in the end).

    In short, thank you for caring about so much about our well being and for holding sacrosanct the terms we believed were in place when we purchased our homes — you know, the zoning codes. Really, I thank you all who voted for this. You just voted to screw this neighborhood over, based upon the phantasm that TSU would someday buy it and build a Holiday Inn on top of a shopping center there…I suppose your logic was let’s beat them to the punch and build it before they even think about trying to do so…

  12. Mr. Horton, this would never happen in Willow Creek. Deed restrictions would prevent it. Or GreenPointe, (gated and deed restricted). Or Paso Robles, (gated and deed restricted) when built.

  13. About the Sessom Creek Project..Well, what to say? Being a native New Yorker, and now proud Texan, imagine my joy when I relocated to beautiful small town San Marcos. The Hill Country, a town square, green belts, ranch and farm-to-market roads, and….A RIVER!!
    Now, I’m a fisherman. Always have been, always will be. It is in my blood. When I got off the plane from New York 7 years ago, I went straight to the river, cast my line, and caught fish. Many fish. I thought I was in Utopia…Nirvana…Heaven!
    Fast forward 7 years; Developments..Road construction..runoff.. I can’t believe in that short a time span that the fishing on the upper San Marcos River has deteriorated to the point that I won’t bother to cast my line above Cumming’s Dam. The fish population, and size, has diminished. It was inevitable!
    How will Mr. Casey’s newest moneymaker come into play? I’ve read the River Foundation`s engineer’s report. It seems that perhaps most of our P&Z board did not. Thank You Travis and Curtis for doing your due diligence, and for taking the report to heart.
    I hope that those who care will be attending the Council meeting on January 17th. The San Marcos River needs your support!

  14. Whatever you think about this project — and I’m fer it — I think we can all agree that people should lay off the staff. It’s convenient to vent on people who are just doing their job as they are fit to do it. It is convenient but it isn’t right.

  15. Oh Sean,

    You present the Developers points well. The fear tactics that have been used in the past, that is “Texas State will buy and build on the land” is the greater of two evils argument, meanwhile the original name for the project was by Darren Casey is Texas State North Campus Student Housing. What the hell is that? The Casey team shortly changed the name. Are they trying to market to the university?
    Regarding the city engineer Linda Huff, who disregarded the real engineers recommendation because it wasn’t what she wanted to hear, why didn’t you do a reasonable job on the watershed engineering? Are you wrecking the river for all of us? Should we trust that you are doing due diligence on the engineering?
    What about the auto traffic and pedestrian traffic? I don’t see real changes there on the new revised much improved Casey plan. If students get killed crossing the poorly planned crossing, then it will be on the shoulders of the Planning and Zoning commission who voted for the project, and you might through in the City Planning dept who spoke for the project. Why is the city planning dept even coming out in support of the project? Shouldn’t they be neutral? Do they represent the best interests of the citizens of San Marcos or a few monied out-of-towners?
    Are they, the city planners, signing us up for more bond packages in the future when, if they performed with due diligence the engineering in the beginning of the project, we could get a real assessment of the costs of the infrastructure. This wouldn’t be an issue if we had stuck to the “Master Plan”. There is much more to say here, I could take my pick, but the reality is some commissioners were giving lip service to concerns with a smile just before they voted for the project. Thanks guys. I hope you remember your vote when some pedestrian gets hurt or we have horrible traffic on Sessoms. Thanks BILL TAYLOR, thanks BUCKY COUCH, Thanks KENNETH EHLERS, Thanks CHRIS WOOD, and Thanks RANDY BRYAN!
    You are helping to make a beautiful San Marcos!

  16. The staff make recommendations that are acted upon by the board. They are professionals too, and I feel it is fair to voice the opinion that they were inconsistent in their treatment of two very similar requests.

    Similar but for the fact that the one they recommended is worth umpteen million dollars to a few people. Nope, sorry – no pass.

    But really they are just a small part of the machine that is San Marcos politics. We can only hope the board strongly considers the remarks and votes of Travis and Curtis next Tuesday. THANK YOU BOTH.

  17. $$ My eys have seen the glory of the coming of the money. Synthetically just about anything can be made. Anything but land. $$

  18. I say thanks to Com. Seebeck and Kelsey- good project, wrong place.

    Also agree with T Ingrewson’s “At what point will we stop being so short sighted?” Don’t understand why our city can’t understand concept of a “Plan”

    And our city wonders “where has our middle class gone?” Somewhere where home investments are protected and the town isn’t held hostage by a university (the lesser of two evil arguments).

  19. It would nice to see a P&Z composed of San Martians such as Tari, Griffin, Keith, etc. Then quotes like:

    “I believe whether this project is approved or not, I think that we’re on the cusp of raising the bar of what a quality development should look like and what we would expect from someone who wants to come in and do a development of this size,” Couch said.

    would not be the norm!!

    Best Regards, LMC

  20. “Rapists” Mr. Breihan — that is some irresponsible rhetoric even for the comment section of a website. Everybody is all worked up, but it is okay to have a difference of opinion. The opponents are trying to use the government to stop property owners from developing in their backyard; some of the proponents are chasing profits — both are okay; neither side is evil. P&Z passed it on to elected officials who vote on things. It would have been rather anti-democratic for the unelected P&Z to deny the representatives the ultimate decision.

    Master plans come and go, and changes happen. If you want to protect your neighborhood, then enter a binding covenant with your neighbors and deed restrict.

  21. OK, so if right across the street from campus on an empty lot isn’t the “right place” for a development such as this, what would some of you naysayers say is the “right place”?

    Because to me it seems pretty logical to develop campus support next to, you know, the campus….

    Anyone who lives adjacent to campus needs to have the understanding that their lives WILL be impacted by the University. It’s the height of foolishness to assume anything else.

  22. Really call my family rapists Jaimy. Get real. And stop harassing my family with your unwanted telephone calls at all hours.

  23. Yes, Dano, change is inevitable. We will all be impacted, both by TSU and the growth of the I-35 corridor. Point well taken. It is also well within our rights as citizens of this community to try and get involved in the process of steering the direction this change proceeds because it impacts our lives. Some of us, actually the majority (tell me again who is sovereign in this nation?) judging from the involvement and outcry over the issue, believe this is not the place for such a large development, once again because we think it will negatively impact our lives, not because we are sticking our heads in the sands and trying to pretend that a giant college is not in our midst. I actually think the two can live side by side more or less harmoniously.

    To just be able throw the threat of TSU takeover of the property as a trump card on top of every other argument is unfair and undemocratic. Maybe the university will buy the land. Maybe they will put in a parking lot. Or maybe they will put in a classroom that will not have nearly the same impact as this project has. Maybe they will move down the hill from the University rather than move here.

    Judging by some of what I’ve heard here regarding TSU’s intentions, maybe they will keep moving, like a great tentacled beast all over town gobbling up property that us humble plebes have no means to protest, until they eventually seize the courthouse square and everything they want up to the very walls of the vaunted Outlet Mall (I’m assuming they have the resources to fight off the University, so I’m guessing the growth would stop at that point). In the process of all this expansion maybe TSU even constructs dorms up and down the river (now paved) and starts serving up blind salamander sandwiches with sides of Texas Wild Rice to the millions of kids that will eventually be here, at which point my humble abode will no doubt be an extension of the parking garage that is being planned and will cover most of the N. LBJ ridge.

    Or maybe we can come to some sort of consensus that allows the University and those it serves to live in semi-harmony with the people of this community and we say, make a better master plan (and then follow it, what a concept) and don’t put something here that might very well destroy this part of town. It is possible to accommodate both the school and the citizens of this community. What you call “naysaying” I call trying to exercise my civic right to have my voice be heard on a matter I feel impacts my community. Maybe then our grandkids will not look at this area in 50 years and see something resembling the monstrosity that Craddock/Sagewood is now and which this could be the first step in pushing that sort of growth here…is that what we want?

    The main point though is we don’t know what might happen and to use a future threat that no one even knows exists to justify this is kind of like saying my house might be set ablaze by an arsonist in the future so I’ll go ahead and do a controlled burn of most of it now so I can at least keep my storage shed intact. And to use such potentialities to stifle debate about the process and wield it as a tool to tell the rest of us to shut up and deal with it is incredibly undemocratic.

    And Horton, the logic of “well I wouldn’t like it in my neighborhood” but the rest of you just deal with it doesn’t seem to be thought through very well.

  24. Oh and I would also agree that “rapists” is probably not an appropriate word. And that if you work for the city you work for us so your decisions and work-related actions are more than fair game for criticism. If you don’t like it don’t work for the public.

  25. To all:
    In case you haven’t seen them, please read today’s very well written Guest Columns in the Record by Larry Mock and Patrick Duran, who attended the P and Z meetings and speak in opposition to this project.

    For Dano:
    I don’t believe we acted at the “height of foolishness” when we moved to San Marcos 5 years ago and purchased a home near TX State. We checked out the zoning, we considered the traffic, and we decided that proximity to work, downtown, the River, and the amenities of the University far out weighed any negatives. Our lives are impacted on a daily basis by the rhythms of the college, and that is just fine by us.

    HOWEVER: We expected (and now, hope) that our single family neighborhood will remain just that. The Master Plan of our town indicated that it would for the foreseeable future. I’m unnerved to witness how the staff and 5 planning board members who recommend this project ignore that Master Plan, along with many citizen’s well researched comments and professional opinions, to cater to a developer. I hope that we didn’t make an unwise decision to live in San Marcos, one that we’ll regret later.

    I’ve lived in university towns, in three states, for the majority of my life. If I have to live in a town, believe me, my preference is a university town. But I’ve seen that is NOT a given that neighborhoods near a campus will turn into apartments. I am not against students, apartments, or development, but this is simply the wrong project for this location, for many, many reasons.

    An argument brought up time and again by one board member is that “eventually the University will take over this land, better Casey than them.” How irrelevant and defeatist! Deal with the Casey issue today, on it’s own merits – then, IF the University expresses an interest in the property, face that issue. It’s like saying “Well, I’m destined to die someday – I’ll just walk out in front of a bus tomorrow and get it over with on my own terms.” Ridiculous, isn’t it??

  26. My understanding, from the university master plan (which they actually follow – how novel), is that they are growing up, not out. If I recall correctly, this is because of complaints from students and/or faculty, that the campus is too big to get around already.

    Where campus support should go is a different question, but IMO, the university itself taking over more and more land is not “the greater of two evils,” it is a straw man.

  27. @ Shane- Your venomous lies will certainly be your downfall, I have NEVER CALLED YOUR FAMILY AT ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT< OR EVEN AT NIGHT PERIOD!!!!! I called your mother one time on 12-15-2012, and one time only, as a friend, neighbor, and decent human being and explained that we simply have a different plan for land use in our neighborhood, and expressed my deepest concerns for your familys wellfare, etc! Apparently you are being coached by the Casey/ Morris team who have from the beginning have been spreading outright lies about those that oppose this project! This insolent, destructive behavior will have a very large spotlight ( 10,000,000 watt perhaps) upon it, and we will ascertain the sources of slanderous comments like yours, and seek complete accountability of those that choose to defy the teachings of christian ideals in general, specifically those that would be known as " BOLD FACED LIARS" Shane, I recommend that you get down on your knees and ask God to forgive you for your pathetic attempt to slander me! Plain and simple, I have made all attempts ( Only on three occasions have I contacted your family:The late morning of 11-23-2011 by phone and on your fathers porch with your father, and 12-15-2011 just after lunch by phone with your mother) to be a decent friend and neighbor! PS- I never named anyone as being a land rapist specifically, only generally to those that choose to be so known, by their actions!

  28. I wonder if Casey has considered swapping the locations of his I-35 apartment development and the planned sessom development. It actually seems like that would be more logical and ideal.

  29. I appologize to all who find my words offensive, however, sometimes a man must call it how it is ! I will try , hard as it is , to constrain my outrage with the whole ” DESTROY SAN MARCOS FOR THE SAKE OF GREED CROWD” See you all at city hall 1-17-2012, hot dogs as usual in the parking lot for the good San Martian troopers 😉 Peace, Power, and Strength in Numbers !!!!

  30. One more thing, if anyone has some old, un-needed cheerleading outfits, our Planning department needs several, from the top to the bottom, so they can be visually seen as what they have chosen to be, taxpayer funded cheerleaders for any developer that walks in with a handful of cash to develop/ destroy our beautiful city of San Marcos! 🙂

  31. @jaimy….. First you said you called only once, then later you stated 2 different occasions you called. So you have called more than once? I am not being coached, nor need to be coached by anyone. I speak on MY own accord with MY opinions.. And to bring religion into this..This has nothing to do with religion at all. Do not judge people unless you expect to be judged as well. I find your comments far more slanderous than mine.

  32. Jamar,
    That is a great question! I personally asked Mr. Casey and his group, on Tuesday night outside the council building, why they didn’t build this project over at Springtown. Logical place, right? Walking distance to the Stadium, to HEB and Walgreens; near proposed bike paths; on bus lines; abundant parking, easy access to I35; needed urban infill, etc.

    The responses (after the groups’ guffaws died down):

    “The property is too expensive.” (by a minion, no clue who)

    “Ha! The students will never walk, it’s too far to campus.” (from his traffic engineer, who ridiculously maintains this project will reduce auto traffic around the University)

    And my personal favorite:

    “Well, I just might do that AS WELL!” from Mr. Casey himself, as he looked down his nose at me with a smug smile on his face.

    Does that answer your question, Jamar? These folks have no intention of doing what is right for San Marcos; they are in it for the $$$$.

  33. cori,

    He is most likely right. The cost would be too expensive. They would have to buy property, then tear everything down. Dealing with an old building such as Springtown could cost a BUNCH of money in demolition/possible asbestos abatement, etc. If the price was right on that piece of property, someone would have bought it by now. And yes, they are in it for the $$$. What business isn’t?

  34. Cori, years ago when I dealt with Mr. Casey on the Concho Commons my experience with him and his minions was the same as yours. However there may be hope here. Conch Commons has been approved in some form for more than 10 years now, and except for tearing down the buildings that were on that were there, nothing has happened. Assuming this thing gets past City Council, which I hope it doesn’t, it may be a while before anything happens on Sessums.

  35. @ Shane, A total of two phone calls, during daytime hours, one personal visit around high noon. Yes, judgement is for God to mete out, however, admonishment of your fellow man who is living and speaking in error is not judgement! I have no idea what God will do with those creatures that CHOOSE to be incompatible with the rest of creation, I only know that there will be harvesting, and that the chafe will be seperated from the good grain, and burned in the burn pit. I will pray for you, and perhaps, God will touch your soul and help remove the blindness from it! Peace to you Shane, I have no interest in debating a lieing idiot here forward, so leave me out of your web of deceit, please! For the rest of humanity, I hope the truth is very clear to you, in that I have no financial interests in this issue, and that my motivations are simply to preserve something that is truly deserving of being protected! jlb:-)

  36. @ Skeptical??? Yes, rapist was a strong word to use, however, after the lies and devious behavior of those that I and many others oppose, quite appropriate in my opinion, especially since it was used generally and not specifically! I, like all human creatures am imperfect, and have made countless mistakes in my lifetime, this is certain. From that multitude of mistakes, I have also learned many lessons, and there will be many more to come no doubt! Yes, I think it is a good thing to admonish the source of lies and treachery, when I, my friends and neighbors, and countless other citizens of San Marcos are forced to endure the consequences of said evil in our midst. So Mr Skeptical, I sense that I know who you are, and I hold no contempt for you, but wish you the best, and respect your right to your OPINIONS. Peace, JLB 🙂

  37. As in all organizations, there are workers and bosses. Linda Huff is the Director of Capital Improvements and reports to Laurie Moyer. Let’s hear from Laurie on her 20+ years of city service expertise on the engineering issues.

  38. Update on Concho Commons. I drove up there just now,I had not done that for a while. The Concho Commons sign is gone, and has been replaced by a sign offering to lease the land. As for the much fought over Buie Tract, they are back to running cattle on that property, not that I mind that. I suspect we maybe heading into one heck of an apartment gulut in this town, or should I say apartment bubble. We all now know what happens when a real estate bubble bursts. City Council needs to keep this in mind as they listen to Mr. Casey’s promises next week.

  39. “And to bring religion into this..This has nothing to do with religion at all.”

    Maybe if we all thought and acted more religiously in all aspects of life, rather than seperate our decisions from our “spritual” being, we would have fewer disagreements on when the devil was in the room.

  40. Yes, i looked at blueprints on the Concho Commons over two years ago I believe. And yes, Mr Casey, according to our Mayor Daniel Guerrero, said when asked if the EMS, on the now Casey owned ” Old hospital property” between Thorpe Lane and IH-35, would need to be relocated,Mr. Casey replied ” There is an apartment glut in this town and we have no intention of developing this property anytime soon. I asked Carter Morris about this at the developer meeting at Dunbar, and Carter quickly denied the fact. I again asked our Mayor at a meet and greet the next day at city hall, and he re-confirmed Mr. Caseys remarks. SO , good people of San Marcos, I have serious doubts if more apartments are even needed in San Marcos, and with absolute certainty know that the Sessom creek area is the worst place that they could be placed, even if a need existed for more off-campus student housing, period! Be Happy, JLB:-)

  41. Jaimy, you are just being mean and rude. Ever hear of constructive communication. You are not helping your case while sounding like you are just spewing venom.

    Ben, thank you, I couldn’t have said it better.

  42. Mr. Seebeck,

    I don’t deny that the Springtown property isn’t expensive to develop. My point is, that they are businessmen, and that despite all their fine talk of bringing “the best” to San Marcos and “improving” the city, in the end $$$ is what matters to them. Nothing wrong with that, but we must NEVER forget it. Common sense and the community’e needs do not factor into their thinking.

    I, however, live here. Money is NOT my bottom line on this issue, and now the job of the Council is to protect the interests of SAN MARCOS. Mr. Casey’s business needs should be of a very low priority.

    Mr. Casey has already NOT DELIVERED on Concho Commons. He’s already said more apartments are NOT NEEDED in San Marcos in reference to his other property. Why are we even considering this project???

  43. Correction: my first sesntence above should read “I don’t deny that the Springtown property IS expensive to develop.”

  44. Wait a moment !!!
    what about my rights !!
    I own my property,I pay the TAXES
    And y’all want to tell me who I can sell to and what we can do with it
    Who all wants to pitch in on my taxes for the last 8 years,everybody wants to bitch it’s free.. it didn’t cost you a cent !!!
    SAN MARCOS is growing,it’s a college town get over it !!!

  45. I have heard that Concho Commons is in the permitting stage. Not sure how reliable that info is, though.

  46. Oh, BEN, Liars do have everything to do with religion, especially when those lies are said in public, sorry , I respectfully disagree, and reserve the right to call out a liar when confronted by him, or her! Enough of that now, hopefully. JLB 🙂

  47. R McMullin- yes, and your taxes will increase as developers are allowed to destroy the ecosystem, watersheds, etc. Check out what Austin is being mandated to do now to repair the damages of past DUMB developements, mandated by the federal government, etc. It is a college town, get over it? Nice try, but not here, not now, not ever! Destroying a beautiful town and river for the sake of profit is not the acceptable answer. JLB 🙂

  48. TO: Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Kim Porterfield, Jude Prather, John Thomaides, Wayne Becak, Ryan Thomason, and Shane Scott.
    Please make the best decision for all of San Marcos. Think about your home and where you live and what you like about that and then think about whether you want this development down the block from you. I would suspect the answer would be no. Also consider your own goals for the city for this year.

    This development will negatively impact the San Marcos River (our greatest natural resource). This development will negatively impact the middle class. We already have so many apartments that negatively impact our single family neighborhoods, we don’t need more. We already have so much traffic and so as another of your goals, the infrastructure to support this “destination” development is available in the city, just not at this location. This certainly is not a customer friendly development since it will serve big city developers and temporary student residents, not the long-term residents who are against this development.

    The only goal that this does support is perhaps sound finances, but even then it is a short-term gain. And the people that continue to live in San Marcos will have a nice modern building now, but what about maintenance. No apartment in San Marcos looks as good now as it does on opening day. At one time, Springtown Mall, Shalamar Apartments and the Ramada Inn all looked spiffy, clean and inviting. Now what – empty, rundown, and not well maintained. That is the legacy we would be creating for our children and the future residents of San Marcos.

    Let’s think about the San Marcos we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. DREAM SAN MARCOS. Let’s choose quality of life over money. Let’s choose quality of our children’s lives over money. Let’s choose the River over money. Please make the right decision for the future of San Marcos and vote against this project.

  49. Jaimy
    Where were you when your friend Brad Bowles sold this..You want to decide what happens to my
    property,If Casey doesn’t buy this Texas State will and try stopping them! At least now the City will have some control.And sure Mary no more development???The University is not shrinking if you haven’t noticed…This is called Tax base so our kids won’t be over taxed and can’t afford to live here….The University buys and they will pay NO taxes !!

  50. @ R McMullin- After Dr Bowles passed, the property was quickly sold before I even reralized it. And as for the infamous” The big bad university argument” that has been completely dispelled! Even if DC bought it and gave it to the university, I believe in my heart that they would do the right thing and leave it just as it is, and preserve it, perhaps use the existing structures as they are. Sure sounds like you have an interest in this, or maybe down the street as they use this cornerstone to wipe out the entire Alamo street area, and then Holland street, and then hillcrest, and then Ridgeway, and then……. So ,my friend, the line in the sand remains, Sessom Dr. should not be crossed for the sake of greed . I am resolute in this, for the better of our community!

  51. Dear RMcMullin:

    You eloquently wrote: “I own my property,I pay the TAXES And y’all want to tell me who I can sell to and what we can do with it”…

    Yes, we do, to an extent (and actually NO ONE it telling you who you can sell to, just what they can build there after it it sold — this is a HUGE difference you seem to not quite have grasped). These rules are called zoning regulations. I’ll try to break the concept down for you.

    I, too, own my house and pay taxes in this growing university town. Indeed, I feel my taxes are too high and am struggling to pay them at this very moment. This is totally a separate issue, but I bring it up here to make a point for those such as yourself who would like to bring up the private property issue as a trump card.

    So here goes: In light of my lack of funding issues due to our high taxes because of the inexorable up-creep of our appraised home value (another issue as well) I could very much see it being pragmatic on my part to turn my home investment into a capital resource and make some money from it instead of just raising my family here. Seeing how the smut industry is pretty much recession proof I have come up with the grand idea of turning my house in a strip club. I will also put a shooting range out back and sell cheap beer and Thunderbird Wine. I believe this is a surefire way of making some money, right?

    Now, my neighbors might have a problem with this, as it might very well degrade their own homes and the their domestic lives…but, screw em, says I. I own my property, I pay the TAXES and y’all want to tell me what I can do with it.

    Hopefully you see the problem with this sort of thinking now? If you want to make an argument for the dissolution of all zoning laws and pure free market economics, have at it. I’m guessing the price of the chaos that would therefore ensue might be not worth the liberty you gain to do whatever you want, whenever you want, no matter whomever it impacts however (well, unless you have the biggest gun, I suppose). Me, I’ll take the necessary evil of some restriction on our freedom over the chaos of anarchy and accept without a fight that the city of San Marcos has the right to restrict my showgirl honky-tonk gun range bit of genius. Crap…

    In closing, you might just consider that what you call bitching (but I’m betting you would not label it such if one of your neighbors wanted to put in something next door to you which you thought would greatly harm your home), some of us see as trying to stand up for our own rights which matter just as much as yours do. And that maybe, just maybe, we are justified in doing so. Funny thing about rights. We sure like them when they benefit us, but they are seen as a burden when someone stands up against us. Maybe everyone ought to go and reread their John Locke…

  52. Dear RMcMullin,

    Two points:

    1) This property is zoned single family. Therefore, you knew what the restrictions were. Rezoning does affect the surrounding neighborhood and those who bought knowing about the current zoning.
    2) The city is lacking in single family housing. How do you think your proposal will make this issue better?

  53. Also, does anyone have a definitive answer on the access points into this development? Keep hearing Sessoms at Comanche. However, looks like other accesses are being designed like Orchard. Has the city/developer released any impact studies on traffic flow thru the Alamo and Chestnut neighborhoods?

  54. Yesterday the town Council held an agenda workshop in preparation for Tuesday meeting and vote. These workshops are open to the public, BTW. I chanced into the tail end of it while dropping off a letters of protest. I’ll put the video link at the end here, or you can go the Council web page at the san marcos city web site. Click on Video and you’ll find videos from many Council and P& Z meetings.

    Anyone going to, or planning to speak at, Tuesday’s meeting should watch this carefully. The Planning department and city manager have brought in two outside engineers to answer questions regarding water issues. The town staff, particularly Mr. Lewis, discuss many “safeguards” being written into the PDD regarding monitoring, water quality, permeable paving etc. that I haven’t heard at previous meetings.

    Traffic – car and pedestrian – is discussed at length. Mr. Sabas Avila is my new hero! The Assistant Director of Public Services, Transportation , he sugarcoats *nothing* and lays it on the line about the overloaded intersection at Aquarena and Sessom. He also pretty much says that the developers plan for that intersection was long ago considered and discarded by our traffic engineers as not worth doing, and possibly even dangerous.

    Pay careful attention to the discussion about pedestrian crossings: a HAWK system is proposed for near the project and then later, even for Aquarena and Sessom. It involves pedestrians basically stopping traffic when they wish to cross, with a button.. Can you imagine the chaos? It’s almost high comedy to consider – if it weren’t such a potential disaster.

    I think, though, that the most important info may be when Mr. Lewis is speaking (tall, bald, glasses) from the planning department. He presents a LOT of changes to the PDD and the plan that I hadn’t heard before. Some of these you’ll want to be prepared for.

    Here’s the link. Start at minute 24 and look for the traffic discussion from 50 to 56 minutes in. Enjoy!

  55. wow, does the city council represent the university or the city. its disgusting too see what our city has done for the citizens and what it has done for the university.

  56. Mr. Cunningham, first I have a first name; it’s Bill. Secondly, I’d be happy to discuss the difference between the Holland Street properties and the Casey project with you. My office number is 512-396-2211.

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