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


Despite heightened unease about the number of apartments being built, the San Marcos City Council on Tuesday was cool toward the idea of a temporary moratorium being pushed by a residents’ petition.

Instead, council members said they would look for ways to encourage redevelopment of older, deteriorating multi-family properties within walking or biking distance of Texas State University by forgiving property taxes. City staff identified 28 apartment complexes — some of them nearing 40 years old — within a mile of the university campus that potentially could be eligible for redevelopment under the program, a radius that includes dilapidated eyesores such as Sagewood and Bracewood circles.

“The incentives have to make sense and they have to not give more away than you’re eventually going to take in” in property tax revenue, council member Wayne Becak said. “But I like very much the idea of trying to get rid of some of the apartments that are just junk falling apart.”

They hope such a program will ease market pressure to rezone single-family neighborhoods for multi-family use, a practice that has infuriated homeowners who fear the decline of property values and disturbances associated with college-age neighbors. Nearly 2,200 people have signed a petition calling on the council to impose a moratorium on such rezonings until a long-anticipated update of the city’s masterplan is completed.

The masterplan was adopted in 1997 for a community that looks significantly different from the one that exists today — or the one envisioned by residents when they crafted the plan nearly 15 years ago. When the university completed its water supply master plan in 1998, it anticipated an enrollment of 23,000 in 2010; this year, that number was closer to 34,000 and is expected to jump to somewhere in range of 36,000 this fall.

“I want to be clear that we’re not talking about a moratorium on all development. It would be a moratorium on a specific type of development that requires zoning change,” said council member John Thomaides, who was alone among his colleague in arguing in support of the measure. “I always hear the term ‘certainty’ in business, that businesses need certainty about the rules are going to be. Well, I think property owners need certainty as well.”

Council member Ryan Thomason pointed out that the council has considered only three proposals in the last five years to rezone single-family tracts of land for apartment complexes and one of those failed to secure a council majority.

The one that failed was Darren Casey’s proposed luxury apartment and retail complex on Sessom Drive near Sessom Creek, a project that drew unprecedented opposition and ignited the public outcry for moratorium. In that case, Casey has proposed instead a single-family development of 52 lots on 14.2 acres which some opponents fear will be far worse for neighbors than the original project.

“While, politically, there would be nothing better than to never have to consider another apartment complex, what would we do in a scenario where somebody went with their Plan B and Plan B was ten times worse? That’s the scary part to me knowing how the system works,” Thomason said. “What do you do about that scenario where its, like, ‘Hey, do you want a stick in the eye? No? Well how ’bout two sticks in the eye?'”

Several council members said handing down a moratorium, no matter how narrowly tailored, would reinforce what real estate interests see as the city’s image to outsiders as unfriendly to investment and suggested it would endanger a decade of effort aimed at attracting high-quality development. That perception may well have been born in the 1980s when the council imposed a series of five temporary apartment moratoriums during a three-year period.

“The challenge is that it gives the impression of not welcoming development, whether its single family, multi family, commercial. So there’s some philosophical risks that you take with it, Mayor Daniel Guerrero said.

Although “multi-family” seems to have become code in many circles for “college students,” Thomason and others have pointed out that the rush to build apartments is not unique to San Marcos and other college towns. Still recovering from the housing market collapse of 2008, banks are loathe to loan money for single-famliy projects and even people who can afford to buy a home are increasingly inclined to rent instead.

“i know alot of qualified homebuyers selling their house and moving into multi-family because thats just their choice. For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, it’s just reality,” said Thomason, who is a homebuilder.

San Marcos had a 94 percent occupancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the research firm Austin Investor Interests, and that number stood at 99 percent for student-oriented apartment complexes.

With a majority of council members saying they like the idea of redevelopment incentives, city staff is now cleared to start assembling the nuts and bolts of such a program.

CORRECTION: This story originally said there were eight moratoriums on multi-family housing during the 1980s. There were five between 1984 and 1986.


» Map: Apartments within a mile of Texas State [pdf] Email Email | Print Print


78 thoughts on “Council declines apartment moratorium in favor of redevelopment

  1. Would someone who was in San Marcos in the early 80’s mind explaining what actually happened? It seems odd that there would be 8 separate moratoriums on the same subject over just two years.

  2. So why redevelopment when the occupancy rates clearly shows that the apartments are in demand. As this university grows and more people choose to stay around after they graduate, woudln’t a moratorium result in a shortage of units, keeping current occupancy in mind that is?

  3. I knew our occupancy rates were high, but 94% is extraordinary. 99% in student oriented housing is unheard of. I want to say the national average for occupancy rate is around 80%.

    I would think that this statistic alone should go a long way toward quelling the use and cry against developing more apartments around town. This isn’t to say that we rubber stamp zoning variance requests, but it does make a moritorium on such requests seem a little unreasonable.

  4. Dano, When the Q4 numbers are run without Purgatory Creek, the occupancy rate is 96 percent. Apparently Purgatory Creek came online just before data was captured and it took a dip.

  5. I would say that the 94-96% occupancy rate indicates that apartments anywhere in town are successful, and therefore, apartments in existing, undeveloped, multifamily zoned property, would be successful. So, what compelling need is there to rezone single family property?

    I’d sure love to see Sagewood redeveloped into something compatible with the adjoining neighborhood that it has severely negatively impacted.

  6. Ted, I could argue that apartment sprawl instead of infill and redevelopment near the university and central business district taxes roads and other infrastructure. At first blush, it makes sense to me incentivize redevelopment if the cost of the foregone property taxes during the course of the abatement is justified by savings seen from not taxing overloaded transportation systems and the future revenue from the enhanced property value. I’m sure we’ll see some models along this line at some point.

    Griffin, the short answer apparently is that the city was having major sewer capacity problems. I have a detailing of the 1980s moratoriums prepared by cosm planning staff that I’ll post when I’m at my desk tomorrow

  7. If you want to wager on whether developers are buying residential property and getting it rezoned, because they are trying not to tax our roads and other infrastructure, I’ll lay $1,000 down right now.

    My money says they get the residential property cheaper, and the homeowners get to sell it at a premium. It’s a win-win, except if you’re the poor sap in a gorgeous 2500 square foot home, with three or four Sagehood duplexes on your property line, and a for sale sign out front for years now.

    Eff that guy, though. Know what I mean?

  8. Come plunk down $200k of your hard earned money for one of the houses overlooking that dump, then talk to me about outcomes.

  9. Ted, Did you buy your house before Sagewood was there? To me, part of what resonates popularly about the Sessom and Retreat opposition is that many of those people were there before and had an expectation that this property would stay single family. I’m not saying that it was a reasonable expectation in the current environment but that’s what they thought. I’m much less sympathetic when people bought knowing there was mf next door and didn’t like the way it turned out

  10. Sagewood doesn’t impact my home.

    Whether the people who were first impacted got the hell outta dodge, or are still here is immaterial, if you are talking about the outcome, which is significant damage to an established residential neighborhood. But yes, PLENTY of the people over here were here before Sagewood.

    I can’t count how many people have moved out, or decided not to buy here, because they are afraid their neighborhood will be next.

    Hell, one of our city council members reportedly moved to the outskirts of town, to a deed restricted neighborhood, to “get away from all of the rental properties.”

    There is value in protecting single family neighborhoods.

  11. I love the idea of tax abatement to remove eyesores from multi-family near the University, however I think this is something the city should have been pushing even before the public outcry and petition. I don’t see it as an alternative to a moratorium on rezoning single family, but rather a bone they threw out thinking that it would calm everyone down…it didn’t.

    Mathew Lewis and staff had a meeting with citizens at the LBJ museum to present to us how PZ works, what their vision is of San Marcos, and to reach out and ask for public in-put. He and staff did this on their own time, but the timing was bad falling just one day after council ignored the petition and ignored Thomaides call for a blend of moratorium and incentive to tear down and rebuild old apartments. What could have been a nice calm meeting and exchange of ideas turned hostile at times due to the fact that so many are so angry at the city right now. I could only sit in my seat and feel for Matthew and the staff, and feel for the passionate people who just couldn’t contain their feelings of being let down by the city. Yes for once I was speechless 😉

    I don’t believe for a minute that the current Casey project is worse than the North Campus project, it is preferable for the existing neighborhood, the environment, traffic etc… Many people, myself included, would like that canyon preserved and are working towards that end. We would love nothing better to have an opportunity to save at least one little piece of the skyline that makes San Marcos so unique, and protect Sessom Creek/the San Marcos River.

    At the time when Jude Prather suggested that maybe a super majority vote could be required for any rezoning in single family, I thought to myself “that’s not enough, if the city wants it they will get it despite the super majority” ~ after sitting through that meeting and watching the mayors negative reaction to any suggestions made by Thomaides for a blend or any sort of moratorium, Prather’s suggestion doesn’t seem so bad ~ yes my expectations of the city were LOWERED after Tuesday. If they are more worried about being perceived by developers as a city that’s hard to build in than they are in serving what their citizens want and their citizens best interests…..then what can you do…even after showing up to every PZ and CC meeting for the last 4 months with explanations, research, petition, maps, etc… then I don’t know what it will take for the CC to hear the citizens of San Marcos~ no more rezoning in single family and no more developments that will directly, negatively impact the river. Seems like a simple, reasonable request…..

  12. Melissa, You’re overplaying your hand. I realize you’re glowing with self righteousness but … really. Your anger does make your right it just makes you angry.

  13. I have marvelled over the years as people expect the city government to “save” pristine property sites in their natural state. Moratoriums and tough development regulations have been their tools of choice for decades in this city. Of course, it is always somone elses property that they demand the city regulate. It seems to be much easier (cheaper) to outlaw development of anothers property than own it yourself

    I wonder how many of them live in houses that were at one time pristine natural land sites who now contribute the stress on the river or traffic in the neighorhoods.

    I am reminded of a wise man who stated at a Council meeting the definition of a San Marcos environmentalist.

    “Someone who has already built their house.”

    If you don’t want the land built on, buy it and leave it pristing into eternity.

  14. Brad I think everyone who reads your words realizes that you have no professionalism. Self righteousness has not a thing to do with anything I do, but then you don’t know me so how would you know? I won’t even dignify the rest of your immature post by replying to it, just for the record wanted to say that your OPINION of my mindset couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Good day~

  15. How you read that as angry and overplaying her hand is beyond me.

    She favors tax abatements for redevelopment. She reluctantly favors the proposed supermajority requirement. She felt bad for city staff, who were caught in the crossfire, due to the unfortuate timing of their meeting. She prefers the current Casey project over the original proposal. She is disappointed in what she sees as the city placing how we are perceived by developers, over the quality of life and property values of homeowners. She doesn’t want any more single family property rezoned, but feels that there’s probably nothing more that can be done to stop it.

    Of all the volatile topics that have been on this site and the old one, and all of the comments on those topics, hers is one of the more level-headed sounding. No name calling. No conspiracy theories. No “follow the money” comments.

    She may be angry. I am sure many people are. Her post sounds fine to me.

  16. Ted I will respond to you 😉 I’m not angry, just disappointed. However I do understand why many in San Marcos are angry. My philosphy on this sort of thing comes from a famous quote from Buddha ~ “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.

    Thank you for bringing some levity into this “conversation”.

  17. Otis, I don’t care if it is built on; I just want what is built to make sense. Sometimes what makes sense involves rezoning. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    IMO, most of the rezoning requests I see, appear to be because single-family property owners (some of whom are leaving town, or already live elsewhere) want to get more money, and/or developers want to pay less money.

    That, and the occasional lament about how they “can’t sell it as single family,” but then the adjoining property owners find themselves with that very problem, when rezoning goes wrong. They can always move out, and rent the place to someone, or they may be lucky, and manage to sell to someone who “should have known better,” at which point, the problem ceases to exist, right?

  18. I didn’t mean that particular comment came across as angry or over reaching but that the movement Melissa Derrick helps lead is over reaching. I say that as an observation — not as a position statement — and I’m sure there are those who disagree 🙂

  19. If you look at the big picture (as opposed to just this discussion thread), “Not here. Not now. Not ever.” sounds a bit angry and over-reaching to me.

  20. I’m not aware of the movement, and I don’t know Melissa. I’m sure many readers are in the same boat.

  21. For the record I didn’t start the “movement” nor consider myself as helping to lead it. I showed up a refugee from the Retreat who saw another neighborhood being threatened, but this time with significant threat to the river as well. I have since become very close with those who began this movement, and we have worked together to present facts, along with ordinances, master plan promises etc.. that are being broken.

    Am I part of Protect San Marcos, yes I am, but as with any segment of the population we all have different personalities, and different ideas about how to try to promote what we feel is best for the city. Brad please try to keep your comments professional and to me as a person and not a me as a movement, b/c that is what I am ~ A person/mother who wants to take care of the river and the neighborhoods for her children and their children should they choose San Marcos as their home.

  22. By movement I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, he is referring to those of us who spread the petition around the city, and who have been speaking at every PZ and CC meeting for the last 4 months ~ some members of Protect San Marcos and some not.

  23. Oh.

    Never signed the petition. Never had anyone ask me to sign the petition. I guess I can now say I am aware of the movement, and that’s about it.

  24. Especially to an obvious pro-destructive developement, pro-screw your neighbor BRAD ROLLINS, maybe there is a valid reason to question destructive , greed driven developers, men and women, including the land owners that profit from the deals. WE DON’T WANT OUR NATURAL HABITAT AND EVIRONMENT FOREVER DESTROYED FOR THE SAKE OF TEMPORARY STUDENT HOUSING, PERIOD! I know 6 year olds that can clearly understand this, perhaps some in our midst never reach this level! The bottom line is clear that greed and self-centered ambitions will never be admirable attributes for humanity to aspire to, they will always end up just as they began, shallow and meaningless. Try to visualize the peoples that lived here 10 or 12 thousand years ago, and perhaps, those that may live here 10 or 12 thousand years into the future, try that for a new perspective in how you visualize the world around you. Just because the atomic bomb was released on humanity once, in no way means that it should be done again. Brad, my friend, plain and simple, your arguments,or opinions, hold just about as much water as a porcupine with a water baloon strapped to its back! Be prepared for the day when a moratorium on neighborhood destruction is not suggested, but demanded. A simple petion required ballot issue is forthcoming, if this insanity continues by a rubber stamp P& Z and the all too often deaf council that appointed them.Just have to work out the details now.Also, whomever dreamed up the city-wide SF-6 debacle should be run out of town on a rail,simply more realtor/ developer mandated greed, no doubt! See ya in the pictures guys and gals:-) jlb

  25. Mr. Faceless DANO, No anger, just steady, mature,thoughtful resolve by a multitude of concerned citizens to correct a wrong, plain and simple! Peace to you though, maybe someday you will decide to crawl out from underneath your proverbial rock, and show your face to the world, perhaps:-) jlb

  26. See what I mean? Many different personalty types are within any group, anytime you want to apologize to me Mr. Rollins for your out of line attack on my personality ~ I will accept it. I don’t hold grudges, but you made yourself look pretty bad here today as the Editor of this publication. Deflecting it after the fact as being directed at “the group” when you clearly addressed me, and also as an observation…not a position statement is grasping at straws to say the least.

  27. Jaimy I must say you are beginning to remind me of the late Charles O’Dell, may he rest in peace.

  28. Larry everyone’s passion for these issues presents in a different way, I’m just very happy we have so many and varied passionate people that see that there are some zoning, development and environmental concerns that need to be addressed in one way or another. Jaimy likes to temper the irons, others like to take pictures of poop and condoms flowing out of the sewers, others like to argue, others like to study the Master plan and the LDC, but everyone who is passionate is doing something good. Jaimy and his billboards helped to wake a sleeping San Marcos, and his passion for the issue has inspired others. Whether you like what he has to say or not, his passion is admirable.

  29. Larry, I did not know Mr. O’Dell, but I am half irish, and hopefully, your statement was a compliment to us both,as I did read some good things in the paper about him after his untimely death, may he rest peacefully!

  30. Sorry for the delay in posting this historical info on multi-family moratoria in San Marcos. This is from a memo written for council members:

    §  History of moratoria in San Marcos:
    The moratoria below are just those for multifamily development.  Other moratoria have been adopted and later removed for off-premise advertising signs, alcohol-related permits and development in the floodplain, however, they are not as numerous as moratoria for multifamily dwellings. 
    •    Ordinance 1984-41 – Moratorium on multifamily dwellings in planning units 1-4, 10 and 17, (Sessom/LBJ/Chestnut area) for all building projects of 20 units or more, limiting building permits on multifamily construction, declaring a building moratorium on all parcels not zoned in conformance with the Master Plan, suspending the building and site development permit process, and analyzing the regulation of density of residential construction.  Time period – 65 days.
    •    Ordinance 1984-46 – Moratorium on multifamily dwellings in planning units 1-4, 10 and 17, (Sessom/LBJ/Chestnut area) for all building projects of 20 units or more, limiting building permits on multifamily construction, declaring a building moratorium on all parcels not zoned in conformance with the Master Plan, suspending the building and site development permit process, and analyzing the regulation of density of residential construction.  Amended Ordinance 1984-41 to permit commercial construction in planning unit 17. Time period – 65 days
    •    Ordinance 1984-70 – Moratorium on multifamily dwellings in planning units 1-5, 52, 53, 18 and 32, limiting the number of LUE’s issued from remaining sewage treatment capacity; requiring compliance with the Master Plan Land Use Element; establishing a citizen committee.  Update after 50 days to Ordinance 1984-46. Time Period – until further action by Council.
    •    Ordinance 1984-99 – Moratorium on multifamily dwellings in planning units 1-5, 52, 53, 18 and 32, limiting the number of LUE’s issued from remaining sewage treatment capacity; requiring compliance with the Master Plan Land Use Element; establishing a citizen committee. Amending Ordinance 1984-70 to exempt single-family home builders and those needing sewage capacity for construction build-outs under existing building shells. Time Period – until further Council action
    •    Ordinance 1984-106 – Amending Ordinance 1984-70 to remove planning units 18 and 32, adding a new section to the ordinance to provide that subdivision plats, zoning changes and building permits for new development shall not be approved in new planning units 18 and 32 unless a prior determination is made by the Director of Public Works and the Director of Engineering that such development will not adversely impact water, wastewater, drainage and street deficiencies.  Adopted because development constraints in planning units 18 and 32 were identified and Capital Improvement programs identified to remove the constraints. 
    •    Ordinance 1985-24 – Moratorium on multifamily dwellings in planning units 1-5, 52, 53, 18 and 32, limiting the number of LUE’s issued from remaining sewage treatment capacity, requiring compliance with the Master Plan and establishing a Citizen Committee to advise.  Time period – until further action by the Council.
    •    Ordinance 1986-8 – Amending Ordinance 1984-70 to remove planning sections 1-5 and portions of 5 and 53.  Constraints on development in those areas was identified and Capital Improvement programs were identified to remove the constraints.  The moratorium remained in place for those portions of planning units 5 and 53 which were not affected by the Capital Improvements projects, unless the development in those areas shared the cost of necessary improvements.  Time Period- until further action by council.

  31. First, where can I find data that suggest students who graduate from Texas State are staying in town? Where are they working? Second, where are you getting the data about occupancy? I know the students I work with at Texas State say there is a shortage of the newer student-oriented apartments, but what about all of the others, the older units? I also wonder why the hospital administrator recently suggested that doctors might not come here because of the lack of luxury apartments. Did I read that wrong or was it misquoted? Thanks.

    I also attended the planning department meeting at LBJ and was struck by hostility in the room from some people. I thought the effort and presentation were great, as was the general exchange of ideas. We need more of that, as Matt said, outside the press of a council or P&Z meeting.

  32. Well Well Well… It feels like things are getting heated up.
    For starters, this article starts with a hyperbolic title, not unlike a bad political campaign ad. It is full of skewed inferred wishful thinking. I happened to be sitting in the same room. Mellisa, God bless you. I think that you gave an accurate accounting of the evening w/o all of the overreaching headlining that was the article. Brad, Brad, Brad, what can I say. Do try and give us some accurate reporting w/o all of the propaganda. You’ve got a good start for the online news. Don’t alienate readers with swill and lob-sided hype. Rise above this. Otis, maybe you should just go back to Mulberry.

    I believe the city council should listen to their constituency, the citizens, otherwise things could end up getting very ugly for them probably by not getting reelected and for those hopeful developers that had hopes of ever wanting to do easy business here again. We’ve told you how to get along with the citizens. Get a well thought out master plan that is representative of neighborhoods and citizens that also has vision with future growth in mind. If a “temporary” moratorium is required, then lets do it. Please get off of your fences. We will support you. We would like the planning dept to work with us now that they know that we exist. It’s a better world to have participation of the citizens in the city government than to have the chaos of non-participating people taking what is left for them.

    “Ryan Thomason said that Multifamily is the way everything is going”. Does that mean that there shouldn’t be any single family residences built? Matthew from planning said that single family dwellings don’t pay for their required infrastructure in tax revenue. Does that mean that we shouldn’t plan any more single family residences? Something is wrong with this picture! Maybe they will find a way to grow us much more efficiently in test tubes and hook us into the city grid not unlike the matrix. They wouldn’t even have to build houses anymore if we could do that. But seriously, getting rid of quality community for more transient lifestyles (apt dwelling) will only weaken our community and lower our standard of living.

  33. First, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and TRY to look at the other opinions, then look at the facts on record.

    What I think most of you are overlooking is this; occupancy rate of “99% for student-oriented apartment complexes”. Now think, they are expecting another 2000 students starting in the fall to bring them up to 36000. Think about those numbers for just a minute. We need to face the fact that we ALL live in a college town and that in a couple of years the number of students will out number the full-time residents.

    These students do spend money here and they do need a place to live.

    Now, I know that many of you say there is plenty of multifamily zoned property in San Marcos so why change zoning from single to multi? You have all said that build it out the other side of 35, and when you answer this question remember that ALL council meeting are available on recordings. Do any of our “enviro-friendly people out here realize that these students will have to drive and not walk or bike? Am I wrong here? You don’t want the pollution form the extra cars the students bring in, but you want them to put all the multi miles away from the college. You can’t have it both ways.

    Now, we have to understand we NEED multifamily, these students need a place to live. This is a huge issue in any college town. We HAVE to come together as a community and realize that all of us are going to have to make concessions and and start to compromise, and compromise is not a dirty word.

    Brad, maybe a little softer approach might have worked better in your previous comments.

    BUT, Brad is right, there is a tremendous amount of venom coming from a lot of you. Why do some people feel they need to be mean and sarcastic to get there opinions across?

  34. J Horton, students enrolled is a very different number than students living in San Marcos. This is very well documented. Student residents will not outnumber non-students, by a long shot.

    That being said, I agree that there is a market for more rental property. I don’t agree that the best place for it, is in the middle of single-family neighborhoods. Nor do I agree that students living on the other side of 35 all drive to campus. One only needs to know some students, and watch the shuttle buses, to see this is not true.

    They do drive to work, and to the grocery store, and to the square, just like the rest of us.

    Like I said, some of the rezoning requests make sense, and some do not.

  35. Also, with respect to those who are being mean, people who feel they are being ignored, for years on end, will only be polite about it for so long.

    Perhaps *both* sides need to do more to come together. Sadly, as with so many issues, it is unlikely that either side will find any fault with themselves.

  36. FYI- No test tube lifestyle for me! I think the present tax-payer paid push for this model will work in some areas of our town, these areas are not next to historically peaceful,safe, quiet family neighborhoods, or in the most ecologically sensitive areas of the primary watersheds that feed into our beloved San Marcos River! Get out of the watersheds with your density plans that were pushed by realtors and developers with the unfortunate blessings of our past arrogant, short sided mayors. These politicians basically disenfranchised the very core citizens that make San Marcos an enviable community to be a part of, solid, passionate caretakers of their surrounding neighbors and friends. We just want to enjoy the very things that motivated us to invest in our homes and neighborhoods, and in no way are extremist nay-sayers about growth and developement, it just needs to be in the right places where infrastucture will allow for its success, without creating a nightmare for those living near it and destroying our river! So,a comprehensive master plan, one that compliments both developers and residents will be the only viable solution that will be tolerated, otherwise, the ballot box will be where the line is drawn come November, perhaps sooner if things get too destructive:-) jlb

  37. San Marcos is no longer a quiet little village and Texas State is no longer a little regional Teacher’s college. The town is rapidly approaching “urban” status and the University is achieving wider recognition both state-wide and nationally.

    I have no real sympathy for the folks complaining here, because I don’t think they should have ever had the expectation to be able to live right next door to the campus and not have to deal with issues related to the student population. Whether it’s noise, traffic, or development issues – it comes with the territory. HOW DARE THEY want to build student housing close to campus! The nerve!

    How about we continue to still all of our students out on the other side of Aquarena and up north toward Kyle? That’ll show them! Of course then an already-terrible traffic issue along Aquarena just gets worse….

    These students are here, and they are going to continue to come here in ever-increasing numbers. It’s time for some to adjust their expectations about what the students mean to this town and what this town will have to do to accommodate them.

  38. Ted,

    Please re-read my numbers. And I will quote again occupancy is “99% for student oriented apartment complexes” I asked all of you to just take those numbers in. I don’t care many are living in other ares, those numbers and occupancy rates are for HERE!! Which means that come fall do you really think that 2000 students that are currently living here are going to move to another area so those new 2000 students will have a place to live? Don’t think so.

    This is plain old addition and subtraction, add 2000 more students and minus the 1% vacancy left on multifamily housing.

    Dano, thank you. I have always said that if people buy a house anywhere near a airport they have no right to complain about noise, traffic or local pollution. That airport was there before they bought so common sense tells you it will only get worse as population grows. Well all of us bought in a college town and now I guess some are just going to keep complaining about it.

  39. I thought I would post some of the City Planning Staff analysis that was provided to Council at noon, the day of the meeting, much of which I was unable to read until the agenda item came up during the meting. This was in response to questions asked during the Packet meeting on the Friday before the meeting.

    § Moratorium Info:

    To date, over 2,000 signatures have been submitted from residents city-wide, calling for a moratorium on multifamily development. Concerns specifically expressed include higher-density rezoning requests adjacent to existing single-family neighborhoods and the proliferation of apartment developments, particularly on the north and west sides of town, as well as on or near ecologically sensitive areas.

    Additionally, the City is embarking on a major overhaul of its Master Plan. The Horizons Master Plan was adopted in 1997 and has not been significantly updated since, with the exception of the adoption of Sector Plans. Consequently, the recommendations in the Future Land Use Map no longer accurately reflect development conditions in San Marcos, and amendments to the Map are frequently requested concurrently with zoning changes. The update to the Plan is expected to take approximately eighteen months from inception to adoption, and will be written primarily in-house.

    § Proposed area for moratorium:

    The moratorium would extend city-wide, as proposed. Properties in the ETJ would not be affected, as multifamily development within the City is dictated by zoning and thus does not apply in the ETJ. As requested, the moratorium would apply only to multifamily rezoning, not to other zoning requests or to projects currently entitled.

    § Effect on Planning and Development:

    Because of current demographics, growth trends and market conditions, multifamily rezoning requests are one of the most comment requests handled by the Planning staff. These requests may take the form of straight zoning or Planned Development Districts, or PDDs. A PDD application in particular may take several weeks and many hours of staff time. The moratorium would permit additional staff time for the Comprehensive Plan update.

    § Effect on the City:

    In 2011, 187 multifamily units were permitted compared to 458 units in 2009 and 1,141 in 2010. However, approximately 1,438 units were entitled in 2011, and 119.48 acres have been rezoned to multifamily classifications. If the moratorium were to apply only to rezoning requests, thus grandfathering entitled properties, the City could still see significant multifamily construction even with a moratorium in place.

    § Goals for the Moratorium:

    The primary reason to put a planning moratorium in place is to allow time to evaluate the effectiveness of existing regulations, and to put into place new regulations that more accurately reflect the goals of the community and current planning best practices. In this case, imposing a moratorium would have two impacts; a reevaluation of multifamily policies, and the drafting and completion of the Comprehensive Plan.

    § However, a moratorium cannot be imposed without a great deal of consideration and analysis of the overall impact it will have on the community as a whole, including both residents and the development community. For a moratorium to have a positive impact, it must be put into place with clear goals and an end date in mind, and the goals should be mutually agreed-upon by all affected. The following are intended outcomes, should a moratorium be put into place:

    · A fully-revised and adopted Comprehensive Plan

    o To include a chapter on Housing, with recommendations on growth areas and policy changes

    · Updated and accurate Future Land Use maps that correspond with either existing zoning or planning best practices

    · A review of policies and practices with regard to multifamily development requests

    o To include changes to the Land Development Code, if necessary

    · Adoption of multifamily design standards, including low impact site design standards

    § Timeline for Moratorium:

    The timing and duration of the moratorium will be decided by Council. In order to achieve the above-stated goals, it is recommended that the moratorium run concurrently with the update of the Comprehensive Plan, and be lifted upon the Plan’s adoption. Work on the Plan is anticipated to begin Spring 2012, and last for approximately eighteen months. The work will include extensive public outreach and input and analysis of existing conditions and potential scenarios and policies. Therefore, adoption of the Plan and lifting of the moratorium should occur in Fall 2013.

    § Conclusions:

    A moratorium, if imposed with attainable goals that are desired by the community as a whole, may positively impact that community. Planning staff will be able to shift workload from reviewing multifamily zoning requests to working on the Plan update. However, if the goals are not attained, and if reviews and updates to policies do not occur, the moratorium will simply delay some projects, and the City may miss out entirely on other projects. There is a risk of the community appearing anti-growth, which may turn off potential developers looking in the area. With San Marcos located between two rapidly growing cities, and with a rapidly growing university in town, implementing a moratorium must be done carefully and with clearly stated goals, so the end result is to enhance and encourage development, not discourage it.

  40. So the moratorium as proposed would completely ban multifamily development anywhere in the City.

    Let that sink in for a second. Some people are actually wanting our City Council to tell developers that they can’t even bring a proposal for multi-family development before us. Not here, not now, and (maybe) not ever, indeed.

    Where did they find 2,000 people who actually think this is a good idea? This is one of the most ludicrous suggestions I have ever heard – and that includes Kinky Friedman running for Governor…..and some people wonder why they end up getting the “no-growther” label….it’s because they do stupid crap like this.

  41. This what the petition says: rezoning single to multi is key, we never asked for all multi to be placed on a moratorium status.

    Thanks John ~ I didn’t think anyone at CC really had the chance to let it sink in that the moratorium would allow PZ to work on the Master plan and get this ship sailing properly again.

    Being residents of San Marcos, Texas; valuing our single-family neighborhoods and the natural environment of our city; desiring to protect and forever preserve the unique environment, endangered species, and pristine waters of the San Marcos River; understanding the ecological connection between Sessom Canyon, Sessom Creek, Sink Creek and the San Marcos River; we oppose any change to the current zoning designation within the area bordered by Sessom Drive, Alamo Street, Chestnut Street, and Holland Street, and we oppose rezoning single family land for Hillside Ranch Phase 2 at Holland and N. LBJ, and rezoning any other single family neighborhoods to apartments in San Marcos.

    Therefore, we the undersigned, urge the members of the San Marcos City Council and the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission, to oppose any action that would change the current city zoning designation in the aforementioned area. Additionally, we call on them to declare a moratorium on rezoning for apartment complexes in single family neighborhoods until the new master plan for San Marcos is completed.

  42. Thanks John,
    That was quite informative. You know, change is always hard to accept. The planet is getting more populated. Residential starts are down. The university wants to bring 20,000 more students into this town. It seems that it is a good time to come up with a good PLAN don’t you think? The university and the city should and must get together to plan the infrastructure. This is not so impossible as has been said on these forums. Walking into town from the highway to go to school is a stretch for students, but driving on an over crowded streets to the store from around campus is also bad. Again PLANNING. Building out more apartments in a hurry is not the answer. We need time to do the job of planning that hasn’t been done in the past if we want to be a city that we like. We don’t have to just sit in our houses and wait until the changes happen. We can have a say and an good impact on our city.

  43. J Horton, half of those students probably won’t live in San Marcos, just like half of all the others don’t. The number of students living here will not outnumber non-student residents. Non-student residents outnumber student residents approximately 2:1. If you look at students living in town, but off campus, I think the ratio is closer to 3:1. If that is not what you meant, then I apologize.

    Speaking of dorms, does anyone have a count for the number of beds being added with new dorms? The new dorm at Comanche and Sessom is enormous, and will add over 600 beds right there.

  44. Also, not for nothing, but I said that the dorms were at 99-100% in some earlier debate about where the students live and all kinds of people on here came unglued about how that’s impossible, and that’s bad business, and no apartment or dorm would ever be that full.


  45. Focus on redevelopment sounds like a good plan. It’s what the university’s 2005-2015 master plan is calling for and the college has done a pretty good job attracting business for themselves…

    If you can get a copy of the Feb 23 University Star it has a front page article that explains the school’s plan:
    No more land acquisition but redevelop the land they already own.

    Demolish low rise dorms for high rises. Get rid of old or inefficient buildings for new energy efficient ones. Get rid of surface parking lots for garages etc.

    (Also learned that Adderall is the 2nd most prescribed drug written at student health ctr.)

  46. Agreed. The university’s master plan is online, and they have stuck with it, as far as I can tell. They do not show any indication that they plan to buy anything across the street from anything, for anything.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, they are an excellent example of laying out a plan, following the plan, and growing – not just getting bigger; that’s just bloat. They are getting measurably better, across the board.

  47. We need to be very careful with the thoughts of a moratorium. The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin sued the City of Dripping Springs over a moratorium they imposed a few years ago along these same lines. The Austin HBA won that suit. The Texas Local Government Code is VERY specific about how and when a moratorium can be enacted by a municipality.


    Sec. 212.131. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

    (1) “Essential public facilities” means water, sewer, or storm drainage facilities or street improvements provided by a municipality or private utility.

    (2) “Residential property” means property zoned for or otherwise authorized for single-family or multi-family use.

    Sec. 212.132. APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only to a moratorium imposed on property development affecting only residential property, commercial property, or both residential and commercial property.

    Sec. 212.135. JUSTIFICATION FOR MORATORIUM: SHORTAGE OF ESSENTIAL PUBLIC FACILITIES; WRITTEN FINDINGS REQUIRED. (a) If a municipality adopts a moratorium on property development, the moratorium is justified by demonstrating a need to prevent a shortage of essential public facilities. The municipality must issue written findings based on reasonably available information.

    (b) The written findings must include a summary of:

    (1) evidence demonstrating the extent of need beyond the estimated capacity of existing essential public facilities that is expected to result from new property development, including identifying:

    (A) any essential public facilities currently operating near, at, or beyond capacity;

    (B) the portion of that capacity committed to the development subject to the moratorium; and

    (C) the impact fee revenue allocated to address the facility need; and

    (2) evidence demonstrating that the moratorium is reasonably limited to:

    (A) areas of the municipality where a shortage of essential public facilities would otherwise occur; and

    (B) property that has not been approved for development because of the insufficiency of existing essential public facilities.”

    Obviously, I only pasted the most relevant info so as to save space here. Read the entire statute here:

  48. Curtis, I am no lawyer (thank god) but I think the law you cite is directed at a moratorium on new construction and not a moratorium on zoning changes which is what was proposed to the City Council. If you have preexisting zoning classification to build multi family and you are stopped from doing so, that could be considered a taking. If you are requesting a zoning change to multi family, that is a different animal. Some would argue with me on this point but I do not believe that the law say anybody has the “right” to a zoning change.

  49. Charles, you are most likely right. I just hope that the CC, if they do end up deciding to do a moratorium, do their due diligence on the law. Don’t assume they will. The Dripping Springs didn’t and ended up loosing a lawsuit and costing the taxpayers money on legal fees.

  50. Thanks so much for you input Curtis, the city should do it’s due diligence to ensure they aren’t sued if they decide on a moratorium of any kind. And thank you for what I pasted below, as I’ve been looking for information in regards to whether any further development that would feed into the sewer lines already over capacity in the LBJ St. area is permissible in our on LDC. It just doesn’t make sense to me that new development would be permitted in that area when the city has plans to improve the infrastructure (both sewer lines and roads to alleviate traffic)due to be completed in 2015. Why not wait until the infrastructure is in place so a worse situation isn’t created in the meantime?

    From the looks of the zoning moratoriums in the 80’s on this same trouble spot, and the information you posted, it seems that area qualifies for a moratorium and in fact the city could be considered negligent if they do indeed continue to approve development in this area.

    (1) “Essential public facilities” means water, sewer, or storm drainage facilities or street improvements provided by a municipality or private utility.

    Sec. 212.135. JUSTIFICATION FOR MORATORIUM: SHORTAGE OF ESSENTIAL PUBLIC FACILITIES; WRITTEN FINDINGS REQUIRED. (a) If a municipality adopts a moratorium on property development, the moratorium is justified by demonstrating a need to prevent a shortage of essential public facilities. The municipality must issue written findings based on reasonably available information.

    (1) evidence demonstrating the extent of need beyond the estimated capacity of existing essential public facilities that is expected to result from new property development, including identifying:

    (A) any essential public facilities currently operating near, at, or beyond capacity;

  51. Interesting.

    Of course, if one were to back the city into a corner, claiming negligence for allowing development with infrastructure that is already over capacity, the city would be wise to build out to meet anticipated need, and perhaps a little more, to avoid the same problem in the near future. After all, who in their right mind would want to be responsible for overflowing sewer lines 5-10 years after that same problem was addressed, in the same location?

    That could very well mean the sewer line from Craddock to Lime Kiln, that many oppose.

    One might also make the case that some roads in this area are at or above capacity as well, and the city might respond with a road, along the path of the sewer line.

    Both would suit me fine, but I suspect there are many who would be beside themselves if those unintended consequences came to pass.

    It is interesting, though. If Mr. Rollins is correct, and these developments are being improved to reduce the load on our infrastructure, one might want to reconsider those decisions, and favor recently improved parts of town, like Hunter Road and Post Road.

    From the middle, looking out, it certainly is an interesting situation.

  52. DANO, Not Here, Not Now, Not Ever…Simple words with a very clear message. From your ludicrous arguments one can only surmise that you have hopes of selling property near the university. Maybe there are some that will lay on their stomachs with their butts in the air, waiting for this type of destructive developement to destroy their neighborhoods, but fortunately, these sellouts are far outnumbered by those that SHALL not. See ya in the pictures! NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER 🙂 JLB

  53. To follow up on my previous post that no one has a legal “right” to a zoning change, I think a large part of our problem with zoning changes in San Marcos is that we have become convinced (or have been convinced) that the grant of a zoning change is a bureaucratic process that results in a “right to change”. That is, if the planning dept. looks at a zoning change and checks all of the approval boxes on the forms, then the requestor is entitled to a zoning change. According to our city ordinances, that is not the way the process works. We already have sufficient regulations to stop any “bad” zoning change. We just need the political will to do so. We often hear, from our elected and appointed City officials that “our hands a pretty much tied because they have meet all the requirements” . Read the City ordinance and tell me if that is true.

    Section – Criteria for Approval


    In making a determination regarding a requested zoning change, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council may consider the following factors:


    Whether the proposed zoning map amendment implements the policies of the adopted Master Plan, including the land use classification of the property on the Future Land Use Map and any incorporated sector plan maps;


    Whether the proposed zoning map amendment is consistent with a development agreement in effect;


    Whether the uses permitted by the proposed change in zoning district classification and the standards applicable to such uses will be appropriate in the immediate area of the land to be reclassified;


    Whether the proposed change is in accord with any existing or proposed plans for providing public schools, streets, water supply, sanitary sewers, and other public services and utilities to the area; and


    Any other factors which will substantially affect the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.

    Subsection 3 and 5 leave wide discretion with the P&Z and the City Council. Either body can pretty much say that they just don’t think a particular zoning change is a good idea. Might I suggest that instead of pursuing some idea that a new Master Plan will solve our problems, we just need City officials who will make hard decisions. Master Plans are folly. It is impossible to project, even into the near future, changing needs of the City. Please bear in mind that regardless of what is promoted by some, there is no science in City Planning. There is no body of knowledge in City Planning. City Planning consists of running from one fad to another. One year, the Planners tell us that wide streets are the thing to do. The next year, they promote narrow streets. One year, cul-de-sacs are in vogue. The next year, cul-de-sacs are out and traffic circles are in. One year the planners promote mixed use. The next year, mixed use is the devil. In the end, proper land use all comes down to a political decision. That is where we are not meeting our responsibility as citizens. If our decision makers are falling down on the job, throw the B* out.

  54. Well, Jaimy….all I can say is that you know what happens when you assume. I own several properties in and around town, but none of them are close to the University. You know why? Because *I* was smart enough to understand that if you buy next to a University, you get University problems to deal with.

    The world you seem to want is one that we no longer live in. So have fun tilting at windmills, but please excuse the rest of us as we try to work toward real solutions for San Marcos – something beyond the head in the sand mentality of “not here, not now, not ever.”

  55. Dano, Where one buys property does not justify the adverse use of adjoining properties. Placing student housing in watersheds and next to established neighborhoods in conflict to existing plats is just piss poor planning at best, so my friend, I guess the interpretation of the LDC,state statutes, and environmental laws will settle it. You would think at some point a developer would realize that working ” With” citizens of a majority would be much smarter and productive than working ” Against’ them. Yes, the indians probably would not like my house, or the others that were built on my street,however, at least there was a sensible consistancy to the type of land use when these plats were created. My house was built in 1951, so , according to you, indiscriminant re-zoning and incompatible plats can just be added now, because someone wants to accommadate student housing? The courts will have to decide this I suppose, and all of us, on both sides of the issue, will have to accept their rulings.

  56. What a shame. With the exception of Mr. Thomaides, City Council has ignored a petition asking them to stop re-zoning next to single family neighborhoods. The Mayor was more concerned about sending a negative message to developers than about sending that same message to his own citizens. There you have it folks- the Mayor has made his choice. The good thing is he must run for re-election this fall, as does Ryan Thomason- who is privately in the construction business and who repeatedly has shown us where he stands. One thing is for sure: I’m voting for anyone but Guerrero and Thomason come November. In fact, I’m going to walk the streets campaigning against them.

  57. Several points seem pertinent here. First, can we stop with the argument that we will scare away development by putting up any sign of resistance to unharnessed growth? Maybe in the very short run we might scare off a few who don’t want to take the risk because the margins do not make sense to them. So be it. But, to think that we will be sitting here with some 50,000 students and all the demand they bring and to think that someone will not jump in and find a way to make it work is economically ignorant. If the demand is there, the market will meet it in some way or the other. And I think we clearly can see that the demand is here and only increasing from our occupancy rates and such. See oil drilling in the Arctic for Exhibit A about how the market will adapt to the environment to meet demand. This may very well drive up the costs to rent and such (and this is an entirely other issue) but the demand will be there and it will be met…

    Which leads to point two: San Marcos is in a very strong position to bargain for developments that match what the people of this town feel best fits the way WE would like to grow. This begs for a comprehensive development plan. Of course, the devil is very much in the details of this plan (but that is on us), but we are in a very strong position to dictate terms — once again going back to that whole demand issue mentioned above. Our political leaders nor the 5% of us (yes, we suck, and should all be very ashamed of this paltry number whichever side we view this issue from) should not forget this as we head forward.

    Third, students who live in town do not drive to campus. They take the bus. Wherever the apartments go, they will not add to the traffic of the city because they are driving to school. Pretty much everywhere else they go? Sure, this will add to our increasingly bad traffic. But not while they are going to school. That argument simply does not hold water.

    Fourth, do we not owe it to unborn generations to plan very carefully for the future (will we ever learn?)? In 50 years there will likely be a concrete strip from south of SA to north of Georgetown. What do we want San Marcos to look like for our great-grandkids? If we rezone now under the red-herring threat that “we will scare off development” the changes we make are going to impact several generations. Are we so sure of what are doing?

    On the other hand, if we push pause and actually figure out what we want this growth to look like and how we can protect the river in the process (this should be a non-negotiable, right?), well maybe that is actually not asking too much in the long run and maybe we end up with a city much more livable for those who follow us here. Is it really asking too much to slow down? Once again, I’m guessing the demand will still be there while we get this done in as democratic a fashion as possible. At the very least, maybe we can stop this town from looking like one big Sagewood in a decade. Does anyone not wish our town planners had thought that one through a little more thoroughly?

    And fifth, can we please stop labeling anyone who dares to at least question the pace and direction of where and how this town is built-out as “anti-growth”? Would it be fair for me to label you pro-Sagewood simply because you seem to wish to say yes to all-development, all the time? We do have zoning laws for a reason, right?

    And sixth, Jaimy, please be a little more classy in your posts and avoid such things “as on my stomach with my butt in the air”…I get the drift, but if my kids were a bit older I would very much like them to read this debate as a lesson in civic participation and I would rather not have to explain such references till they were a bit older…

  58. Oh come on Ted, there was that one time that Frank Zappa almost won for the presidency 😉

    I think Keith should run for something…..and Ted too ~ we need some new SOMETHING ~ I personally like the way ya’ll think whether I always agree or not.

    Btw, Ryan is not secretly in the construction biz, he and and wood from PZ own a construction company in town, no secrets at all ~ their signs are spattered about the city. They are local contractors, I would assume they have the local good at heart since they are our public servants.

  59. To all, my appologies for less than tasteful analogies, my bad, however distateful the conversation was that led to my error. I will certainly attempt to hold my tongue in check, for the sake of the younger eyes that may viwe these posts. I guess after 4 months of intense warfare against brutal, crass, dishonest realtors, developers, and land owners ( Big Bucks Scheib, ficticous/ slanderous article in the Almost Daily Record) perhaps my patience is beginning to wear thin. I will do better in the future, hey, I was asked to hold my words all together at one point, they can be a bit forward at times. I have always detested dishonesty though, and find it quite difficult to refrain from confronting it head on. Bottom line here, ALL property owners have rights, not just the ones who would profit from developements that have an impact on us all in a negative way. I love San Marcos, and admittedly, have not always been a model citizen, I now can only try to learn from my past mistakes in order to be a better citizen in the future. Again, my appologies to anyone I may have offended.JLB 🙂

  60. Older thread here, but just curious on the in-town versus out-of-town student figures. If occupancy is 96% (99% for student focused properties), then is it not a safe assumption that the large number of commuters is due in part to a critical shortage of student housing? Meaning, we have to build MF at a rate not only to absorb increased enrollment, but also pent up outside demand of commuting students who would like to live closer.

    Redevelopment sounds fine, but it just replaces old units with new ones. It doesn’t substantially increase the total number of units, which is what we desperately need to do.

    I’m not sympathetic of people who expect San Marcos to be anything other than a college town experiencing explosive transformational growth to even more of a college town. I doubt very much any of you were alive before the college was established. Hence, you should have known what you were getting into when you decided to live here. Just because this school has been slow to achieve it’s potential, in part because of the limitations of the community, doesn’t mean you should have known that it would eventually see exponential growth to a major university pervading all areas of town.

    I do sympathize to a degree with environmental concerns. We all admire the area and want to preserve it as best we can while meeting the development demands. What are we to do though? When they had to go back to the legislature for more money to pump the caves under Old Main full of concrete, the die was cast. You can’t go north or east of campus because of the river. You can’t go south because of the square. Southwest is the historical district. A very small area to the west is possible at five times what it should be priced at. And Northwest gets into the recharge zone.

    The University master plan is not acquiring more land because there’s no where to go. They are massively overcrowded and in desperate need of new buildings. The skyline already is going to change significantly with a lot of highrise buildings – both academic and residential. And for whoever asked, they are tearing down dorms as fast as they are adding so there is little net gain to bed numbers for some time. The bed totals are growing slower than freshmen enrollment increases. Sophomores increasingly will not have the option to remain on-campus.

    Also, someone said “temporary student housing” as opposed to single family. Student housing isn’t temporary. It’s permanent. The individual tenants may change but the property doesn’t. Why is single family better than a rental unit? When did we start thinking we’re better than others, that our vote matters more, or that we get to run the community and they have to do what they’re told. That’s not acceptable.

  61. Jason, many, many college towns manage to find a way for all residents to live together harmoniously. Crying persecution every time someone points out that two types of properties are potentially incompatible is also not acceptable.

    The city and the university both have tremendous potential, which will remain unrealized, until they learn to work together.

  62. @ Jason- Glad your flawed opinions are not what will direct the growth of San Marcos. Climb out of that little box now, there is a whole new world beyond the confines of such limited vision! JLB 🙂

  63. @Keith on point 4,
    Wrong, we owe everything to the generations that come before and the generations that will come after. Your mother gave you her breast. She wasn’t trying to be selfish. The library was an institution created out of the spirit of giving to the future. So, yes, the fight that we are up against looks daunting, the crazy housing in Kyle and Buda smacks of Armageddon, but with careful “planning” and resolve, we can still appeal the rational, kind, less fearful side of our fellow citizens. No decisions should be made in fear of the worst case scenerio (red herring)like the university purchasing the land. The chaos that the developer Darren Casey and the realtor Randall/Carter Morris and company propose, is the real evil that wants to build there. They had connections to the Susan Narvaiz city administration. Kathy Morris was the chair of the Charter Review Commission in 2008 which reduced the zoning regulations in order to fast track developments. This is the evil and the culture that we face today in the city council and at the planning and zoning commission. Life , to them , is chasing the buck, believing only in the tax dollar value of a place or action.

  64. @Keith,

    Just reread the point 4. I read it wrong earlier, sorry. But for the rest of you who still don’t believe, you’re the only one who can do it.

  65. Mr. Casey is not evil just because he wants to build multifamily. You guys really need to stop exaggerating, ever here of the little boy who cried wolf all the time? It is getting really old. It’s called compromise.

  66. Ah, but when faced with the opposition from citizen groups, and unable to obtain permission to build multi-family, Mr Casey switched to “Plan B” and is now proposing single-family for his property. It will certainly be less profitable for him to do so, but in the interest of compromise that is now his plan.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to make a difference to some…for them, compromise means walking across the street to meet you and tell you how they want things to be done.

  67. I agree. There has been little compromise on either side, for some time now. IMO, this gets back to the need to have some in-house expertise about what will and won’t make for a compatible development. If The Retreat (I think that is what it is called) turns out to be Sagewood x10, there will be even more resistance. The compromises need to result in compatible developments, or everyone loses. At the moment, these compromises seem to be based on educated guesses about a) what will work and b) what people will accept.

    If we knew how to do this right (and had a few wins to point to), it would be very difficult for opposition to gain any traction, and it would be much easier for developers to come in with a good plan from the beginning.

    Every incompatible development adds to the “no-growth” fervor, which in turn leaves developers little option, other than to stay away, or ignore the neighbors.

    The answer is not to rubber-stamp everything, nor is it to shut down development.

  68. Please come out on Thursday night,March 15, 6:30 at the Price Senior Center behind Tantra Coffee House and find out more about preserving our unique town and it’s natural resources as the headwaters of the San Marcos River moves towards being recognized as a World Heritage site. We meet 8 of the 10 criteria and the applications are being submitted by Dr.Jon C. Lohse . Currently a zoning change for Hillside II could place a multifamily apartment complex on the only entrance to the Spring Lake Preserve available outside of the Aquarena entrance. This site could be designated as park space and serve as a public entrance to the preserve as well as a visitors center.

    The Sacred Springs Alliance of San Marcos presents:

    UNESCO World Heritage Site Designation Headwaters of the San Marcos River and the importance of the Spring Lake Preserve and Park Land.

    Dr. Jon C. Lohse
    Center for Archaeological Studies
    Associate Research Professor
    Texas State University
    Dr. Jim Garber
    Professor of Anthropology
    Director of the
    Center for Middle American Research
    Texas State University

    Thursday March 15 – 6:30pm
    The Price Center, 222 San Antonio St.

  69. dano- you said “Mr Casey switched to “Plan B” and is now proposing single-family for his property”.

    Well, Mr. Casey doesn’t even own the property in question (Sessoms), so that makes it not “his”. And how many hours did Mr. Casey waste of city resources and city personnel’s time just to make a buck? This shouldn’t happen. Darren Casey should buy the land and then try to rezone or whatever he deems appropriate. We didn’t promise him a rose garden. He should carry the risk if we are to invest city resources and time and moreover, infrastructure! I think that we’ve compromised enough.

    To the San Marcos city council, start representing the citizens, not just out of town investors that will saddle us with horrible infrastructure woes. Stop this insanity of packing apartment projects in before a responsive master plan or comprehensive plan goes into effect. We are not anti multi-family or anti growth. This is just the whinnings of the few. When things change, like the university wanting 50k students, we need to reevaluate our direction and not hurry up and approve projects. This isn’t sound planning at all. What happened to the neighborhoods covenant with the city? Does the city’s planning staff now think that it is not part of the “New Urbanism’s” culture? Let’s reaffirm our direction with the neighborhoods the exist in town and not give more attention to the leap-frog neighborhoods in the outskirts (like the Randall Morris developments). We need to do better planning that represents the people of San Marcos.

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