by BRAD ROLLINS
Moving quickly to nail down terms they see as advantageous, council members voted on Tuesday to approve an unusually narrow development agreement with the holding company behind La Cima, a proposed mixed-use subdivision on the edge of the Texas Hill Country west of San Marcos.
The document is so tightly tailored as to cover only one topic: How quickly the city can annex the part of the subdivision not already covered by a previous agreement.
On Aug. 25, three councilmen serving as negotiators on behalf of the full council issued a broad outline of acceptable terms for major amendments to the standing Lazy Oaks Ranch Development Agreement, approved in February 2013 with the same group of investors investors and referencing the much of the same acreage. In its “position paper,” the negotiating committee sought a timeline under which the city of San Marcos could annex La Cima at the time the developer moves to plat the property into as subdivision. Hays County officials tacitly accepted those terms in a counterproposal sent back to the city.
“I think what we’ve developed is a a fair compromise that is beneficial to the county, beneficial to the city and, I believe, beneficial to the developer because it lets him get started quickly,” council member Wayne Becak, one of the La Cima negotiators, said on Tuesday. The council voted 6-0 to adopt the committee’s position paper, including the annexation timeline.
Then the council took a second vote related to La Cima that was placed on the agenda by Thomaides without the knowledge of his fellow La Cima committee members, Becak and Thomason. Co-sponsored by council member Lisa Prewitt, the resolution “express[es] the city council’s support for the proposed La Cima development project [and] extend[s] an offer of a development agreement.”
The attached development agreement — the offer, as it were — applies only to the 635 acres bought by La Cima last year and therefore not covered by the earlier Lazy Oaks agreement. For this tract, a new, separate development agreement establishes that the city can annex the property at the time it is subdivided, the same timeline that applies to rest of the La Cima land under the 2012 agreement. The new agreement, however, does not address permitted land uses, building density, development standards and other basic elements of most development agreements.
Thomason urged his colleagues to postpone a vote until the full development agreement — the renegotiated instrument covering the entire 2,032 acres — is ready for consideration. He characterized the deal as 98 percent complete.
“We are so very, very close to having this entire thing wrapped up. I don’t want to break the process. … We’ve come a very, very long way,” Thomason said. The resolution was passed, nonetheless, on a 5-1 vote with Thomason voting against.
The agreement approved last night is “an effort to lend some finality to the position of the council,” Thomaides said. The resolution’s co-sponsor, Lisa Prewitt, said it was was primarily intended as a courtesy to county officials to “at least let them know where we stood on the annexation process.”
Outside the meeting, La Cima representative Bob Ward said, “We’re so close on the La Cima development that we thought that this wasn’t needed. If they feel like it’s needed, that’s fine [because] I feel like we’re going to get the La Cima development.”
Ward declined to say if the quicker annexation timetable sought by council members is acceptable to his company.
“I think we’re still in negotiations. It’s not over,” he said.Email | Print