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

by BRAD ROLLINS

Moving quickly to nail down terms they see as advantageous, council members voted on Tuesday to approve an unusually narrow development agreement with the holding company behind La Cima, a proposed mixed-use subdivision on the edge of the Texas Hill Country west of San Marcos.

The document is so tightly tailored as to cover only one topic: How quickly the city can annex the part of the subdivision not already covered by a previous agreement.

On Aug. 25, three councilmen serving as negotiators on behalf of the full council issued a broad outline of acceptable terms for major amendments to the standing Lazy Oaks Ranch Development Agreement, approved in February 2013 with the same group of investors investors and referencing the much of the same acreage. In its “position paper,” the negotiating committee sought a timeline under which the city of San Marcos could annex La Cima at the time the developer moves to plat the property into as subdivision. Hays County officials tacitly accepted those terms in a counterproposal sent back to the city.

“I think what we’ve developed is a a fair compromise that is beneficial to the county, beneficial to the city and, I believe, beneficial to the developer because it lets him get started quickly,” council member Wayne Becak, one of the La Cima negotiators, said on Tuesday. The council voted 6-0 to adopt the committee’s position paper, including the annexation timeline.

Then the council took a second vote related to La Cima that was placed on the agenda by Thomaides without the knowledge of his fellow La Cima committee members, Becak and Thomason. Co-sponsored by council member Lisa Prewitt, the resolution “express[es] the city council’s support for the proposed La Cima development project [and] extend[s] an offer of a development agreement.”

The attached development agreement — the offer, as it were — applies only to the 635 acres bought by La Cima last year and therefore not covered by the earlier Lazy Oaks agreement. For this tract, a new, separate development agreement establishes that the city can annex the property at the time it is subdivided, the same timeline that applies to rest of the La Cima land under the 2012 agreement. The new agreement, however, does not address permitted land uses, building density, development standards and other basic elements of most development agreements.

Thomason urged his colleagues to postpone a vote until the full development agreement — the renegotiated instrument covering the entire 2,032 acres — is ready for consideration. He characterized the deal as 98 percent complete.

“We are so very, very close to having this entire thing wrapped up. I don’t want to break the process. … We’ve come a very, very long way,” Thomason said. The resolution was passed, nonetheless, on a 5-1 vote with Thomason voting against.

The agreement approved last night is “an effort to lend some finality to the position of the council,” Thomaides said. The resolution’s co-sponsor, Lisa Prewitt, said it was was primarily intended as a courtesy to county officials to “at least let them know where we stood on the annexation process.”

Outside the meeting, La Cima representative Bob Ward said, “We’re so close on the La Cima development that we thought that this wasn’t needed. If they feel like it’s needed, that’s fine [because] I feel like we’re going to get the La Cima development.”

Ward declined to say if the quicker annexation timetable sought by council members is acceptable to his company.

“I think we’re still in negotiations. It’s not over,” he said.

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6 thoughts on “La Cima deal makes brief, unscheduled pit stop at San Marcos council

  1. Brad,

    It’s interesting that you suggest that Council Members Becak and Thomason were unaware of any item that was placed on last night’s agenda. I believe that under State law, as required by the Open Meetings Act, there is a required public posting of the agenda prior to the meeting. Additionally, the Council packet is available online for the public to view well before the actual meeting date and finally, Messrs. Becak and Thomason were in attendance at the packet meeting on Friday, August 29th, prior to the City Council meeting on the 2nd of September where this item brought up and discussed in some detail. By there being unaware, are you possibly suggesting that Messrs. Becak and Thomason didn’t read their council packet prior to the meeting? I find them both to be responsible member of council and I doubt this was the case.

    As for the resolution voted on, it received a 5 – 1 vote with one abstention by Council Member Prather. It seemed that regardless of the two Council members being “unaware,”as you suggest, in the end, the super majority of the City Council voting thought it a good idea and passed the resolution.

  2. Scott,
    +
    They obviously knew about the Thomaides-Prewitt measure after it was posted on the agenda and at the packet meeting. I am sorry you spent 140-plus words dissembling down that dead-end street, my friend.
    +
    The point is that the committee never discussed seeking council action prior to the full development agreement being ready for a vote. Thomaides acted on his own among the committee members in pushing through this interim, or possibly preemptive, measure. Thomaides needed a second signature to put the item on the agenda and instead of seeking it from Thomason or Becak — who presumably would have been logical choices — he went elsewhere.
    +
    I do not care either way and I doubt Thomason or Becak have lost any sleep over it, either. I thought it was worth noting in this story because it is one of the weird little “tells“ about last night that suggest to me that there are strategic and/or tactical reasons for the mini-development agreement being put on the agenda and Thomaides and Prewitt offering such flimsy explanations for it. Any ideas what those reasons might be?

  3. Brad,

    You are the reporter, not me. Your “weird” comment is just creepy, with no apparent investigative support. Is your article an opinion piece or a valid newsworthy article? Me, just a taxpayer and concerned citizen engaged in the issues of our city.

    With respect to your comment, I think that you meant City Council Member Thomaides when you wrote City Council Member Thomason in the second sentence of your response.

    Ultimately, after suggesting that the city was moving too slowly on providing a response, specifically in comments from Commissioner Conley, the City Council forwarded the city’s definitive position, with the vote of a super-majority of the council. Action requested, action given.

    Let’s move on.

    Welcome La Cima residents as San Marcos citizens.

    Also, in a statement of independence and full disclosure, please note the Conley Carwash is paid advertiser of the San Marcos Mercury.

    Yes, and add that I am a minority owner of this publication with no control over content.

  4. I didn’t say Thomaides and Prewitt didn’t play it well — just that they are definitely “playing” something.
    +
    I’m always wondering what the various sides of hard-fought issues have up their sleeves; I’ve been thinking over the county’s and the developers’ ends of it and see sleigh-of-hand going on there, too. I do not know yet exactly what moves are being made on this particular chess board, just that they’re being made. Until a fuller story reveals itself, I try to write in a way that nods to the unknowns.
    +
    What I do not want is for readers to get the impression that the development agreement approved last night means the La Cima issue is settled. They can certainly expect plentiful campaign rhetoric and literature this month and next that suggest otherwise. I suspect we will not be moving on for some time.

  5. Brad, Brad, Brad, I believe your comments are directed at the Thomaides – Prewitt combination, not Thomason-Prewitt, as suggested, correct?

    Once again, the county, during their Tuesday morning meeting posed the question, what does the city want?

    I believe, definitively on Tuesday evening, the city leadership spoke with broad consensus……….you get city utilities and you are annexed, at the onset of development. Pretty simple, just like all other developments. Why is this so complex?

    Why am I, as a fiscally conservative Democrat, the most fiscally conservative person in this discussion? I thought our Commissioner’s Court was predominately Republican.

  6. You are correct that I keep using Thomason and Thomaides interchangeably in the comments. I believe references are straightened out now.
    +
    Why is this so complex? Because it is not simple.

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