COVER: A swimmer rests on the tip of Thompson’s Island at Cape’s Dam on the San Marcos River during a summer afternoon in August. The San Marcos City Council on Jan. 7 approved a deal that include donation of the islands and nearby Cape’s Camp — a total of 20 acres — for use as public parkland. In exchange, they gave Athens, Ga.-based Dovetail Development the right to build a 306-unit student apartment complex on a portion of 45 acres alongside River Road and Interstate 35. MERCURY PHOTO by JAMIE MALDONALDO
by BRAD ROLLINS
The San Marcos City Council on Monday approved a developer’s request to build 306 student apartment units on a prime piece of riverfront property at Interstate 35 and River Road. The package includes donation to the city of 20 acres of future parkland along the San Marcos River’s northern bank, including the areas known locally as Cape’s Camp and Thompson’s Islands.
The measure was approved 5-2 with council members John Thomaides and Jude Prather voting against. Mayor Daniel Guerrero and council members Ryan Thomason, Shane Scott, Kim Porterfield and Wayne Becak voted for the development and the parkland donation.
“This is a challenging decision. It is especially challenging to me because this is is my neighborhood. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 25 years,” said Guerrero, the only council member who resides east of Interstate 35.
The planned development district entitles Athens, Ga.-based Dovetail Development to build a total of 1,000 bedrooms in three-story buildings clustered along River Road. In addition to the parkland donation — which the developers noted amounts to six times more acreage than city ordinances require them to dedicate – Dovetail will contribute $75,000 to help establish the riverside open space and will build a 10-foot-wide crushed granite trail connecting parking on Cape’s Road to the heart of the park.
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