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

January 18th, 2012
City sets sessions on downtown architectural standards


The City of San Marcos will hold public meetings to discuss adding architectural standards to the downtown development code on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and from 7-8 p.m. in the new second floor meeting room of the LBJ Museum at 131 North Guadalupe Street.

City staff and Winter & Company, a planning and design firm recommended by the San Marcos Historic Preservation Commission, will present architectural models created based on feedback from a public workshop held in October.

The San Marcos City Council approved the Downtown “SmartCode” in April 2011 with an additional provision to develop architectural standards for the code within a year. The code establishes development rules specifically for downtown San Marcos that are based on building form rather than uses.

“We are developing the architectural standards to protect the integrity of historic downtown,” said Matthew Lewis, director of the San Marcos Development Services Department. “This process comes in response to the community’s desire for extra protections for this unique area of our city.”

This will be the final meeting before the standards are drafted. City planners are seeking public feedback on the models created and what residents hope to see in the new standards. The architectural standards will focus on building materials and design elements, and signage standards for the entire SmartCode area will be evaluated.

Participants will also be asked to recommend a geographic area where the standards should be applied.

The SmartCode encourages a mixture of compatible uses in a walkable, compact environment. Like other “form-based” codes, it folds zoning, subdivision rules, urban design and architectural standards into one document that emphasizes the form of the development rather than the buildings’ uses.

There will be three additional meetings after the one on Jan. 25 to review the draft standards. The resulting public feedback and draft standards will go before the historic preservation commission and the planning and zoning commission for review and city council for final approval in spring 2012.

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