PHOTO: Bill Taylor chairs a San Marcos Planning & Zoning Commission in May 2013. He served a term on the San Marcos City Council and more than six years on the planning and zoning commission, which he chair during three years of tumultuous years of the city’s development wars. MERCURY FILE PHOTO by JON SHAPLEY
by BRAD ROLLINS
William “Bill” Gregory Taylor, a longtime San Marcos businessman whose career in public service was capped by eventful tours on the city council and planning and zoning commission, died on Friday, Dec. 26.Taylor’s family will receive friends during visitation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2 at Pennington Funeral Home, 323 N. Comanche St., followed by services at noon, also at the funeral home. An obituary posted on the funeral home’s website does not list a cause of death for the 67-year-old insurance agency owner.
During 3½ years on the San Marcos City Council beginning in May 2002 followed by six years on the planning and zoning commission beginning in January 2008, Taylor was a key figure for nearly a decade in population growth and real estate development issues that animate the city’s politics. On the council, Taylor supported hotelier John Q. Hammon’s effort in 2004 to build an upscale hotel and adjoining convention center on a ridge overlooking Spring Lake, a project moved to a less sensitive site on Interstate 35 after residents turned out by the hundreds to protest. With the Hammons project still fresh in voters’ minds, Taylor lost his re-election bid in 2005, failing to make the runoff in a three-man contest eventually won by council member Chris Jones, then a Texas State University undergraduate.
Following his defeat at the polls, Taylor was appointed first to the zoning board of adjustments and later the planning and zoning commission, which he chaired for 37 months beginning in January 2011 during a period marked by escalating popular unease over the city’s changing physical face. With a relaxed style and quick humor that earned the respect of colleagues and combatants, he presided over tumultuous hearings on hot-button development proposals that included student apartments on Sessom Drive and at Cape’s Camp on the San Marcos River.
He chaired the steering committee that oversaw drafting of the city’s 2013 comprehensive plan, a document praised by neighborhood and environmental activists as a marked improvement over its predecessor and for which Taylor was named Central Texas Elected/Appointed Official of the Year by theTexas Planning Association and Planning Commissioner of the Year by the American Planning Association’s Texas chapter.
In a guest column written for the San Marcos Mercury during his unsuccessful 2013 campaign to rejoin the city council, Taylor noted that he had “presided over some of the toughest meetings ever to come before the commission” and said he regretted only a handful of the 1,400 votes he had cast as a council member and planning commissioner.
“From the time I was in high school here, I have loved the city of San Marcos, the San Marcos River and being in beautiful Central Texas,” Taylor said. “… I have always voted for what I thought was in the best interest of the city of San Marcos, even when the votes were unpopular with some people.”
A native of Poteet where he was born on May 19, 1948, Taylor graduated from San Marcos Baptist Academy in 1966 and from Southwest Texas State University in 1972. He served in the U.S. Army’s 49th Armored Division between 1969 and 1975, during the Vietnam War.
His firm, San Marcos-based Bill Taylor & Associates, specializes in writing insurance policies for skating rinks and bowling centers in a territory that encompassed 11 states.
Taylor served as general chair, or “El Jefe,” of the Republic of Texas Chilypiad chili cookoff in 1979, 1980 and 1985. He also served on the boards of the San Marcos Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the San Marcos Convention and Visitors Bureau, the San Marcos Small Business Advisory Board, the San Marcos Main Street Advisory Board and the San Marcos Airport Commission.
Taylor is survived by his four children: Dana Taylor; Aaron Taylor and his wife, Kay; Brian Taylor and his wife, Julie; and Kathryn Taylor. He is also survived by grandchildren that include Styler King, Elizabeth King, Hayden Taylor and Collin Taylor. In addition, Taylor is also survived by his companion, Judy Schneider, and by two brothers: Jim Taylor and his wife, Sarah; and Joe Taylor and his wife, Cindie.Email | Print