San Marcos residents debate over affordable housing

Hays

SAN MARCOS,Texas (KXAN) — The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of San Marcos approved the rezoning of three vacant lots of land on McGehee Street for the construction of three single-family homes. 

The approval is tied to a grant from the federal government in the amount of $33,794,000 to study the impacts of the 2015 flood.

According to the city, the federal grant expanded the Housing Program under the Owner-Occupied Rehab/Reconstruction Program to include the construction of single-family homes on city-owned property.

The City also has an agreement with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to build single-family homes this year through the federal HOME program. 

The vacant lots’ location is why some protested the approval at the meeting on Wednesday. The lots are on the edge of the 100-year flood plain, but residents who live on, or near McGehee Street say waters rise virtually every time there is a massive rain event. Building the homes on the lots will only add to flood risks in the neighborhood, says Keith Benouis. 

Benouis lives adjacent to the lots in question and calls the idea, “absurd.”

“I would extend the [Veterans Park]. It’s already park property and city property. The Veterans Park is a beautiful park,” says Benouis. Veterans Park is also adjacent to the lots in question. 

During the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, one committee member said: “We put these homes up way up in the air, they are going to be in better shape than the ones on Mariposa — how much of an impact it’s going to have on the flooding itself…it’s not directly in the line of current.”

The approval by the commission will be discussed at the San Marcos City Council Meeting on June 4.

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