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March 23rd, 2008
City Panel to Discuss Neighborhood Issues Monday

By Melissa Millecam
Communications Manager
City of San Marcos

The San Marcos City Council will hear a panel discussion about community policing issues and enforcement at a special workshop starting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 24 at City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins

Loud parties, alcohol offenses, litter and trash, parking, traffic, and how City departments and ordinances deal with the issues will be addressed by Assistant Police Chief Lisa Dvorak, Chief Howard Williams, Fire Marshall Ken Bell and City Attorney Michael Cosentino.

The workshop is open to the public and will be televised live on Time Warner Channel 10 and Grande Communications Channel 16, and video-streamed live on the Internet.

Assistant Chief Dvorak and Chief Williams will discuss the Police Department’s approach toward problem-solving in neighborhoods where noise, litter and alcohol-related offenses are causing neighborhood deterioration and conflicts. They will review current ordinances on the books, how complaints are handled by the department, and lay out short term, medium term and long term solutions that could be considered.

Bell will briefly review the recent effort to develop a rental registration or permitting ordinance, while City Attorney Cosentino will discuss City ordinances that are aimed at dealing with problems in troubled neighborhoods.

Municipal Court Judge John Burke will also be present to discuss the municipal court process in handling ordinance violation cases.

Following the presentations by the panelists, Mayor Susan Narvaiz will invite attendees to submit questions in writing for the panel to address.

The City Council will then discuss several policy issues and give direction to staff.

PHOTO SOURCE: City of San Marcos website

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0 thoughts on “City Panel to Discuss Neighborhood Issues Monday

  1. Yeah. We heard it too and our place is fairly isolated from the noise.

    We had guests from out of town who commented over breakfast that “people really enjoy their parties here”.

  2. I know this is late, however I thought I’d see if the city codes were going to be enforced. Ken Bell is a neighbor of mine and it seems to me that when he arrives at his office that is where he stays. I see no evidence of code enforcement here in the Rio Vista area. Property owners and mgnmt complained that ” another level of city government” is not needed. Well I say we fire him! I say let the ‘Rental registrations’ pass! But I guess in the end those with the $ backing will pull the strings. How sad is that. WE HAVE A CHANCE TO CHANGE THINGS IN NOVEMBER. BOOT “HER” OUT!! SEND A MESSAGE TO COUNCIL!

  3. Though we all know about Sagewood (and sympathize) the historic district on San Antonio St and Hopkins aren’t getting any help either. We do call the police, but repeated warnings are making no difference to those students. The university should step up to the plate too- but won’t. Here is their “Contact Tx State” page, so that neighbors can voice complaints. I used it and received no callback or contact- but you can try. City govt.and the University are putting this on the police- who can’t solve what the city won’t. For now- we have to keep calling and hope that the police won’t keep giving loud parties, traffic issues, and drunken students a slap on the wrist. I hope voters start really paying attention- things are not getting better in this regard, they’re just being shoved off on different depts.

  4. K,
    Unfortunately, a lot of people have behaved poorly on both sides. There are plenty of students who are responsible neighbors, but there are also lots who aren’t. The city refuses to consistently enforce existing codes or deal with problem areas in town, which legitimately makes permanent residents mad. This has been going on for decades. There were shady political dealings in regards to the Sagewood development, which just moved some of the problems out of the Haynes St. area. Current Sagewood residents aren’t doing themselves any favors with the permanent residents when the parties go on until 4 am and a crushed Bud Light box is the most common plant. Just because students do pump a huge amount of money into town, doesn’t mean that permanent residents should have to put up with unlimited bad behavior. There needs to be compromises made on both sides to come to a solution, unfortunately many permanent residents feel like they’ve been the ones making the compromises for a while.

  5. Ummm, I don’t see hatred, or much of anything about students, other than a means to contact the university, in addition to the local police.

    I do see a lot of tension between both sides.

    Yes, the students put a lot of money into the economy, 10% +/- from what I can tell and the university puts another 10% +/-. Does that mean that when people’s houses are knocked off their foundations by drunks, or people speed down dead-ends, crashing into a residents property and fleeing when their car catches fire, or pass out in our garages, we should not complain, because they might be students and they are excused because of all the money they feed into the economy?

    The rest of us put money into the economy too.

    We all have to live together.

  6. Also, a HUGE number of complaints about all night parties on Sagewood and in similar problem rentals come from other renters and yes, you guessed it, students.

    So, it’s not just the students who are causing problems in places like Sagewood and it is not just the non-students who are fed up.

  7. I couldn’t agree more with all your responses. Perhaps hatred was not the right word choice. It is nice to see that people understand that not ALL students are causing problems. I do see problems that are caused by my fellow students and I am embarrased by it. To me it seems that “permanent” residents use Sagewood as an all encompassing representation for Texas State students and that is not fair.
    Aside from economic contributions, students do a lot for this community through volunteer work. Take Bobcat Build for example. This program brings out thousands of students to serve this community. Pack it up and pass it on, a free garage sale at the end of spring semester, provides countless items(furniture, electronics, clothes, etc…} to needy families throughout the city. These are just a couple POSITIVE things that students bring to this town. Students volunteer time for tutoring of younger townspeople and a number of other worthy causes as well.
    I would also agree that the city has dropped the ball with code enforcement and handling students. Often times when SMPD shows up at parties, they simply make everyone leave. What’s wrong with this picture? Sometimes as many as 100 drunk students are told to leave a party all at the same time. Most of the time they drive home and there simply aren’t enough officers on duty to stop the drunk driving.
    I agree something needs to be done, but I am not sure what. One thing I know is that more and more students will be graduating and settling as permanent residents in San Marcos due to its geographic location between two good size job markets. You will start to see more student political involvement on the local level, and instead of resisting residents should embrace it. All sides need to work together to fix what is wrong, and if that does not happen nothing will ever be accomplished. As students gain more representation in local politics, it should help bring opposing sides together.
    If nothing else we have getting some hits and that’s a good thing.

  8. Good points and if more students condemned what goes on on Sagewood, more non-students might recognize that Sagewood is not comprised of only students and not representative of the university as a whole.

    We all (or most of us) really appreciate contributions like Bobcat Build and even the money, but we’re a little defensive when it comes to statements that make it sound like (or come right out and say) the city would not be here without the university.

    As for students staying, as one who did and being married to another who did, I can say that very few do. Interestingly, some leave immediately, either because of job offers, or graduate school, or because they just always planned to settle down elsewhere, but others, like me, thought they would always stay here, only to find that with each passing year, we identify more and more with the “locals” who complain about the drunk driving, litter, speeding through residential neighborhoods, all-night parties complete with blaring music, squealing tires, screaming partiers, fights, accidents and occasional gunshots. Then we have a few tastes of the university’s tendency to deny any responsibility for anything that happens even 10 feet from campus and to show a lack of interest or willingness to take the city into account when making decisions that impact an awful lot of us, and we leave.

    I can’t think of anyone I went to school with who is still in town and my wife only knows of a couple who might still be here.

    At times, it really feels like the alums who stick around are more bitter toward the university than anyone else. I wish it were not the case and I do not believe that it needs to be that way.

    In fact, there are many college towns where the students stay after school and large numbers of non-students move to town for the vibrant community and those towns are thriving, even when the economies around them are in really rough shape (a problem that we, thankfully, do not have right now).

    I’m actually working (slooooooowly) on some projects to help bring the two groups a little closer together. I’ve just got a lot going on and sub-optimal time management skills, it seems, so things are taking time to get moving.

    As a resident and a voter, you could make a huge contribution (IMHO) by demanding better performance from our local schools. It is appalling that so many people fail to graduate and so many of the graduates do not qualify for admission to Texas State (or just about any 4-year college in many cases). The low number of grads who even take the SAT speaks volumes to whether some of these kids even see college as an option.

    If the kids have it in their heads that college is not in their future, how do you think they view the college and the students?

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