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by BRAD ROLLINS

San Marcos business leaders are rallying against a proposed addition to the city’s comprehensive plan that would cut in half the number of new homes that could be built in western parts of the city that sit atop the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

This map from a recent San Marcos Comprehensive Plan presentation shows areas of western San Marcos that overly the Edwards Aquifer recharge or contributing zone. Click to enlarge. CITY OF SAN MARCOS MAP

In recent weeks, a citizens advisory committee charged with making recommendations to the city council on a new 10-year comprehensive plan — including a redrawn future land use map — has been kicking around a proposal to limit future development in the recharge zone to 10 percent impervious cover.

About 50 local business people — including an unprecedented assembly of heavy-hitters representing major local corporate and manufacturing employers — have signed a letter to the San Marcos City Council that calls on elected officials to oppose the 10 percent rule and to adopt a comprehensive plan that “relaxes existing regulations in community-desired growth areas to constructively guide future development.”

“Historically in our community, the business community has been rather disorganized. I think as we go forward, you can count on the business community to be organized,” said Corridor Title president Patrick M. Rose, a former state representative who was among the organizers of an Oct. 19 meeting at Embassy Suites that launched the advocacy efforts.

General goals outlined in the letter are endorsed by major corridor industrial chiefs such as Hunter Industries President Johnny Weisman; Heldenfels Enterprises executives Fred and Gil Heldenfels; and Ingram Readymix executive Earl Ingram.

Other signatories include Central Texas Medical Center CEO Sam Huenergard; CenturyLink’s South Texas operations chief John Navarrette; McCoys Corporation board director Meagan McCoy; Sac-N-Pac CEO Kevin Brumley; Embassy Suites General Manager Tom Pugh; auto dealer Chuck Nash; developers Carter Morris, Dan Gribbon, Fraye Stokes, Walter Elias, Chris Carson, John David Carson, Darren Casey and Robert McDonald; and bankers John Schott, Lance Spruiell and Deanna Brock.

“While we may not be a visual reminder to the council on a weekly basis, we collectively represent approximately 3,146 in employment base in the Greater San Marcos community and we care deeply about the success of our community,” the letter states.

The San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce board chair Richard Bump and Greater Austin Home Builders Association President Brent Allison also sent letters opposing tightening restrictions on planned development and reiterating the general object of a development-friendly comprehensive plan.

[Updated: A contingent of business people are expected to show up at the San Marcos City Council meeting tonight to press the issue during the standing public comments period.]

Under current Edwards Aquifer Authority regulations, 20 percent of the land area can be developed as impervious cover, meaning nonporous construction like traditional homes and driveways that impede rainwater from refilling the aquifer through crazy quilts of limestone gravel, karsts, sinkholes and caves.

At an Oct. 1 meeting of the citizens committee and a council-appointed steering committee, city Planning and Development Services Director Matthew Lewis said effectively mean no more than 4,000 traditionally constructed homes could be built in 26,545 acres of the city limits that overlap with the recharge zone. Currently, about 315 acres of the 26,545 in the city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction is developed as impervious cover.

With current EAA regulations and the city’s density rules, about 8,000 new homes — one per 3.19 gross acres — could be built in the recharge zone. Dropping to a maximum of 10 percent impervious cover would mean no more 4,000 homes could ever be built in the recharge zone, Lewis said.

The 10 percent bar was a recommendation, Lewis said, from Thomas B. Hardy, the chief science officer for the San Marcos-based Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

Denser development than 10 percent causes irreparable harm to the rate that the Edwards Aquifer is refilled during times of rainfall, said San Marcos River Foundation director Dianne Wassenich, a comp plan citizen’s committee member

“You’re diminishing the amount of recharge that can get in the aquifer if you go above 10 percent. That’s the bottom line,” Wassenich said at the Oct. 1 meeting during a lively discussion of the western San Marcos development restrictions.

City council member Ryan Thomason, sits on the plan steering committee with Mayor Daniel Guerrero and council member John Thomaides, said imposing 10 percent ceiling would practically rule out construction on any vacant lots in existing recharge zone neighborhoods.

“If you go lower that 20 percent, you have probably killed infill development. If that’s you’re goal, it will probably do it. Going below 20 percent impervious cover should kill those opportunities pretty quickly,” said Thomason, who is a home and commercial builder by trade.

Comp plan steering committee chair Bill Taylor, who also chairs the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission, said he prefers the impervious cover debate be hashed out when the city rewrites its land development code, which will have to be replaced to work in tandem with whatever form of the comprehensive plan is eventually adopted by the city council.

“I don’t want to get in such finite detail on a 30,000-foot birds eye view master plan. This needs to deal with the big picture and I’d rather we consider this as staff begins to write the new land development code,” Taylor told the San Marcos Mercury.

Rose said he and Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley and others decided to weigh in on the ongoing comprehensive planning process after hearing about the 10 percent impervious cover rule and other potential policy.

“The commissioner and I were thinking through how absent the business community as been during the comprehensive planning process. There are good people from the Chamber and good people from the Board of Realtors and good business people on the committees but, on the whole, the business community has been disengaged in that process. And shame on us. We think it is important for those of us who work where and employ people where to be a stakeholder in the process. That’s all we want, to be a stakeholder.”


Updated

5:29 p.m. TUESDAY, NOV. 20: Meadows Center for Water chief science officer Thom Hardy descibes what’s being called the “10 percent rule” as a measure of water quality, not the quantity of recharge.

In a phone interview with the Mercury, he said 10 percent is a “rule of thumb” used by the Environmental Protection Agency to indicate at what point percentage of impervious cover in a given watershed begins to negatively impact water quality.

“It’s not me saying it. The EPA says, after having studied this in a number of watersheds, that you start seeing degradation in water quality at 10 percent. It’s sort of a trip point that you want to be aware of,” Hardy said. “When you plot the concentration of nutrients and other stuff coming off a watershed as you increase impervious cover, 10 percent is a pretty good break.”

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San Marcos business leaders on comp plan proposal

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37 thoughts on “Business leaders line up against tightening density regs

  1. By the way, I’m trying to get my hands on the recommendation from the Meadows Center scientist that the 10 percent impervious cover limit is based on. It’s not immediately clear if the recommendation was made in writing or picked up as a baseline during discussions, meetings, etc. I’ve also written Dr Hardy and invited him to brief us on his view.

  2. I would be very interested in knowing how many of the people that signed this petition actually live in the CITY OF SAN MARCOS. Out of the 20 names mentioned in the article, only 4 appear to live in the city. Is it surprising that the people at high levels of businesses in the city want the city to grow? They can make their big money at their big jobs and then transport their cut of the money back to their homes in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs, and New Braunfels. This development may be great for San Marcos – but maybe it isn’t. As a city resident, I am not willing to endanger the Aquifer and my water supply in order to have a few more developers make more money. Quality – NOT Quantity – this should be the mantra as San Marcos moves forward. For those not aware, the Hays County Tax Records are free and available to search by name and/or address at http://www.taxnetusa.com

  3. I’d be curious to know which ones don’t live in San Marcos as well, but I would like to know why, more than anything. That’s one of our biggest challenges: people who can afford to buy homes here, choose not to.

  4. When we reach the tipping point where those who can choose to live anywhere choose to live in San Marcos they will want to live on the west side. The 10% proposal seems to me to be a “one size fits all” stab at legislation. San Marcos can do better than that. Each site should be assessed on its own. Some sites are more sensitive than others. Water quality ponds can be constructed that minimize the impact of a development on the aquifer. I’m so grateful that an important group who so often sit on the sidelines has chosen to step up and suggest this closer look at this regulation.

  5. 20% is probably too high, and 10% is probably too low. But I’ll go with the hydrologist rather than the failed politician, the car dealer or some real estate agents.

    It’s not just a recharge problem either. The drainage engineering needs to take into account the entire city, not just the areas being developed. Not properly engineered, Purgatory Creek will become a disaster once again.

  6. Same tired drum beats once again. Most citizens are reasonable in the expectation that their homes, neighborhoods, watersheds, and our beautiful river will trump hands down the greed driven ambitions of those that would ” transition” any and everyone right out of their way, if reason was not brought to bear on their destructive designs! I love San MArcos, my neighbors, and our beautiful town, and will defend them with every fiber of my soul! Happy Thanksgiving All!!! Progress, is not measured in dollars alone:-) jlb

  7. “In a phone interview with the Mercury, he said 10 percent is a “rule of thumb” used by the Environmental Protection Agency to indicate at what point percentage of impervious cover in a given watershed begins to negatively impact water quality.”

    When we’re talking about devaluing private property by millions of dollars I want more than a “rule of thumb”. I also want more than “20% is probably too high, and 10% is probably too low.”

    This is just lazy, knee-jerk regulation. We know what “Best Management Practices” look like and we can specify them. What is proposed is a “taking” pure and simple.

  8. I notice the usual knee jerks don’t really deal with the substance of the discussion. It is far easier to attack who lives where, claim any opinion from a business person must be driven by greed, call for a boycott of anyone with an opinion about the community that differs from LMC, etc…

    Good to have another voice and opinion. The 10% figure would make homes super expensive in a town where very few can afford a home to begin with. The 10% limit would keep more of our folks in apartments, and it would force more development inward and adjacent to existing neighborhoods who say not here, not now, not ever. I think all of these stakeholders’ voices should be given just as much weight as a scientist at a center I’ve never heard of. If the EPA thought it should be a restriction, they certainly know how to make it one.

  9. Perhaps the “Meadows Center” should do some research on the topic. This type of issue seems to be at the core of what they say they do:

    “Following a large gift of $1 Million from the Meadows Foundation in August, 2012, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment will continue the mission to develop and promote programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water resources for human needs, ecosystem health and economic development. The Meadows Center aims to promote a holistic approach to the management of natural systems where key principles of sustainability and equitable use guide sound water policy.”

    That would of course mean that they would have to divert some of their government grant money away from salaries and actually into some meaningful research. Though I guess we should bases these decisions on a “Rule of Thumb”

  10. This article fails to mention that the 10% rule is NOT a proposal that the city or the master plan committee are considering. It was discussed and voted down months ago.

  11. If it will make you feel better, 20% is too high.

    And not every regulation is a taking. Zoning, SOB laws, items related to safety such as pollution standards, etc etc are NOT takings. Pure and simple.

  12. I heard Thomaides and Lewis say the 10 percent rule was rejected but I listened to the tape of the Oct 1 meeting in which it was discussed and the committee just said they wanted to delay a decision. Maybe it was discussed and rejected at a steering committee meeting but people on both sides of the issue remember it similarly to the way I do.

    Unless there was a decision made that most committee members, including the chair are unaware, I’m calling BS on the Thomaides/Lewis assertion that this proposal has been rejected by the committee.

  13. I agree with LMC. We should all take immediate steps to boycott the Meadows Center…..

  14. Two thoughts on this: just up the road is a great example of how develop over a recharge zone, Austin’s SOS ordinance. You can see how this has played out in the development of the Circle C Ranch. I might be wrong, but I think their impervious cover is 15%.

    Second, the more regulations like these come along, the more expensive it makes housing. If you think there is not enough single family middle class housing in San Marcos,limiting impervious cover to 10% should be the last think you would want.

  15. LR, Circle C is a classic how not to example. The developer went into bankruptcy. There were/are serious questions as to where money went. The buyers sued because the MUD taxes were not properly disclosed. The veloway got named by the City, in which it was not, by a now disgraced rider. Nuff said.

    Will a 10% impervious requirement make new homes, or for that matter, all homes more expensive? With out a doubt. Will a depleted or polluted water supply make development much more difficult? With out a doubt. It’s always a question of trade offs, compromise. A balancing act.

    So, the voters need to look at the parties here. A failed politician, a car salesman, real estate agents (please note I don’t consider most of these people to be real developers, they don’t have the skills) I may not agree with Jaimy on a lot of things, but at least his heart is in the right place. Progress isn’t measured in dollars.

    What do you want your children or grandchildren to inherit?

  16. We all have to ask ourselves, at what cost? Who do we screw to get ahead?

    The bean counters at megadeveloper inc are only worried about the cash flow. Can the buyer actually afford the home, not an issue, can we qualify them for a negative amortization loan by cooking the books, that’s the question. Just look at the foreclosure rate on megadevelper homes.

    Can the water supply handled a thousand new homes? See above. They don’t care. Can we get in and out and make a profit at someone else’s expense, that’s a different question. How selfish are you? Ask yourself.

    Personally, I bought enough land to make a small difference. No pesticides, no herbicides, less cedar, more native grasses, more recharge. Not what I ask of anyone. Just give a damn.

  17. I would like to know how many watersheds were studied to reach this conclusion and what the age of development was for each one. With the knowledge we have today it’s hard for me to believe development today would be in any way comparable to what developed 5, 10 or more years ago.

    Winchester, I don’t think picking a few of the signers of the petition to insult (repeatedly) is helping your case. And while we’re all duly impressed with your familiarity with Circle C, none of your criticisms have any bearing on acceptable impervious cover.

    This is a very serious consideration affecting many millions of dollars of property value for owners and for the city. It should be made with a complete examination of all the available science.

  18. SM none of those you believe I insulted, even if it was just mentioning their bona fides, are qualified to testify on runoff, or recharge. Is it ‘insulting’ to pint out the fiscal nature of their comments?

    Thanks for noting my knowledge of another questionable development. Those who don’t know are bound to repeat. Please note it was Mr. Rasco who introduce Circle C, and further that I didn’t mention the Circle C impervious groundcover, only that it was a fiscal failure.

    I heartily agree with your third paragraph. None of those appearing at the council against an impervious groundcover requiremtment were scientists. Thanks.

  19. Please do as SM95 requested. Examine the science. Not the “we think” ” we want’ that has been provided so far.

  20. I find it troubling that some in San Marcos would hope to follow , let’s say a ” Greecian” approach, one that has been proven failed, flawed, and unsustainable,when dealing with issues such as development, watershed protection, etc. By not breaking something, one does not need to figure out how to repair it! Check out how many taxdollars ( The battle cry of developers) our city will save by not following a path to ruinous results in our creeks, watersheds, recharge zones, etc., as for example the taxpayers of Austin are now faced with. I applaud the hard work of the past and current master plan participants, engaging in the process, unpaid and often under-recognized,and my hope is that our city will have a reasonable path forward for all of its citizens as a result of their passionate contributions. Now, maybe we can convince our council, and especially our mayor, that their duty is to represent ALL of the citizens of San Marcos, not just the power brokers that have been forcing their plans on those that tragically get in their way. Transition? I hate that word, and refuse to succumb to the unwanted reality that it represents. :-)jlb

  21. When I mentioned Circle C I did not have in mind its finacial success, or lack thereof. I was seeing it as an example of how you can develop over a recharge zone, last time I checked people were still swimming in Barton Springs.

    There are to many in our fair city a stupid polerization. Your either a greedy developer bent on turning the river into a sewer, or a fanatical no-growther. No in between.

  22. I’m having problems with the math.

    “…26,545 acres of the city limits that overlap with the recharge zone. Currently, about 315 acres of the 26,545 is developed as impervious cover. With current EAA regulations and the city’s density rules, about 8,000 new homes — one per 3.19 gross acres — could be built in the recharge zone.”

    But under development agreements – like the one being proposed by the Lazy Oaks Development adjacent to Purgatory Creek – they will be able to construct 1,750 homes on approx. 1,396 acres. Hmm. So much for the city’s density rules. LOL Looks like development agreements are the way to go!

    So, after that development is built out – it still leaves 24,834 acres over the Recharge Zone. If the remaining acres are also developed under similar development agreements – you could see tens of thousands of homes built over the Recharge Zone. And NOT a maximum of 8,000.

    You won’t have a Recharge Zone left.

    I’m just not feeling all that reassured by the numbers being thrown around by City Staff.

  23. According to Mr. Will Conley, “avg wage is $11 to $12 an hour, bi weekly payroll is around $30,000”

    Actually it is $23,000 per year per person w/o tips according to your statistics. Do these stats reflect salary, and or salary plus tips? Is that a week’s pay, or “pay dirt” spikes when fans line up to have their pickup trucks made shiny for football tailgate weekend parties?

    “You have your right to your opinion just like we all do.” Actually, each resident has a right to a 3-minute citizen comment period. Yet your petition looks more like a Jerry (SHOW ME DA MONEY!) Maguire’s mission statement, on opposite day.

    I always welcome open lines of communication, but am opposed to utilizing public venues as a bully pulpit giving special preference to public policy that promote personal “investments” which is exactly the advocacy preached recently as public record.

    Place yourself on the opposite side of the continuum. So many responsible residents who support responsible growth have waited to long a long time for this to be encoded into policy and have witnessed innumerable times, these solid plans usurped by behind the scenes shenanigans.

    May all the citizens of San Marcos be afforded the monetary and educational opportunities some have experienced to open their own small businesses. And, may those that do not have such a towering station in life due to lack of educational opportunities or funding not be perceived as having a lesser voice, even when they participate in the process afforded to all COSM citizens.

    I certainly hope any employees of these businesses who sign petitions on the other side of the argument are not targeted for retaliation.

    Commissioner Connelly, perhaps next time you step before the Dias, mentioning your speaker credibility, as an elected official would be in order.

    I have read the facts Will and the situations for water restrictions and types of businesses allowed to carry on. If you were such a good steward then why advocate loosening development restrictions and support-increased development?

    Where is all the water going to come from?

    Best Regards, LMC

  24. Mr. Rasco, Circle C can not be taken out of the context of the economic disaster that it was. Bankruptcy, allegations of fraud and fiduciary misappropriations, the outrageous MUD taxes. While Barton Springs may have been the rallying point, and the focus of voter ire resulting in the failure of any of RULE to get reelected; the hydrology would seem to be that the area developed, well to the south of Barton Springs actually has any thing to do with its water quality.

  25. What in the world do the FINANCES of Circle C have to do with appropriate development over the Edwards?

  26. This letter shows us a democratic process at work, but also an uninformed group of stakeholders and reveals the need for a lot of education and outreach on land management. Obviously not their forte, which is why we need a diversity of input. That letter seems a bit like an allergic reaction to anything threatening their current habits and custom.
    The 10% proposal, as mentioned before in the comments, was not accepted. imposing regulations on a very sensitive area is a very normal thing to do. This is the second largest spring site in Texas and a recharge zone on which many people depend on. Not doing so simply is shortsighted and will result in very clear consequences. Note that our river has already been declared impaired by the TCEQ and been placed on the 303d list! it means it is officially below the standards of quality set for its intended use and it needs to be fixed.
    The meadows center has been tasked with writing a watershed protection plan (WPP), starting in jan 2012. it will result in recommendations, not a mandate yet. But if it is not able to improve, as Jaimy mentioned this already at council, or gets worse, the next step will be a mandate by EPA and TCEQ to clean up the mess. that is usally paid for by the community, not just the stakeholder group that signed this letter. In this case, an ounce of prevention is better than a terraton of cure. Problem is, it will take years to implement the WPP and the water quality will keep going down in the meantime. that cure could cost citizens much more than a small increase in design and build fees for construction in a recharge zone. That should be what you worry about so let’s get working on ways to properly build in the recharge zone. And if you dont want to do that, there are still plenty of areas outside the recharge zone.
    I hear you loud and clear, stakeholder group: We need to protect housing affordability and livelihood. I would think that would mean you would back any measures that will allow smart land management and preserve our assets for the long run. its just smart policy. It just means we all need to start an honest conversation on where and how can we keep building. That is why there is a comp plan steering comittee and a revision of the LDC.
    I am listing to the chief science officer of the meadows center, and his statements backed by federal studies and am educating myself on how to integrate watershed protection practices in my business and my home located on the transition zone. One thing i already know, is that a weak tree preservation and no WPP aswell as an SF6 zoning in a recharge zone is simply nonsense.
    signers, I encourage you to make your voice heard during the WPP writing process and think of the short and long term future of our area.

  27. Understand that the “stakeholder” process is NOT designed to create a representative group. It is designed to bring all the important “power players” to the table, so that any kinks in a proposal can be ironed out away from the public eye. The goal here is to create just enough buy-in, just enough kickbacks, and carve out just enough concessions that whenever this actually comes before the council for a vote everyone with the political clout to oppose the item has already been appeased, or outright bought off.

    It would seem then that Mr. Rose’s concern is that the development community has not received sufficient concessions yet. The 10% proposal failed months ago; it is being brought up now merely as an excuse to reopen debate on other items where the development community believes it can carve out further kickbacks and concessions for itself.

    I think we will quietly see a couple changes to appease concerns about underdevelopment in the recharge zone. When this item finally comes up for a vote, expect to see Rose, Morris, Theriot, etc in the room to make sure their concessions do not get cut out at the last minute.

  28. Mr. Rasco, I assume you know that Circle C is to the south and at a lower elevation than Barton Springs. Which makes runoff due to whatever the impervious ground cover a non issue as to Barton Springs. The closings of Barton Springs, since Circle C went in, are a direct result of runoff; flooding and nonpoint source pollution. That is more an issue of development such as Barton Creek Mall; or for the entire City of Austin, northwest hills. Circle C and its relationship to the San Marcos impervious groundcover issue is at best disingenuous.

    SM, the word you were groping for is ECONOMIC, and since the focus of the initial article is BUSINESS, and they wanted to impart their message with their EMPLOYMENT, it is, in fact, an issue. FINANCES, would bring into play the large number of negative ARMs that were used to initially purchase properties within Circle C, the defaulted development loan, which lead to the lender failure, which resulted in a taxpayer bailout. And again, one must take the development in the complete context. Further, I state again, Mr. Rasco brought Circle C into the discussion, not I; I only pointed out some of its warts.

  29. First, let’s call it like it is. This (Lazy Oaks) isn’t about quality development but rather building more student housing. The developer will tell one group it’s Estate housing and then make an application for as many as 4.6 houses per acre. Sound a little like the Retreat or Sagewood to you? As a resident of Fox Ridge, we are looking at a “developer” who doesn’t really want to build but wants the city to award it entitlements so that it will have something to sell to the next bunch who will give us more of the junk that has been built in our nice town. Shouldn’t a developer seeking approval have to demonstrate that it has the ability to do what it says it wants to do? Regarding development to the west of town, there ought to be respect for the unique nature of the land to the west. It is not the same as that found to the east of the fault line. As it stands, there is little regard for the unique geological formations and wildlife characteristics found of this tract of land, notwithstanding what the same developer said about the same property when it was trying to sell it to the county for nature preservation. So that you will be clear, this same developer will promise anyone anything in order to get this deal done. As one of his consultants told a group of “Business leaders” in town, “Get on Board, this is a done deal”. Show up on December 4th and City Hall and let the Council know that they have the ability to make smart decisions and are not bound by what the developer’s promoters say.

  30. Interesting weekend, went to Lake Buchanan for Thanksgiving. The lake is ordinarily about 50 yards from my brother’s home. Thursday it was at least a half mile away. Question to the city staff who proposes to furnish water to Lazy Oaks—assuming the developer can pay for the infrastructure–which we know it can’t because it is only trying to sell the deal—-where does the water come from to go into the pipes that the developer cannot afford to buy or lay? Isn’t this the kind of financial nonsense that has got our country in the shape it’s in? Why is the owner of a title company so interested in pushing this deal? $$$$$ Why do most of the realtors pushing this deal live in places that wouldn’t permit this deal.$$$$$ If you have any doubt go to google maps and look up the realtors signing this letter and see where they live—on the publicly owned parkland boundaries. A lot of the people that signed that letter are friends but they are putting their financial concerns way ahead of what’s good for our community. As for me, I never realized what a good and necessary friend the San Marcos River Foundation is for us in this town.

  31. Soechting is right. The landscape has changed. In so many ways. We no longer have land developers who see a project through from the beginning to the end. And take pride in helping to build a city. Now days, they are merely real estate investors with no interest in the health or future of our communities. They bundle capital from a large group of investors, purchase land, obtain entitlements from the city (infrastructure, zoning, etc), and then flip it to a national homebuilder. The greater the flexibility, the greater the return on the investment. Check out the website of the Walton International Group. They spell it out pretty clearly. And they have developments all over Hays County. But they won’t stick around for the final product or feel a need to be vested in the final outcome. They will be long gone by then. It’s the new model for land development. And the only way to ensure our communities continue to be a place where we want to live – is for our city councils to realize this and protect our future.

    And I remember a time, not so very long ago, when the business leaders of San Marcos, Kyle Buda actually cared about the future of our towns. That’s why they were referred to as the “leaders.” It was a title that was earned. Not from the amount of money they “earned.” But from the respect they received. They worked hard to make our towns the best places they could possibly be. What would San Marcos be without the parks lining the river? That didn’t just happen. It took leadership. From the politicians – and the business community. It took vision. And it makes San Marcos a desirable place to live.

    A town’s Comprehensive Plan is all about formulating a vision for the future. It’s very sad that the business men (as represented in the letter) can’t roll up their sleeves and get to work with the rest of the community on formulating that vision. Working side by side with them, the way it was done in the past. Guess they are just too busy…

    And my apologies to those businessmen and women who have been working hard to improve our towns. All along. I know they are out there. They just don’t feel the need to shout out their accomplishments. My comments are directed to the men and women who felt the need to sign this letter.

  32. I wonder how all of this is going to change the landscape of San Marcos, Kyle-Buda and the Hill Country in the next 10 years?

  33. If the type of big box, high density, chain-type development continues, all of the towns that are mentioned as separate entities above will just be one big place, let’s call is A-SA. Every 7 miles there will be an identical big box development with the same chain stores and the same chain restaurants surrounded by cookie-cutter biege homes and oversize rent-by-the-bedroom student party apartments. What San Marcos needs to do is set itself apart from the herd (and maybe leave room for a herd). Let’s be the quality place to live. Let’s be the right-size town. Let’s be the place where business leaders are also community leaders because they work AND live in San Marcos. It is time for the City Council to consider their own goals and protect our community, protect the river, protect the aquifer and listen to the people that have made a commitment to San Marcos by living here. Reasonable, sustainable development that benefits San Marcos and protects our natural resources will happen. But this density of housing over the aquifer, the many many tooooo many student style apartments and the carpetbagger developers need to be held in check. Let’s think about the future of San Marcos and protect that future.

  34. Mary–Exactly. San Marcos’ uniqueness is and will be the source of our competitive advantage. We need to enhance and “develop” the characteristics of our community that sets us a apart.
    The Gallup Organization has done a massive study on what makes people want to live in a place. I encourage everyone to go to http://www.soulofthecommunity.org/. The study reveals the factors that create resident attachment and lead to an economically and culturally thriving community.

  35. Those that would profiteer our future at the peril of over 1 million dollares per mile for restoration of watersheds, creeks, etc, must not be allowed to orchestrate forced transition of those that choose a different path for our city. Just last week at the same meeting that realtors, develpopers,financoiers and area business leaders made a push for more of the same fast track reckless developement, there were also over 1.5 million dollars in items related to reporations of our river eco-system that are primarily related to flawed developement practices around and above ( Sessom Watershed, Sink Springs Watershed, Purgatory Watershed ) our beautiful jewel The San Marcos River. Please educate yourselves and realize that this is just the beginning of course corrections, and, when the big hammer falls and EPAS, TCEQ, etc mandate reporations the taxpayers will be picking up the bill, just as they are now in Austin! Destroying watersheds and neighborhoods for the sake of student housing must at last be halted, it is simply bad math to continue such greed-driven, reckless planning, land develpement codes must be amended to chart a new course forward. Be Happy :-) jlb PS- Please attend the Planning and Zoning meeting tonight and voice your opinions, ideas, hopes and dreams for a better San MArcos for all of its citizens! Holland St re-zoning, Capes Camp PDD, and LAzy Oaks are on the agenda.

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