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

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


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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110 thoughts on “San Marcos council okays Cape’s Camp park, apartments

  1. Sour grapes much?

    The City did the only thing they could do – the only thing that made sense to do. Bravo to Council.

  2. what other options did the city have? voters wanted the land, but didn’t want to pay. unless those 200-300 citizens have deep pockets it was only going to be a nice watch party.

    Getting 20acres is much better than nothing.

  3. Time to focus on park rules and park improvements to make the most of this windfall. Need to also look at neighborhood improvements to control traffic.

  4. I was not able to attend the meeting last night but did watch what I could on Tv. I do understand the difficult position the council was in, contrary to what I have heard it could not have been an easy decision to make one way or the other. I think what I am most disappointed in is perhaps the unintended message I heard from the council to neighborhoods. What I heard was welcome 1,000 plus temporary citizens and screw you neighborhoods. There are families in the neighborhoods on both sides of this project which have been in the same homes for generations. Not a one of those people came out in support of this project. I am sure there is an artist rendition of what the “New Community” will look like. I am sure it will show the beautiful river with blue skies above, large trees, people swimming in the river. Birds will be flying through the skies. On the wide sidewalks will be a father, mother, toddler, and the father pushing a baby carriage. Maybe even have a dog on a leash. The problem is that is not real. What is real is the neighborhood of VP. I remember as a patrol officer who would patrol that part of town regularly, a real neighborhood. One that should be the envy of every part of town. It has a church with a pastor who has been in the same church for over forty years. It has a small neighborhood grocery store, parks where YOUNG Kids play. But more important it has established families who love their neighborhood for generations and it has families. The real neighborhood of VP does have the parents pushing a baby carriage as the family walks together. The problem in the real neighborhood, they have to walk on the street because the city will not install adequate sidewalks. Traffic is going to increase through the neighborhood. That increased traffic will be students. I was a student at SWT and I am not against students, they are a vital part of who we are, the problem is mixing that many students in a family neighborhood will not work. Real Communities are not built over night.

    I do believe you can develop along the river. Yes it does flood but I am confident we can through better engineering lessen the effects of the floods on life and property. Maybe as I get older I see things a little different than I did years ago. We have a river in our town, historically most towns do. The early settlers built around rivers for water and transportation. That is not what is unique about our river. If we just see this as a river like any other we have no problem with building whatever we want along that river. We just need to look to our neighbor south of us, San Antonio. We can do like they did. Concrete the bed and banks of the river, control the levels of the river, and once a year, drain the river to clean it. It works very nice for San Antonio and has made billions of dollars for the city. We can do that. But if we realize this river is not just like any other river in the world, we have to take our responsibility as stewards of that river seriously and not sell it to out of state developers who will be gone as soon as the project is over.

    Lastly, Mr. Scott, thank you for what you tried to do in this very difficult case, I just wish you would have listened between the lines of what the city attorney was trying to tell you about how far apart the negations were in the price of the property for the city to purchase. While you do have your first right of refusal, and again thank you for that. What we don’t have is a level of protection where when the time comes to exercise that first right of refusal, what is going to stop the developer from telling the city he is ready to sell at almost four dollars a foot and the appraised value is a little more than one dollar a foot. Are we going to pay more than what it’s worth? Or do we let it become more dorms or strip malls?

  5. Good job City Council! This will be a nice apartment complex along with a 20 acre park for all to use. Good choice.

  6. This might seem like a naive question, and it’s certainly not the main point of the debate that happened at City Hall last night, but will the development actually be “student apartments” or just apartments? In other words, will they only be rented to university students or will anyone be able to live there?

  7. They are student housing much like a dorm. If a young married couple wanted to live there they would have to have two others in their home and each pay for a bedroom. And by the way it is only one person per bedroom so that young married couple would have to sleep and rent different rooms. So to answer your questions it is a student housing project NOT an Apartment Complex.

  8. I have been a resident/homeowner for eight years in San Marcos. I think it is a shame that there is not more of a balance and a push for quality single-family housing in this town. When I say quality I don’t mean cheap homes sandwiched on to tiny lots that all look the exact same. What good does it do to have a lot of parkland when in a few short years it will be surrounded by Sagewood-like residences? Leaving most of the town to people who are only invested in it for a few years if at all is a mistake.

  9. What would have happened if the city refused to rezone the property? I doubt it would have even been desirable to developers who seek to exploit our community if more council members would have played hard-to-get instead of selling out for 20acres. I might be in the minority here, but I am terribly disappointed about this. Rent by the bedroom apartment complexes are becoming the norm in San Marcos, pretty soon the only people who can afford to live here are going to be college kids with mommy & daddy’s credit cards paying for the $700/mo bedroom. I dare someone to walk into one of these places with $2800 to pay in monthly rent, their spouse & two kids & see how that works out. These types of places aren’t going to encourage growth in San Marcos or attract legitimate business. It’s incredibly frustrating to me that all but Thomaides & Prather (THANK YOU to them, by the way) can’t see that. & Is anyone *really* surprised that with key words like SEIZURE and TAX INCREASE screaming at voters they voted those additional two props down? That seems terribly calculated to me…

  10. Wow. What a joke. WHile this is NOT what our city deserves, it is what we get for putting a bunch of short-sighted boners back on council. The dedicated parkland will be flooded with flat-billed caps and jello shots. What to leave a legacy dudes.

  11. With people like you stereotyping our student population in such a way, is it any wonder gown vs town relations aren’t better?

    The river area will be a City park, subject to the same restrictions on alcohol and other items as any other City parks. If the park police make enforcement of this new park a strong point of emphasis in the early going, you won’t have any more of a problem there then you do at any other park in town.

    A word of advice – if you don’t like being around college students, you probably shouldn’t choose to live in a college town.

  12. Dano was that to me? I’m not stereotyping anything. The reason student vs town relations aren’t better are not the fault of “people like me” (also a stereotype if I’m not mistaking) but the fault of them running over us. Do apartments built there have to be student housing? Could they not just be apartments where families & students live together? The relationship issues can be blamed on the developers presenting these types of projects, which are perpetrated when the city council allows them to be built. They discriminate against anyone who ISN’T a student. While I appreciate your word of advice regarding choosing not to live in a college town– it’s not that simple for some of us, like me, who has been here their entire life & want desperately to raise their family here. Are you essentially saying that no one but college students & those who live that lifestyle deserve to live here?

  13. Jennifer, some people say that, more or less.

    Which is why (IMO) many people choose not to live here, opting for Kyle, New Braunfels, Dripping Springs, Wimberley, etc., instead.

    There’s plenty of fault on both sides, for the town and gown issues, and it is a shame, because they are holding us all (university included) back.

  14. This was very sad to watch last night. I think the danger is that as the council approves developments that endanger neighborhoods and the river, the members are sending a clear signal to developers to “come on down.” This was so incredibly unsuitable for student housing and so goes against the new master plan. How could the two members of the council involved in the master plan process have possibly been among those voting in favor? (Ryan Thomason and Daniel Guerrero). I think it’s a little silly to refer to the development as like a dorm, however. Residence halls have large common areas and pretty strict rules of conduct, which these apartments will not. I do think the city needs a separate zoning classification for by-the-bedroom rentals, however, and hope we can push for that. I hope the valuable parkland given as part of this can be used by everyone, not by a handful of university students. I also, IMHO, don’t see how 1050 parking places will possibly be enough for a 1000-bedroom complex. Where on earth with the party visitors park? Along Barbara, etc?

  15. Well Ted, they are gravely mistaking if they think I am going to give up my idealistic dream that students & families can appreciate & live in this town in harmony together. I’m not going anywhere.

  16. TO THE PEOPLE OF SAN MARCOS: When The Woodlands on Cape’s Camp is completed, I plead with you to please come to the assistance of those in Blanco Gardens and Barrio de Pascado and speak as loudly as you did at council. There will be 1,050 parking spots for 1,000 students and all of their friends. They will park in Blanco Gardens and drive through Barrio de Pescado and Blanco Gardens. Our cries alone will not be loud enough to be heard by council. Our only hope is with your help. This park will belong to YOU. Please come enjoy it, help to keep an eye on it and the river, and let your visits to the eastside remind you…PLEASE DON’T FORGET ABOUT US!—Angie Ramirez

  17. Was Steve Drenner bluffing?

    If he wasn’t, then without the PDD the land sits empty. No apartments, but no park either. The owner continues to pay (limited) taxes on it until he sells it.

    If he was, then the city could have acquired the Cape’s Camp parkland at a later date, possibly with funds raised from selling other property.

    Remember, the vote in November was NOT against spending money on the property, just against raising property taxes to buy the property. There are, in fact, other ways to raise funds without property taxes.

    Unfortunately, it seems like many who came to city council last night had a goal (Parkland w/o apartments) and no plan to get there. They put the pressure on the dais to “get the parkland” without making it clear they were happy to wait if it meant avoiding the development as well. Or perhaps I am reading this wrong and most people are pleased. Time will tell.

  18. Excuse me for saying Dano…..but yeah we will stereotype “students” because the vast majority of them that live in places like this have no roots here… To them it is a party town on Mom and Dad’s bill that they will treat as such….let me ask you something as well….have you been to some of these areas of high college partying activity associated with tubing after a hot summer day.. How about you go take a look at the filth that accumulates on the bottom of our river near thompsons’s island after such days and tell me not to stereotype the crowd…unfortunately since any laws the city has have no jurisdiction within the river…these idiots will learn and abuse this right to the fullest…what also bothers me is that now they have an entrance and exit point literally right out their doorstep and if you think a rebellious kid is gonna follow some rules like curfews and such you must be kidding yourself….what will happen is that every weekend the trash cans will overflow with garbage so that those exiting the river here will have choice but to leave it in the surrounding park….that’s our park of course and since usually trash pickup doesn’t happen till the next day it will stay there and eventually wash into our river via wind rain…let me finish by saying that this donation of parkland is a deal with the devil and shame on you council members for falling for it for those who voted to approve this rezoning…honestly rather than accepting this or even it the donation of parkland why was the idea of just not rezoning and leaving it be as it is ever thought of…if it wasn’t for sale to the city then our only option would be through trying to block it by not rezoning…that’s a fight this community would be more than happy to take on even if it lasted years so again a big fail on those specific council members who voted for this….you don’t represent the people and I hope to see you out of office either soon or with the next election cycle….the people of this town will not forget your betrayal of our way of life….also one last things…the thorton’s ancestors would be rolling over in their graves seeing what their descendants did with this land….I hope that eats away at the black hearts they have to sell out to a developer…

  19. I came here over thirty years ago as a student. Like many of us I was blessed to be able to stay here. Over twenty years ago I bought my home, the same one I live in now. I know the value the students add to this community. Not just dollar value but an attitude and diversity. One of the reasons I stayed here. But like the people in Blanco Gardens and VP I knew where the students lived and where they family neighborhoods were. Had I chosen to live in an area which was full of students and multi-family units I would not a leg to stand on to complain. But,the fact is I invested every dime I had and continue to invest every dime I have in my home which was NOT surrounded by DORMS. So to tell me if I don’t like it just move is pretty short sided. There is not a shortage of land in the San Marcos area, there are better areas to build the type of developments which was passed last night. It is not appropriate for family neighborhoods.

  20. Generic stick frame rent by the bedroom dorm units…. Mayor Guerreros legacy. It is what it is, the people elected council members and a mayor that lack the vision that would be required to preserve the natural wonders of our area, this is carved in stone now, unequivacably, without a doubt!And they wonder why single family homes in this area are a non-starter, who would invest here other than entities like Dovetail… jlb 🙂

  21. Rodney, exactly. & The scary part, to me, is that the former “family neighborhoods” are not being preserved as such by our council. I used to live in a “family” neighborhood– my neighbors were 4 guys in a frat with blow up dolls in the front yard & giant parties every Thursday – Saturday with the frequent domestic dispute in the front yard. My kids would literally play in our backyard that was full of beer cans the guests our neighbors had over until 5am would throw over the fence. That’s the very real scenario I fear for those in the Barrio & Blanco Gardens. Where I have been fortunate enough to uproot my family & move with the shifting “family” neighborhoods of San Marcos– I don’t think others are as fortunate. What the city council approved, what these developers are doing is GENTRIFICATION– make no mistake about it. The residents of these communities will be displaced by this type of urban development sooner or later. More land will be sold. Student apartments will be built. Houses that aren’t already will become student rentals that are priced at rates that no family could afford… all the council did last night was tell the city very clearly what the future of San Marcos looks like.

  22. if you people wanted the entire land to become a park, you should have pushed more in favor of raising property taxes to do so. Things like this don’t come cheaply, and the fact that Prop 2 failed meant that paying for a park would be difficult.

  23. I wasn’t referring to you Jennifer. I was talking about the cat who referred to “flat billed caps and jello shots” as a problem to be expected along the river.

    I also never said that there didn’t need to be work done to ensure that the student population respected the rights of our “locals”. Lack of respect for the peace and property of others isn’t simply a student problem though. Ever see Rio Vista on a Saturday evening? That’s evidence of the care and respect that our local population treats “our beloved river” with. Ever been to WalMart on a Sunday afternoon and seen the way our local population treats both the employees and the merchandise? I’d say that the students can’t possibly do much worse than that. It’s flat out dishonest to blame problems with litter, noise, or safety entirely on the student population. If you want to talk about teaching PEOPLE to respect this town, I’m all for it. But when you limit your argument to “students”, then you’re just showing your prejudices.

    There seems to be a prevailing mindset with many people here that simply living close to college students is a terrible thing. Well guess what – it’s a college town! It’s also a town where the student population is growing exponentially and the local population is stagnant. It’s neither practical or reasonable to assume that sequestering the student population to a “certain part of town” is a proper solution. After all, how far away do you push them before you’re happy? And haven’t you just pushed them into someone else’s back yard at that point? Or is it fine as long as it’s not *your* back yard?

    Yes, there are cases where Council needs to ensure the protection of single family neighborhoods against inappropriate development, but this particular development doesn’t fit that description. We’re talking about a piece of property on the corner of the I-35 access road and a major side road. A property that has never been zoned as residential anyway (I believe it was zoned commercial?). A property that will sit across the street from a fruit stand and a convenience store and only at the very edge of the nearest neighborhood. So I don’t buy the “preserving our neighborhoods” argument for a minute. If they wanted to plop this development in the middle of San Antonio Street, Belvin, or even Hills of Hays you would have a pretty good argument. But this property? Not so much.

  24. Why though Dano? Because the homes over in the “historic” streets are appraised better? Owned by well-to-do people who control this town? Nicer looking? Just because it’s the east side of 35 & there is a fruit stand across the street doesn’t mean that it’s worthless to the people who shop at that fruit stand every day, or live in those homes. They are trying to preserve THEIR neighborhoods. I’m not sure how long you’ve lived in San Marcos but those neighborhoods have an incredibly rich culture & reputation in this town to those of us who have been here for a long time. Your application of “if it was San Antonio St” as an argument is flawed. If it can work for one neighborhood, it should be applicable to all. San Marcos is more than a college town to a lot of people here. No one is asking to sequester them, just to give the families here an equal opportunity to stay.

  25. Dano, I’m not fine with this and its not in my back yard. Just for the record my home is in the historic district which you acknowledge needs to be preserved, for that I thank you and will call on you to come to our aid when the next developer comes knocking on our doors. There are apartment complexes and multi family houses both legal and not legal in my neighborhood so again I am not just saying not in my back yard. I think I understand what you were trying to say about the location of this tract of land but please assure me you were not saying because the two neighborhoods we are talking about are on the east side of the highway with smaller less expensive homes are somehow less important and does not matter if we destroy those homes and communities.

  26. I just said San Antonio and Belvin because those were the first ones that came to mind. I believe I also mentioned Hills of Hays, which is far from an affluent neighborhood and it’s east of 35 – but you ignored that in favor of throwing a tired old “elitist” argument at me. Yes, I would feel the same way about a development in the middle of Rio Vista, or even Blanco Gardens.

    But only IF the development was going up in the middle of Barbara St or somewhere along Conway, for example. The thing is, this development is not going up “in the middle of a neighborhood”. It’s going up on the far removed edge of this neighborhood, at the corner of two very busy streets. It’s buffered from the neighborhood by River Road, Cuevas, a tire shop, etc.

    Will traffic increase on the access road and River Road? Absolutely. That’s why we have multi-lane roads there, though. Anyone who complains about increased traffic on an interstate feeder road probably should have never bought a house along an interstate feeder road to begin with.

  27. Enrollment is up 10,000 in the last dozen years or so. That’s impressive growth, but far from exponential, especially relative to the entire city.

    I’d love to hear real discussions about all people respecting the city, and living together harmoniously, but the university doesn’t seem interested. When Sagewood was boiling over, the U was quick to point out that half of the people there were not students (ignoring the fact that this left half that were). Likewise, the city officials seem to have limited interest, developers don’t seem very interested, and many residents are not interested.

    It’s sad. Really sad. There is so much potential here.

  28. I’d still love to see post-mortems on these developments as they go in, to see what works, what doesn’t, and why. The earlier poster talking about friends parking raises a valid point. Many of these developments seem to be under-parked, with the overflow spilling onto neighboring streets. They also attract commuter students, who park nearby and hop on the shuttle to class.

    Unfortunately, we can’t have that discussion, without both sides getting emotional, claiming discrimination, and everything else.

  29. There you go again. This time with assuming those who live near 35 weren’t there before the giant highway was… as if those people have a choice to just pick up & go somewhere else if they don’t like it. I find those kinds of assumptions overly simplified & not actually any real indication of reality. This complex will be smack dab in the middle of TWO neighborhoods. Just because there’s a giant open piece of land next to a highway doesn’t make it “far removed” from the surrounding neighborhoods or that this kind of development won’t spread to those communities next… but I suppose if those people don’t like it, they should just move anyway. I’d like to see you knock on their doors & tell them that. 🙂

  30. Dano, I don’t know you so I would never begin to call you an elitist or any other name.I do have to laugh because every time I have mentioned anything about historic preservation or preservation of neighborhoods I get accused of being a “Rich” White Guy which cracks me up because I am a retired cop and all those years of working on the police department I was called a lot of things but never rich.

  31. I guess it would help if people could at least agree on the definition of “smack dab in the middle”. Because the maps most of us look at show the river on one side, private land behind, an interstate in front, and yes, the *edge* of a neighborhood on the other side.

    If you’re going to claim the Wallace addition as an adjoining neighborhood, you’re really stretching it. But then again, to try to make the argument that you’re going for, stretching it is the only way to get there…..

  32. I agree, it is not smack dab in the middle. It is close enough to impact the neighborhood. Ask the people across the street from the Retreat.

    It would be possible to get a compatible development in that location, but I never hear any discussions about what makes for a compatible development, so we just get to take our chances and hope for the best. That’s a tough pill to swallow, if you have invested in a home.

  33. I’m with Dano. It is time to re-zone San Antonio Street, Belvin Street, and every San Marcos subdivision to allow rent-by-the-bedroom apartments, because we all know students are responsible neighbors and will not damage neighborhood quality of life or property values. I vote we start with Willow Creek, but I’m open to suggestions.

  34. Ahh, I just went back & read that I said Victory Gardens, which is definitely in danger, but was not the neighborhood I was talking about. I am talking about the Wallace Addition neighborhood by Chuck Nash collision & the UPS depot & the neighborhood of Barbara Drive/Conway/River/Etc. Sorry for that.

  35. I have student neighbors pretty regularly. We’ve even had students stay with us, as recently as last year. I’ve had far worse non-student neighbors.

  36. This is an absolute shame. Thank you John and Jude for your vote. This is counter intuitive in so many ways. Make no mistake about it, these are single room occupancy. These are dorms. Professionals wanting to move here who cannot afford a home need not apply . To call this multi family is an oximorron, a real paradox. Cape’s Camp will be Sagewood and the Retreat on the San Marcos River, permanent spring break, girls gone wild, woohoo!!! Yeah, this is going to bring in the families. To Kim Porterfield, there will be plenty of money for the teachers as soon as we pay for beefed up police department, extra funds for first responders,pay for extra cleanup after the wet tee-shirt contest and dole out more tax payer money for law suits after our next flood. I guess you don’t have to worry about evacuation now that you have moved out of harm’s way. As for the mayor,I can’t believe you voted for this after telling your story about evacuating during the 98 flood and not being able to find your parents.
    If it was known for an absolute certainty that a category 3 tornado would hit a certain area with five acres on it, would our city council allow development on it if they thought that they might put a few dollars in the city coffers? You bet they would. Because we know that Cape’s Camp will flood again with absolute certainty.

  37. Actually no, I didn’t. I said “That’s the very real scenario I fear for those in the Barrio & Blanco Gardens” — am I wrong that the wallace addition IS the barrio de pascado & Blanco Gardens is the neighborhood of Barbara Drive/River Rd/Conway, etc? Either way those are the neighborhoods I was talking about for clarification. & when I look at the map, it does appear to me that a development where it is proposed would be right in the middle of those two neighborhoods… with traffic going through them both to access the complex. It just seems like a matter of time before student living expands between the two to me.

  38. Ted, I agree. I am not sure where the term smack in the middle came from but I am not going to re-read all the posts, that really is not important. Of course its not in the middle. To me my biggest disappointment in all of this is like I said in my first post. The unintended message to not only the people who have lived in the two mentioned neighborhoods but the message to all of us who have decided to make San Marcos our homes through the good times and through the bad times. That message I heard and PLEASE somebody correct me if I am wrong but the message is this council does not care what the citizens have to say. What I saw as being different last night from other meetings where people come out in opposition, besides the number of people was the fact it was not the same group who oppose everything. The people there last night were (and rightfully so) in fear for their way of live being changed for ever and only two cared.

  39. Yes, welcome new faces to the same old debate. I am certain that many of the opposition from west of 35 is hoping that you will reciprocate the next time they have a fight like this. I’m sure they would have loved the support with the Buie Tract, the Retreat, etc.

    That a development like this, in a different part of town, brings out new faces in opposition is hardly noteworthy.

    Eventually, we may hit a critical mass of people who care, and actually force some meaningful discussion. Or a whiplash-inducing snap 180 degrees in the other direction, which (IMO) will be no better.

  40. The interstate was built in the mid 50s. Anyone living there who remembers what it was like before 35 came along is pretty old right now, and while I’m not saying that it isn’t sad (to a degree) that the world has changed around them, I don’t think it’s reasonable for them to expect things to be like they were in the 50s either.

  41. I’ll bite – how is the Wallace neighborhood going to be impacted by this development (other than increased traffic on the 35 access road)? It’s pretty far away with a LOT of buffer.

    You can get me believe that there will be an occasional noise complaint from those on the edge of Blanco Gardens and even that traffic in the neighborhood may increase slightly as some choose Conway over River Road….but neither of those items are likely to shatter the very fabric of the neighborhoods.

    Some of the scariest apartments in San Marcos sit on the other end of Blanco Gardens, and the neighborhood hasn’t imploded yet.

  42. Dano, I don’t think it’s reasonable or fair to expect that people who don’t like the way things are developing in the neighborhoods they’ve lived for generations should just leave. In fact, I find it imperative to a thriving San Marcos that our council members protect the people in this community from ill planned, short-term return investment focused development that does not promote integrated neighborhoods of students & families living together but rather encourages university sprawl/take over. I think this development would have been perfect. Elsewhere. Like the decaying Springtown Mall site, where you can walk to the bus stops & campus if you want. We can agree to disagree, though. Thanks for the lively discussion, guys.

  43. OOps the horse had a little life in it. I also want to thank the group for a good discussion regardless of what side of the fence each of us were on.

  44. When those cheap apartments flood, the developer will be long gone.

    When the quality of the river has eroded to a point where a jewel of the southwest is just another sewage runoff behind a strip mall, the developer will be long gone.

    When the writing on the wall becomes clear, that short-sighted greed overcame the best chance to ensure our town’s future, the developer and those marked-for-thedustbin-of-electoral-history council members will be long gone.

    RIP San Marcos. It was nice while it lasted.

    (Don’t mourn, organize!)

  45. The Wallace Addition impact was talked about by several people last night from that neighborhood. In the immediate– there is the increased traffic & deterioration of a neighborhood that is already desperately in need of infrastructure repair & has been neglected by the city. In the long term, it’s the next closest area where developers & real estate brokers will look for area to build & rent to students. I’m not implying they are going to have trash in their yards & call the cops about noise. I am implying that this development is just the beginning of something that we won’t be able to stop…

  46. San Marcos is dying, what was is no more. It is no longer a nice quiet place to live and raise a family, neighborhoods are disappearing. We need more retail and apartments right?? Is that all that San Marcos is to be, a little San Antonio….. Sad sad shame

  47. They’re on Linda Dr behind the old Mrs Bairds store. I think they’re called “Sunset” or “Sundance” or something like that.

    While we are on the subject, though, the Clarewood apartments also sit right on the north edge of that neighborhood…..and the neighborhood survived.

    So far I haven’t heard any concrete examples of exactly HOW the new development will damage Blanco Vista – much less the Wallace neighborhood. All I’ve heard is “Oh noes – apartments are bad and they can’t be near houses!” with lip service paid to traffic concerns.

  48. For reference:

    Sagewood: approximately 28 beds per acre, and probably .67 parking spaces per bed, but that might as high as 1.3 per bed, when people park on their “lawns” and in the street.

    The Retreat: approximately 19 beds/acre and (I believe) 1.05 parking spaces per bed.

    Cape’s Camp: approximately 40 beds/acre (50, if you exclude the buffer at the back of the property) anf 1.05 parking spaces per bed.

    I suspect there will be the same overflow parking issue as other developments (perhaps 30% worse, due to the larger development). Beyond that, like I said, everyone is just hoping for the best. Nobody knows what makes for a compatible development.

    More overflow parking, to handle commuting students during the day and visitors in the evening and on weekends, would be something worth discussing. I’d also (still) like to see some expertise brought to bear on the subject of what makes for an adequate buffer.

  49. The city council should be ashamed of their decision. @Dano, the development of this land greatly affects the environment. I mean yes as you said people are saying that a mostly if not all college kid apt complex right across from a quiet family neighborhood is bad. But you fail in the Clarewood apt zone as that complex is largely separated from the neighborhood in question by a small shopping/business complex. The San Marcos River is home to up-wards of 7 endangered species including but not limited to the San Marcos Salamander and Texas Wild Rice (our river is the only place it grows naturally anymore). Top off this with the toxins, and debris that will find there way into the river during the construction process as well as after college kids start moving in and throwing their trash around…it just makes for a bad set up. That is exactly how it is bad…do you understand now or do I need to dumb it down? I don’t mean that last sentence rudely. Also the whole thing is about money…the Thortons and the city gain a hell of a lot more by selling the land to an out of state company than by the city acquiring it as just a big park. BTW- I have nothing against college kids…I am one…not a right out of high one but still I am in college…but we have plenty of college apts and you know these will not have or allow regular families, and college kids like to party and most college complexes I have seen are littered, etc….I have lived in San Marcos since I was 13 (Im 32 now)…it is a very bad choice. Also the flood of ’98 did cover that land so did the flood of 2000 or which ever year the next one was. The complex right across from that land had at least 4ft of water inside the building with the one in ’98! So if none of these are good enough reasons how about the one where the majority of voters said NO….

  50. Buddy- Now we know why they wanted to get rid of the slogan “A Texas Natural”. This Council and P&Z have no plans in keeping anything natural when it comes to the river and recharge areas. The ironic thing is while Texas State is actually trying to get Aquarena Springs back to a natural habitat along the river our City Council is fine with destroying the river and aquifer elsewhere in the city. Odd.

  51. I’ve read a lot here about the council not listening to the people, and of recall elections. However elections have consequences. Just two months ago there was a candidate, Greg Frank, who ran with the full backing of the neighborhood activists against one of the concil members who voted for this zoniong change last night. Frank lost by a wide margin. You can sign all the petitions you want, show up at the council meetings, file recall petitions, but until we can elect the right coucil member when it all counts, on election day, it won’t mean a thing.

  52. Surely these decisions are not made in a vacuum…what do each of the city council members and planning and zoning commissioners gain from this? Follow the money, starting with Carter Morris. It’d be an interesting read if someone were to trace it all. (Remember who gained financially from the school district sticking Bowie and SMHS way the hell out 123….that decision sure wasn’t made with the best interests of citizens in mind either.)

  53. What interests me is the lack of concern most of you have for our very sensitive ecosystem on the river. What assurances did the property developer make that the construction and mantience of such a property won’t ruin out sensitive river environment? Oh that’s right, none. Also, they will raise the land around the complex to ‘ensure’ that it doesn’t flood, but what effect will that have? How many millions pounds of sand and oil will leak into the river during the construction? What about the effects of erosion?

    Also, if an apartment complex had to be built, why a student only, by the bedroom complex? I object to that style of apartments on such a beautiful space, because my family is not welcome. I am a full time, permanent reesident of San Marcos who will not be able to reap the benefits of this housing.

    All I’m saying is if there ABSOLUTELY had to be a development, I am sure there were much better ones to choose.

    While the university is important, I don’t believe that it’s critical to provide the temporary college students with some of the most beautiful land in town to ruin at their disposal.

  54. Do council members comes to these meetings with their minds made up and nothing that is said never has, and never will change their minds? Or, have any of their minds been changed during the course of a meeting? if the former, then maybe energy should be focused elsewhere. Larry Rasco has a point. I think a group effort to boycott the businesses of all of the fat-cats that show up at these meetings promoting all of these bad actions might be a small thorn in their sides. I have already done this in my preferences of who I do business with in town.

  55. Cool, now Lions can charge extra to let people float down to Cape Road. The residents of the Woodlands won’t even need to pay for the shuttle back.
    The stretch of river between Rio Vista and Cape will be crammed with tubes. We can walk across the river, tube by tube, just like in New Braunfels.

  56. This was a straight zoning case period. P&Z and City Council are never abliged to grant a zoning change. In fact, a zoning change should be the exception NOT the rule as it has become since She Who Must Not Be Named became Mayor 6 years ago. When you are asking for a zoning change, you are asking for a HUGE favor from the City. You must show that the change will be an improvement over the existing designation. The City government’s job is to protect EVERYONE”S property rights, and that does not mean granting a designation so the landowner can milk every last dime from his property. Weatherford, Buie, Carson, Gilmore, Casey, and now Thornton have all recieved special consideration and/or apartment/student housing requests approved thanks to a City Hall that thinks our Master Plan is a suggestion, not adopted by Ordinance. Our planning department is a joke, with not one qualified AICP on staff. I’m glad people ase starting to wake up again in this town, but I’m afaid it may be too late. I’m sick about it…

    Anyway, all Council had to do was deny the request and Dovetail would have had to develop the tract as currently zoned or start over. I’m thinking that despite the threats, they might have just “gone away’, leaving Bob Thornton to go back home to Sun City in Georgetown to think about his next move.

  57. Let us not forget while rattling sabers that this property was never zoned single family – it was zoned commercial. And according to a previous story published on this very site, the master plan that some you are talking about actually called for apartment development in a good chunk of this land.

    This development doesn’t violate our master plan. It doesn’t violate the sanctity of single family zoning. It’s not dead in the middle of an established neighborhood. It sits right on two roads that will handle the bulk of the traffic flow. And let’s not forget that the City got a beautiful piece of parkland along the river for free.

    There are questions as to the environmental impact of this project – to those I say lets just enforce the rules and restrictions that are on the books. You can’t prevent development along the river, but you can make sure the development is done responsibly.

    The only other complaint I keep hearing against the development is that it’s targeted toward students. And that one just doesn’t persuade me, nor should it have persuaded Council. It’s fair to expect college students to respect our community – it’s not fair to stereotype them all as nothing but rowdy drunks.

  58. The designated land uses were commercial (a small portion) with a transition to medium density residential and the remaining or the majority of the tract being very low density residential (1 to 3 units per acre) and openspace. This would have been a much more appropriate land use.

  59. If preserving the river and supporting the middle class are 2 of the TOP 5 goals (as stated by the City Council) – and this development clearly will negatively impact the river and the stable neighborhoods surrounding it – what’s next? The Council is all about image – “we’d love your company because while you might still visit the outlet malls – you are not going to want to live here.”

  60. I have lived in San Marcos now for 23 years. I have seen it change from a quiet little community based on family and community to what the city government now desires… a commercial/ shopping Mecca (cash cow) with a city chock full of crappy, cheap student apartments. What will this city look like in another 20 years when all these apartments become totally rundown and complete eyesores? It is sad to think about where we have gone in such a short time span. Allowing this zoning change is like a slap in the face to the voters who have continually asked the elected city council members to preserve our open spaces. The city continues to sit on their hands, while land developers and property speculators keep coming to town and buying up the last remaining open spaces around us. The city wanted to build the worthless convention center in the upper watershed of Spring Lake, they wanted to develop the upper reaches of Sessoms creek and now they allow another developer to build on the last remaining undeveloped stretch of the San Marcos River within the city limits. I sit here in utter disbelief that the council and other elected officials care more about making a buck rather than preserving the natural beauty of San Marcos. I am afraid of the legacy we are leaving for our children and future generations.

  61. Maybe the pitchforks might be of some use after all that we’re outside city hall last night…a non-representative government is no government at all….maybe it’s time we take matters into our own hands….we weren’t adding for much…just an overwhelming denial of a zoning change…we will not forget

  62. Is anyone else surprised the Mayor voted in favor of this development?! It’s pretty damn sad when the only Mexican on the city council,,, who actually LIVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD,,, and lived thru the FLOOD OF ’98,,, ends up voting FOR the development!,,,

    I wonder if all those hispanics that voted for Daniel in 2010 (choosing him over JT) would make the same decision today if they knew Señor Guerrero would eventually end up selling them down the river,,,

    ,,,ironic isn’t it?

  63. In watching the video, I was surprised by Ms. Porterfield’s comments that this is obviously people wanting more parkland. If she had paid attention at all, she would have realized that people were asking for responsible development. While more parkland is welcome, Capes Camp and the Sessoms project just don’t seem to make any sense for many reasons. Or was she just trying to justify her position? Additionally, she made a comment about income for our city, please correct me if I’m wrong as I don’t know exactly how this works, but won’t the bulk of the money go to the state?

    Regarding the citizens of SM not wanting a tax increase to turn this into parkland was a number ever given on what an increase would mean? Or was this just threatened? My guess is that IF there was a tax increase in order to do this it wouldn’t be much of one.

    Someone made a comment about there being a money trail to follow in this vote (sorry don’t have time to read back through everyone’s comments to see who said it). If there is one, seems this info should be put out there for people to see.

  64. Marie Bachle, stated that the development could impact the “up-wards of 7 endangered species including but not limited to the San Marcos Salamander and Texas Wild Rice (our river is the only place it grows naturally anymore).” While it is important to protect this projects impact on the river all of these endangered species live upstream from this apartment project. I’m not convinced by this project, if you are truly concerned about the endangered species I would start with the issues upstream.

  65. Dano, to be fair– just like none of those opposed know what will happen in the future because of this project– neither do you. You keep saying that people are stereotyping students, but so are you with your defense of them. I actually don’t want to push students out, nor does anyone who is opposed. We are not crotchety home owners shaking our fist at those darn whippersnapper collegians. The opportunities in this community for students & students only are overshadowing & growing disproportionately to the opportunities for professionals & single families. I get what you are doing– I see the point you are trying to make but to be fair: All we can ALL do at this point is hope this apartment complex doesn’t cause further river pollution & erosion, that the toxic waste on site isn’t unearthed & washed into the spring fed river, that the ecological impact upstream doesn’t happen, that the adjoining neighborhoods don’t see their current ways of life, rents, taxes obliterated, that students don’t start migrating & pushing out those who live there because they can afford $700/bedroom while the low-income family across the street with three generations living in the 3 bedroom house can’t/wouldn’t even be offered a lease there, that this development beautifies the east side & starts a renaissance of equal opportunity respectful growth for students & families living in harmony… I am totally with you, I HOPE that’s what the next 10-20 year holds for East SM. It can if we accept the potential for it to go wrong & ensure that it doesn’t together.

  66. RJSMarcos,

    It’s not true to state that “all of these endangered species live upstream from this apartment project”. Texas wild-rice, for one, occurs right alongside this property, as well as downstream.

  67. This current city council has their head so far up their ^%% that they can not even see daylight. They lie and double-talk everything. Remember when the Retreat was being proposed and folks suggested to put it at the old (empty) Spring Town location? City council said that it was “too far from the campus & that the roads & campus parking could not handle the commuting students”… well guess what, Capes Camp is even FARTHER from campus, have the roads & parking improved that much in 1 year? Oh, I forgot… they are to have a shuttle bus, well why didn’t they think of that for the Spring Town proposal?

    The short sighted people who were in favor of this really need to wake up. The current city council & Mayor Guerrero’s legacy will be a sorry, black stain in this city’s history. They have truly taken us 3 steps backward. Way to make the city appealing to long term single family residents.

  68. PS:
    Parkland “donation” = BRIBE

    Lastly, I voted in FAVOR of a tax increase to purchase the land. I wish more people who were against this project felt strongly enough to have voted yes also.

  69. That may be the lesson to learn Jake. Had more citizens been willing to put their money where their mouths are, we might not be having this discussion today.

    It speaks volumes (negatively, I’m afraid) that there were more people who wanted to see eminent domain used than there were people who would have been willing to pay for this “vitally important resource”.

    Of course, it’s always possible that that darned old “silent majority” actually supports the project…..

  70. The response to the recall has been overwhelming. Thank you for all the phone calls and emails. We will soon be breaking out into teams. Our goal (a) stop the development (b) recall (c) gather some good candidates for next election. Thank you for stepping up San Marcos. More details soon on when the petition campaign begins. This has been a community wide effort !!! Call if you would like to get on our list. 512 392 1585 or and

  71. Lisa, Whatever the merit of the recall effort, please consider putting away your ego and letting someone more palatable to more people be face of the effort. Someone who has not been rejected by voters a half-dozen times over two decades. You’re poison to every cause you touch.

  72. The actual zoning was a mixture of commercial and future development. The future land use map shows this as about half commercial and half light residential which is described as 3-6 units per acre which would translate to about 12-24 people/acre. This development is not what was planned for the area and it is unlike anything we have seen so far. It would overwhelm any neighborhood in the city and the fact that it is only touching it on one side doesn’t change that. All the other multi-family that surrounds the neighborhood (the housing project, the apartments on River Rd and Linda Dr, and duplexes at the end of Barbara and Conway) is truly multi-family. The residents are a mixture of young singles, young families, seniors, and in-betweeners. They represent the same mixture that lives in the single family homes. This place is going to be a cross between a dormitory and a South Padre hotel except they won’t go home at the end of the week.

    This was a bad precedent to set. The planning department needs a new zoning classification for this and council should have rejected this until the classification was reviewed.

    The impact on the Wallace Addition will be mainly traffic but since this one went so well for the developers and the same guy owns the other side, I expect they will be back next year to propose a nearly identical development on the south side of the river that will directly impact the Wallace Addition.

    Jude was right – this PDD was not impressive. The purpose of a PDD is that the developer gets something valuable and we get something valuable. They got theirs but we got 24 acres of scraps and 12 parking spaces. This is a beautiful piece of land but there are federal regulations that insured that all but a few slivers were going to remain raw undeveloped land regardless of this PDD. The PDD just moved the land from private to public. But with only 12 parking spaces, do you really think any of the public will get to use it? Every weekend in the summer, there are cars parked on the shoulders of Cape Rd all the way to UPS. The all-day drink, smoke, and float crowd that New Braunfels finally got tired of now come to San Marcos and float from Thompson’s Island down to Westerfield Crossing. So that is who will get those 12 parking places. Those 1000 tenants and 50 of their closest friends will be the only ones able to enjoy this property on the weekends.

  73. Dano wrote, “It speaks volumes (negatively, I’m afraid) that there were more people who wanted to see eminent domain used than there were people who would have been willing to pay for this “vitally important resource”.
    Dano, Eminent domain does not mean the city can take the property without paying for it. Instead, the power of eminent domain gives the government the right to purchase, for “fair market value,” private property that is needed for public use.
    Your ignorance concerning eminent domain demonstrates why the eminent domain proposition was inappropriate for the ballot and probably why it failed. Most voters, like you, thought eminent domain amounted to government theft of private property.

  74. You assume far too much, amd you seem to have poor reading comprehension skills. Read my post again and show me where I said that eminent domain wouldn’t result in the owner being paid for the property.

    I am very much aware of what the process of eminent domain entails – and it’s still a terrible process that should virtually never be an option. It’s basically the government forcing a private party to sell property to them at their idea of fair market value. The whole concept of eminent domain flies in the face of private property rights. Our government should not be involved in the forcible taking of land from its citizens.

  75. I could see that in some circumstances, but not here. It’s not like what I typed was difficult to understand or anything. More voters voted for eminent domain than voted for increased property taxes. It’s an easy concept.

    When someone takes something that I’ve written and adds a ton of their own context to it in formulating their reply, that’s on them.

  76. I suppose when you are in the construction industry, or you are a business development banker, you must be REQUIRED to vote “yes” for any large scale development. Sounds like a great deal of “back-scratching”. The “cronyism” that plagues Washington is just as rampant in local governments all across our country.

  77. Well, I perfectly understood what Patrick was saying.

    While you disagree with eminent domain–as do even I in most cases– this wasn’t going to be most cases. You said it should virtually never be used– we can agree on that. But even you admit that there are times when it’s right. If not this, then what do you consider the right use?

    This would have been an ideal usage of it. Definitely different than when they tore down Rob from the Humidor’s house to put in the Wonderworld Extension & extend the greenspace or when they talked about putting in a round-a-bout off hunter road & discussed seizing the houses where they wanted to put said road– both of which I will assume you were as vocally advocating against as you have been in this case because actual lives & families were displaced, not just hay bales.

  78. IIRC, eminent domain only came into play on a couple pieces of property during the Wonder World construction….and both landowners ended up getting almost double the actual value of their property from the City. Given that the City faces “an unwilling seller” in the Cape’s development I can almost guarantee that, should eminent domain be used to acquire this property the actual price paid would be far more than the $5 million or so at which it was appraised.

    With the citizens of San Marcos unwilling to pay increased property taxes to cover the cost of acquiring the Cape’s Camp property, what magic wand would Council wave to make all those millions of dollars appear?

    So no, I don’t believe eminent domain would be a good tool for the City to use in this instance….if for no other reason than that they can’t afford it. Heck, we can’t afford to properly maintain our *existing* parks.

  79. Dano, you didn’t answer my question. What situation *would* it be an option in? Theoretically, all other considerations aside, if the city used eminent domain on that land 1) it wouldn’t be forcibly taking land from a citizen & 2) they would have paid well over the asking price.

    So now your argument against it is that the city couldn’t pay for it. But there were ways for the city to pay for that land if they wanted to not raise taxes & use eminent domain. If it was important to them & they agreed with 75% of the voters, they would have made it happen.

    For the record, I voted for all three of the props & think the real reason more people didn’t is because of the language that wrongly conjures images of exactly what you described– the man taking land at gunpoint from a family.

    It doesn’t matter at this point though because they didn’t *want* to. If they did, they legally & monetarily could have. They chose not to, with hardly an explanation why.

  80. Aside from the eminent domain discussion, what P&Z and Council have yet to do during their discussion and deliberation is justify the rezoning. At a minimum, Council should be providing to its citizens a strong argument/rationale to the public as to why ANY of these rezoning cases are necessary. Instead they have scripted questions for the developers with rehearsed answers. Anyone notice the Becak-Developer dialog? This deal with our elected leaders was open, transparent, or honest with the SM residents at all. I remember Tomaides making a comment within the last year. Something like, if you live anywhere in town near undeveloped land, you should be very scared. Well, I’m scared and what makes it worse is that I know that even if we provide sound reasons, beg, plead, implore, it will continue to fall on deaf, elected ears.

  81. Please show me where these developments are economically beneficial. I’m all for growth, but not when it comes at the costs of the community. This is a short-term project leaving future generations to deal with it whe these apartments are yesterday’s “hot place to live”. Same with the housing developments they are encouraging. What gets me is the faith by the council puts in people from Atlanta who hold no other tie or understanding of the community than monetary. They aren’t rasing their kids here, swimming in the river or having deep roots here. I’m guessing this development will allow a place for someone to live a year or two, not a highend neighborhood that could allow for less people and development of the land around it, and people to live for many years whom will hold some sort of responsiblity for the river that is in their backyard. Lastly, I heard at some point that in order to be tax positives homes need to be >$215k (give or take a little). not sure how this translates to apartments but imagine we are losing. I’m guessing this is some real estate agents pet project and they are the only one in this community(maybe?) that are benefiting, besides the perks they are giving the city council (another guess?). Besides that it produces some mid level jobs for a manager or two and the rest are a copule of entry level leasing jobs. Eitherway, really sloppy not thought out decision.

  82. Does anyone care that on the next Council agenda is the Lazy Oaks subdivision?

    • A development agreement with the Lazy Oaks subdivision, a 1,396 acre tract in the western portion City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone off Ranch Road 12. A public hearing was held on Dec. 4, 2012. The agreement provides for development of up to 937 acres with a variety of single family residential types, up to 1,750 units, some commercial neighborhood zones and 459 acres of open space.

    Why is the City entering into a development agreement on the recharge zone? The rule is 20% impervious cover limit when building on the recharge zone. The recharge zone = the RIVER.

  83. Also this:
    • Reconsideration ordinance on the Cape’s Camp/ Thompson Island land use amendment and rezoning for approximately 45 acres to a Planned Development District for the Woodlands of San Marcos, a 306-unit, 1,000 bedroom student housing project. The ordinance was approved on first reading 5-2 on January 7.

  84. and THIS:
    Per Sec 3.11 of the Charter:
    (e) Ordinances shall be presented to council and acted on in open meetings on two separate days, unless:
    (1) an ordinance is adopted as an emergency measure by the favorable vote of five or more council members;
    (2) an ordinance relates to the changing of a future land use map or zoning district designation, in which case it may be approved by the city council on one reading only, if all other requirements are met, and the council has the opportunity to vote to reconsider the ordinance at the next regular meeting after the change was approved if reconsideration is requested by a council member who was absent from the previous meeting or who voted on the prevailing side at the previous meeting; or
    (3) the adoption of an ordinance under a different procedure is expressly authorized by state law.

  85. Christine ~ agreed all citizens that do not agree with the zoning changes made for The Woodlands at Capes Camp should write the council and ask them to please consider a motion to overturn the zoning change they voted on.

    This was simply a zoning change, yes this zoning change stabbed the heart of San Marcos and the aftermath via social media is being felt full force now, but there still may be some hope. I ask anyone who doesn’t agree with this zoning change to RESPECTFULLY request that council exercise it’s right to put it to a second vote. Simply not approving the rezoning doesn’t mean that the city has to do ANYTHING more than not allow the apartments to be built period. It does not mean they must raise taxes, use ED or anything else, it simply doesn’t allow for apartment complex rezoning.

    You can email each council member in one swoop with this email

    If Dovetail still purchases the land as they have threatened, they will not be able to carry forward their plans and can just sit there owning while the city attempts to come up with a more appealing plan to acquire the property. If Dovetail doesn’t buy the land and the city indeed insists that we need that land to be on the tax rolls, would it not be more appealing to some that something such as another River pub be allowed due to the commercial zoning? Such a development would likely only make use of a 1/4 of the land the complex would and would possibly allow the city to purchase the rest as parkland while still collecting taxes.

    There are MANY other options our city could consider rather than rolling over and rezoning for apartments that smack in the face of 75% of the population of San Marcos, and I pray that they reconsider and do the right thing or I see a LOT of negative energy bouncing around this town for months and years to follow.

  86. Looks like the Super Fund site known as the 123 Plume wants to be heard. Check out the almost daily disappointment. 1/21/13

  87. I just received my electric bill in the mail with THE CITY EXCHANGE newsletter and I am completely baffled. Was it the same city council that voted for the goals for the comprehensive plan and then voted on Sessoms and Cape’s Camp? Is the comprehensive plan just going to tell citizens what they want to hear and then votes however the developers want? I fail to see how Cape’s Camp fits in with any of the six summaries that were included in this insert. 1. Environment & Resources protection – the only impact the student apartments will have on the SM River is negative – both during construction and the ongoing cars and runoff. 2. Parks and Public Facilities – I guess there will be a park in the flood plain – but not what I consider a “quality” park. 3. Economic Development – if what we want to have 50 years from now is a bunch of run down apartments, we will have that. While the apartments will provide construction work immediately, the longterm employees will be few. 4. Transportation – it is close to I-35, but the apartments are specifically designed for students and the university they attend is two miles away and on the other side of I-35. With the one-way nature of the frontage road, students will be driving through established neighborhoods as a short cut. 5. A checklist under Land Use: Managed growth – NOT HERE, there will be 1,000 students and 1,000 cars, down-town mixed use – NOT HERE, while there are downtown lots that could have been developed, Walkability – NOT HERE, unless you count a convenience store and Cuevas Produce, but students probably won’t walk there unless they are intoxicated, High-Density mixed use – NOT HERE, just the high density student population, Impervious cover – NOT HERE, the footprint of apartment building along with their recreation centers and a hug parking lot. 6. Housing and Neighborhoods – the quality life in the existing neighborhood will be negatively impacted and only students can even choose or afford to live in the style of apartments that are being built. This is not diversity, this is student segregated apartments. Stabilize neighborhoods – that is a joke. While none of the city council members would consider living on Barbara Drive or Conway, many of our families with children do and the student traffic will be dangerous and noisy – so this is another neighborhood that will be destabilized by a large student population. Many people from that neighborhood did speak out against this development. And the last line is a real slap in the face “protect [neighborhoods] from blight or INCOMPATIBLE USES. Is there anything more incompatible than a large student-only apartment complex (perhaps poorly built if the developers past can determine the future) along a beautiful river, right next to an established neighborhood with one-way interstate access be any more INCOMPATIBLE? How can the City expect us to actively participate in this planning process when the final result will be a list like the one above with all of the principles and values in place only to have the city council turn deaf ears to the citizens and turn around and support all kinds of developments that do not even support their own stated goals? I am especially disappointed in the votes of Kim Porterfield and Danilel Guerrero – I voted for you more than once – but I won’t make that mistake again.

  88. One correction, Mary. It will not take 50 years for the apartments now being built to become ratty, rundown eyesores. I’m thinking, oh, 10-15 years or so.
    This will be the legacy of Porterfield, Guerrero, Becak, Thomason, and Scott. They can point, proudly, to the slum on the river and say, “I am responsible for that.”

  89. derp, does the fact that property was NOT zoned multi-family mean anything to you? The developer had it locked up in a contract (more than likely contingent upon the rezoning). The developer said it wasn’t ever going to be for sale, but would he have actually gone through with the deal if he had to sit on land he couldn’t develop? His company ONLY builds apartments and condos.

  90. I think that by expressing an interest in owning the land the city set themselves up for a lawsuit if they denied the zoning. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was discussed in executive session.

  91. Cities have the right by law to purchase property by willing negotiation or by compensated taking. Lawsuits can be threatened by anyone but do not mean they will be successful as it would not have been in this case.

  92. But do they have a right to unreasonably withhold zoning when it serves their interest? That would have been the basis of a suit and it would not have been cheap to defend.

  93. I don’t think that it would be unreasonable to leave the zoning the way it was. The city is not required to change zoning already in place.

  94. A choice not to rezone land in a food plain on the river could never be taken seriously as an unreasonable withholding of rezoning. Their threat of unlawful taking was just that, a threat. The city would have won in court IF Dovetail took it to court after talking to their lawyers about how highly unlikely it would be that they’d win.

    I asked people who know all the in’s and out’s of these laws and they were left scratching their heads about why the city did this. It would be nice if they just got honest for once and told us instead of voting to slap 75.5% of the voters in the last election…and then some….right in the face. Still waiting though and know signs of anyone giving an explanation.

  95. The city is a member of TML and they would have paid for any defense of a lawsuit. A zoning change is not a right and the city council members can vote against one for any number of reasons.

  96. For the record, I’m not saying a withholding of the zoning change is unreasonable – but I would have if I were Dovetail.

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