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

November 21st, 2012
Video: Lively debate over San Marcos comprehensive plan


San Marcos business people on Nov. 20 called on the city council to reject a recommendation to further limit development in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and to seek input from the private sector in crafting the 10-year plan. A few members of the citizen’s advisory committee appointed to help create the plan scoffed at the idea that business people have been shut out of the process. The council adopted a set of general goals as the backbone of document, which is being developed by a city council-appointed steering committee and a citizen’s advisory committee.


» Comprehensive plan adopted goals [pdf]


Comprehensive plan comments start at 2:55 in this video

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24 thoughts on “Video: Lively debate over San Marcos comprehensive plan

  1. The plan committee has jumped the rails beyond their scope. Council could have used its supervisory role and brought them back in, but they decided not to because the group has “worked so hard” in chasing rabbits. Nobody could explain why man-made disaster mitigation was a reasonable goal of this group; nobody who spoke seemed to understand their reference to Core 4, etc. I don’t even know what half of these vague notions really mean in practice. Wouldn’t it be better to reel them back in now before they go further down bunny trails which intrigue them? Instead, council ignores signs of the problem and the group will now waste more time and work harder in the wrong direction. Next time, we will have to thank them harder for all the time they have invested, when we could have saved them some time right here at the goal stage by giving them reasonable limits and direction.

    We did not elect the plan group and they appear bent on creating a broad, inflexible plan to which special interests will attempt to bind our future elected leaders. The whole thing is anti-democratic. And we wonder why these things are ignored…

  2. Ah Skeptical, as if realtors and developers are the only voices that should be heard? In reality, we are seeing the democratic process unfold before our eyes! just because your interests( maximum profit on land sale) are not going to be realized, no sense in getting ” Snippy ” Good things ahead for San MArcos, preserving neighborhoods and encouraging growth in the proper places will build a strong community that will someday be at peace with itself~! 🙂 jlb

  3. Amen, Jaimy. I guess the business people thought only they would be thought of when a plan was developed since they are the most important segment of San Marcos, with all they do, yada, yada, yada. And, now, when their best interest (speaking of special interest) are not realized, they cry foul and cast aspersions on the citizens who participated in the democratic process and have a different vision of San Marcos.

  4. Who knew petitions could have columns. Next time a petition goes around be sure to add column “impact to community.” Of course we will also add a section with calculations of negative short-term and long-term impacts. We can start with Connelly Car Wash and the exceptions given to his business when there are water restrictions. Thanks for the list of names and how many y’all purport to employ. What is the hourly wage at Connelly Car Wash?

    Are you the only ones that “provide that job opportunity?” What about those in social service agencies you cite? Or, educators or the stay at home Mom that ensures her daughter makes the correct decisions in an ever-changing world? News flash, your petition means nothing and does not outweigh the other petition that went around town to halt development. Nor will it outweigh any recall petition that registered voters will sign if Thompson’s Island is ever developed.

    We seek “Stream lined” regulations and “incentives” for development. What a joke!

  5. Just finished the video!! WELL SPOKEN PROFESSOR GARBER!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    THANK YOU to all the citizens that participated in this important consensus building work for the vision for OUR community!!!

  6. I find it interesting and reveling how some are so offended that those of us who work and own business in town decided to express opinions to our elected officials at City Hall. Why does this bother you? Do we not have a say on the future direction of our City? I have a lot invested in San Marcos. I pay thousands of dollars in taxes, employee 65 local people (avg wage is $11 to $12 an hour, bi weekly payroll is around $30,000), and contribute thousands of dollars to local non-profits in our community. A large part of my family lives in San Marcos. I just like anyone else have a right to express my opinion. We haven’t attacked any of you. You have your right to your opinion just like we do. So let’s just respect one other and hope our Council makes the right decision. The facts are simple. San Marcos has been one of the most restrictive cities along the corridor for two decades. The result is we have one of the poorest cities along the corridor. Therefore some position is to double down on this policy which in my opinion will double down the results of the past. We all love our river but I think it’s important we start talking more about people and how San Marcos policy has helped us become one of the poorest cities along the corridor. I for one believe we can have both a thriving community while protecting our natural assets. Lisa so you are aware of some facts before you go advocating shutting down a local small business, I recycle most of my water in San Marcos. Actually washing your car at my place of business is the most environmentally positive thing you can do if you wash your car. See, I am the only one who does this is town. We use less water than someone at home, or at other businesses because of our recycling system and rain water collection system. This is all well documented and we actually won an award from San Marcos for our sensitivity to the environment. San Marcos has also set it standards for new washes coming into to town based off my business because it is so environmentally friendly. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about our program.

  7. Destroying establised neighborhoods, our watersheds, recharge zone and the river it directly impacts is not progress or good business mr Conley. I am glad that you make efforts to conserve water, so , where are the landscaping restrictions on English style lawns? Where are the built in code changes that force protections of our water sources? Where are zoning protections for residents most important investment of their lives, their homes/ homesteads? Where are the jobs that cheap multi family construction bring to local residents, they are built typically and almost exclusively by out of town contractors that employ the cheapest labor force possible to build their crappy student housing complexes? Where are the tech jobs, manufacturing jobs, small bsiness incentives for people to choose San Marcos as their place to invest? We see New Breaunfels, Kyle, Wimberley and many other cities benifiting from city governments that choose quality over short term realtor/ developer ” Pie-in-the-sky” projects that do nothing more than house temporary residents that later move on to lives in other cities that they feel confident will protect their investments! Why destroy our natural environment when we see the results ofsuch hasty mistakes in Austin now, and the taxpayer burden of reporations to watersheds, creeks and rivers mandated by the federal government? Why sacrifice our long term future for the sake of short term profits on foolishly planned developements?I think it is very clear now who cares about our city and who only wants to profit from its errant destruction. We will not be transitioned, get it? If not, you will soon have no choice in the matter as a multitude of citizens entrench ourselves in the defense of the hopes,dreams, and investments that we have made in San Marcos.:-)jlb

  8. Perhaps the Greater San Marcos Partnership should drop “quality of life” as one of their 3 goals (“preserving the resources to attract and retain members of a talented workforce.” More specifically – the San Marcos River).

    And Will – I don’t think anyone was upset that you were expressing your opinion. It was just the way in which you and others went about it. While everyone else was working within the process – attending meetings, participating in day-long workshops, etc. – the business community felt all they had to do was bully their way to the top of the food chain. And trust me, I do get it. As I was told just recently, some people’s vote just counts more than others. That may be true. But don’t expect the rest of us to like it. LOL

    Respect is a two-way street. You have to give it to get it.

  9. According to Mr. Will Conley, “avg wage is $11 to $12 an hour, bi weekly payroll is around $30,000”

    Actually it is $23,000 per year per person w/o tips according to your statistics. Do these stats reflect salary, and or salary plus tips? Is that a week’s pay, or “pay dirt” spikes when fans line up to have their pickup trucks made shiny for football tailgate weekend parties?

    “You have your right to your opinion just like we all do.” Actually, each resident has a right to a 3-minute citizen comment period. Yet your petition looks more like a Jerry (SHOW ME DA MONEY!) Maguire’s mission statement, on opposite day.

    I always welcome open lines of communication, but am opposed to utilizing public venues as a bully pulpit giving special preference to public policy that promote personal “investments” which is exactly the advocacy preached recently as public record.

    Place yourself on the opposite side of the continuum. So many responsible residents who support responsible growth have waited to long a long time for this to be encoded into policy and have witnessed innumerable times, these solid plans usurped by behind the scenes shenanigans.

    May all the citizens of San Marcos be afforded the monetary and educational opportunities some have experienced to open their own small businesses. And, may those that do not have such a towering station in life due to lack of educational opportunities or funding not be perceived as having a lesser voice, even when they participate in the process afforded to all COSM citizens.

    I certainly hope any employees of these businesses who sign petitions on the other side of the argument are not targeted for retaliation.

    Commissioner Connelly, perhaps next time you step before the Dias, mentioning your speaker credibility, as an elected official would be in order.

    I have read the facts Will and the situations for water restrictions and types of businesses allowed to carry on. If you were such a good steward then why advocate loosening development restrictions and support-increased development?

    Where is all the water going to come from?

    Best Regards, LMC

  10. I don’t believe anyone has proposed destroying rivers and neighborhoods. No one has proposed unrestricted growth. Most of the people that signed our letter are local business owners, not out of town developers. Just as pro-growthers can take it too far, so can protectionist and environmentalist. San Marcos already is a pretty restrictive place. This is just fact. Some want to make it even more restrictive. We simply argue this can go too far and be a problem for future investment in our town. We aren’t trying to imtimadate anyone or think we are special. We just want a voice. If some of you don’t think that many normal residents aren’t intimidated by public workshops and forums I suggest you get out of those circles more often (Lila I know you can scare many citizens and officials at public meetings lol). Some of you are masters of this process; in fact some of you are paid professionals in these processes (nothing wrong with either). So let’s not play like we are power hungry business people picking on little people simply trying to have a voice. You play on your field of comfort and we will play on ours. In the end we are all important voices and the only thing that matters is our city officials get a good balance of opinions about our community so they can make the best decision possible for a strong balenced community. Also I shouldn’t post off cell phones and apologize for any miss spellings

  11. Who is miss spellings? Oh, you must have meant misspellings. I don’t think that was a cell phone error, Mr. Conley.

    In your first post, did you really mean reveling or were you trying for revealing? There is a big difference in the definitions. Just thought I should let you know, Commissioner Conley. A person in your position should be extremely cautious about “miss spellings”, she’ll come back to bite you when you least expect it.

  12. Funny how none of the people who advocate rezoning our family neighborhoods actually lives in neighborhoods threatened by rezoning. Why is that?

  13. Advocates of re-zoning single-family neighborhoods are by-and-large the same folks who stand to make a handsome profit from said re-zoning. The economic cost of re-zoning is forced on owner-occupied homeowners in the effected areas. Re-zoners are all about “property rights” and “economic growth” as long as it is focused on ~their~ growth and ~their~ property. My economic growth and my property rights as a home-owner in the targeted neighborhood are surprisingly unimportant.
    Do you want to see the zoning changes come to a grinding stop in San Marcos? For every zoning change in the Sessom Creek/Holland Street area, mandate a similar zoning change in Willow Creek and on Belvin Street. Suddenly there would be widespread concern about sending the wrong message to newcomers and “uncertainty” in the real estate market. Overnight the masterplan would become the most respected document in the city.

  14. The parking lot grill will be reopened Tuesday 11-27-2012, around 4:30 PM city hall parking lot. You see, for all the months that a multitude of property owners/ citizens have been telling our elected and appointed city leaders that we do not want our neighborhoods re-zoned and TRANSITIONED/ TURNED INTO STUDENT HOUSING, their ears are still only apparently tuned in to the profiteers like McCoys, Ingram Readymix, CTMC, Sac N Pac, Two Ps ( Couch ),Hart Reality/ Ron Hart /Barrie Breed,Run away Patrick Rose, etc etc etc that support developement at the cost of neighborhood destruction,watershed destruction, and ultimately the destruction of our beautiful jewel the San Marcos River . This shall end, even though some are doing their best to impact change through the present Master Plan appeasement program that many have been involved with the past months, those that would hope to accomplish forced transition are marching on regardless of all recommendations for substantive changes that will create a stronger long-term community for all citizens, including students. Please come to the Planning and Zoning meeting 11-27-2012 sign up after 8pm, meeting 6pm, and share your 3 minutes worth reflecting your position on the items on the agenda, of which include Capes Camp and Holland St zoning change applications, etc. Be happy, and keep the lamps full and ready. 🙂 jlb

  15. Patrick- I like your idea mandating similar rezoning to our exclusive neighborhoods! The same meeting where Sessoms was shot down was the same meeting where the 100+ (?) acres were approved for the Wonder World green space at the end of Willow Creek. I’m sure this was a big reason that Sessoms was put on hold- it would look bad to give Willow Creek more park space while taking away another neighborhood’s…

  16. Will,

    The petition states, “We must not allow a vocal minority to preventing our Community’s [sic] participation in the present economic recovery” and your response in this thread states, “Just as pro-growthers can take it too far, so can protectionist and environmentalist” [sic] All have been invited to attend numerous events and there have been frequent opportunities for all stakeholders to raise their voices. These characterizations of cross sections of our community, which have worked toward consensus, are inaccurate.

    “San Marcos already is a pretty restrictive place” perhaps that is because this is the oldest civilization in the northern hemisphere with environmentally and archeologically sacred land. Thank you to the COSM staff and citizens for you hard work. Please take time to send them a thank you note!

    Best Regards, LMC

  17. It is a myth that this process is representative in the least. The people serving on the Plan group are those who have countless hours to dedicate to it. That means the process appeals to those with the most passion about a particular issue (apartments, impervious cover, etc.) like Dianne W. There are certainly reasonable folks on the plan group and they have invited others to participate in their process, but a few reasonable voices appear to be getting drowned out. We know this because the plan appeals to those such as LMC who have a lot of passion but who always lose elections. And that is why this promises to be a very poor governing document. Our elected leaders had a chance to discipline the plan group back on the tracks, but they abdicated on account of how hard the group worked, as if effort alone redeems results. So if there is no compromise and the plan does not appeal to the reasonable voices that win elections, it will be ignored just like the last one, which is sad because the group is working so hard.

  18. Well said Skeptical. I attended one of the 3 – 4 hour charettes (a label that is ironically similar to what is really happening) at TMT. While it was very well orchestrated and we all came away feeling good about ourselves, it was clearly a microcosm of passionate folks with an agenda. We have to watch that these workshops don’t subvert the democratic process and override the authority of the people we elected to make these decisions. The workshops are only one tool and the consortium of business leaders has chosen to utilize a different, just as valid tool. No one ever said the workshops were the only process by which decisions were going to be made.

  19. People – get a grip. Let’s recap who is actually on the committees for the Comprehensive Plan:

    Steering Committee – this is the big committee
    Bill Taylor, chair
    Donna Hill, vice chair
    Mayor Guerrero
    Co. Commissioner Ingalsbe
    John Thomaides
    Ryan Thomason
    Chris Wood
    Dan Stauffer
    Joe Cox
    Nancy Nusbaum
    Rosina Valle

    Whoa – just seething with tree huggers. LOL

    On to the next committee – Citizens Advisory Committee. Also appointed
    Jane Hughson, chair
    Betsy Robertson, co vice-chair
    Lisa Prewitt, co vice-chair
    Angie Ramirez
    Anna Carbajal
    Billy Lee Windham
    Bob Sappington
    David Case
    Debbie Harvey
    Dianne Wassenich
    Fraye Stokes
    James Garber
    Jenny McGinty
    Jim Pendergas
    Kate McCarty
    Kevin Carswell
    Nancy Moore
    Rebecca Ybarra-Ramirez
    Rodney Van Oudekerke
    Shawn Ash
    Tom Roach

    I apologize for any misspellings of names.

    If you think the other voices are getting drowned out – then just show up and see for yourself. Oh wait. That would take effort on your part. Nevermind….

  20. ” The autority of the people that we elected to make these decisions”. These decisions will be based on information relative to many factors, profiteering being one of the illegal ones that often lends itself to the circumvention of the laws contained in the Land Developement Code, which must be followed when making decisions, or said decisions shall be subject to legal challenges based on established case law. Elected officials work for the people that elected them and have many guidelines as to what they can and can’t do, plain and simple. 🙂 jlb

  21. I would encourage everyone to watch the P&Z playback from last night. One home owner described what has happened to his investment within just 10 years – 4 encroachments due to these zoning shenanigans. Changing that zoning. Whose investments are we advocating? Show us the jobs!!! Show me where the water is gong to come from? Show me why we should NOT protect archeologically sacred spaces in OUR community. Best, LMC

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