The San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission will wait until April to make a decision about the Buie tract. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission once again postponed a vote approving or denying land-use and zoning changes to the controversial Buie Tract last month with expectations of taking up the matter again on April 13.
Assistant Planning Director Matthew Lewis said the request to postpone the matter comes from both city staff and the developers due to unfinished business. Lewis said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has not completed its geological assessment on the property. Thus, city staff has not had the opportunity to review the information.
In January, P&Z commissioners were scheduled to take a vote on the property owned by Craddock Avenue Partners, LLC, but both city staff and the developers requested a postponement to await the results of the TCEQ report, which is yet to be finalized.
The Buie tract, adjacent to the Franklin Square, Oak Heights, and Westover neighborhoods in the western reaches of the city, is proposed as a mixed-use project. The project has come under strong criticism from the adjacent neighborhoods, except for Franklin Square, where homeowners have favored the project. Much of the opposition is due to the Buie tract’s location on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and the potential damage to the area and natural features.
The Franklin Square Homeowners Association wrote a letter of support after the developers promised the neighborhood a gift of five acres to be privately used as parkland, leaving adjacent neighborhoods and the city without access to the gifted property.
The San Marcos City Council approved a land development agreement for the Buie tract at its Dec. 1 meeting. The agreement addresses density and site design while setting triggers for annexation of property involved with the next two phases of the project, which aren’t proposed to be developed. Craddock Avenue Partners proposes to develop about 45 acres of the 174.24-acre Buie tract. The development is scheduled to go in the tract’s first phase, which has been annexed into the city in its entirety.
For the purposes of zoning, Phase One has been divided into four tracts, with two for mixed-use development and two for multi-family development. The land use map amendments, if approved by P&Z and later by the city council, would change from Very Low Density Residential (VLDR) to Mixed Use (MU) and Medium Density Residential (MDR), while the zoning changes would move from Single-Family (SF-6) and unzoned to Multi-Family (MF-12) and Mixed Use (MU) on four tracts.
According to city staff, “The proposed multi-family zoning is not as clearly consistent with the Sector 2 Plan or with the Horizons Master Plan … Due to the sensitivity of the property it is not appropriate for the entire property to be developed to a density of 12 units per acre.”
However, staff also said that “the request to designate Tract 1 and 3 Mixed Use and Tracts 2 and 4 Medium Density Residential is a request that is consistent with both the goals/policy statements of the Horizon’s Master Plan and the Sector 2 Plan. Furthermore the change in land use designation supports the following goals of Traditional Neighborhood Design and city council’s goal of supporting environmental protection and smart growth.”