San Marcos council approves zoning for student apartment complex
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A controversial zoning change packed San Marcos' city council meeting Monday night.
More than 50 people lined up to address the council regarding the future of Cape’s Camp. The overwhelming majority spoke against a proposed zoning change which would pave the way for a 1,000-bed student apartment complex on the San Marcos River.
"This request for a zoning change is a terrible idea for this site," San Marcos resident Kevin Romig said.
The planned apartment community would give 20 acres—including Thompson Island and land immediately north of the river—to the city for a park.
Supporters say allowing the development offers the best compromise.
"I think having these apartments will revitalize that community," neighbor Charles Austin said.
In November, voters overwhelming passed a proposition calling for the city to obtain the land for a park. Two measures dealing with funding of the land acquisition and eminent domain failed.
"Today it's not parkland and the only way that it will be parkland is if this case goes forward and that 20 acres is dedicated,” attorney Steve Drenner said.
Developers say the land is not for sale and this development is the only way the city could obtain any parkland without a costly legal fight.
"We feel the same way at Dovetail about this river, about the unique nature of this property and how special it is and we see an opportunity to do something really great here," David Mulkey with Dovetail Development said.
Neighbors cited fears over flooding and the traffic which 1,000 additional students could bring to their neighborhood.
"We don't need apartments. Get the dollar signs out of your eyes,” neighbor Ollie Giles said. “These new developers come in here with dollar signs and that's all they can see."
The council voted 5-2 to approve the project. Opponents say they will continue the fight. Plans for a recall petition are already under way.
With the zoning change approved the next step for the project is hydraulic studies that will address potential flooding concerns.
Developers are hopeful that they'll be able to break ground on the project later this year.