COVER: A swimmer rests on the tip of Thompson’s Island at Cape’s Dam on the San Marcos River during a summer afternoon in August. A developer has his eyes on 45 acres on River Road for a project that would include donation of 20 acres of the property — including Thompson’s Islands — for a public park. PHOTO by JAMIE MALDONALDO
by BRAD ROLLINS
An apartment developer looking to build student housing on part of Cape’s Camp has sweetened his pitch to the city, roughly doubling the amount of riverfront acreage he says he’s willing to donate as a park.
Athens, Ga.-based Dovetail Development wants to build a 306-unit apartment complex called The Woodlands on a portion of 45 acres owned by the Thornton and Stokes families on the north bank of the San Marcos River, just east of Interstate 35.
As part of a deal that includes the zoning and land use entitlements he needs from City Hall, Dovetail Development’s Dave Mulkey has proposed transferring ownership of about 20 acres nearest the river to the municipal government for parkland. The proposed gift is more than six times the 3.21 acres of parkland dedication that would be required under city development ordinances.
The donation would include 10 acres that make up most of Thompson’s Islands as well as uninterrupted river frontage on the north side of the river running the length of the tract. The proposed park adjoins 4.6 acres the state of Texas already owns and the city of San Marcos operates as Stokes Park, the only legal public point of entry into the river in eastern San Marcos.
The developer’s initial proposal to develop 39 acres of the land — before the company had an option to buy the Stokes tract — included about 11 acres of public parkland. But the plan also would have cordoned off four acres alongside the river as a private retreat for the apartment complex’s residents.