SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Monday night, the San Marcos City Council decided to move its vote on the comprehensive plan called Vision SMTX ++. This plan will serve as a roadmap for the city’s next 20 years.
Ultimately, council members agreed they needed more time to look through feedback sent to them by residents.
Council decided to move the vote to Jan. 16, 2024. In the meantime, two council members and the mayor volunteered to create a committee tasked with working with city staff to gather more community input about the plan.
During public comment, people were divided on their feelings for the plan. Some encouraged the council to approve it.
“It has taken years of drafting, it has cost tens of thousands of dollars and it has included thousands of hours of work to bring this inclusive, community-driven version to completion,” one supporter said.
While others were not so sure.
“A future San Marcos that is less affordable, sprawls out further into undisturbed lands and gives almost all of its residents no choice but to be locked in their cars sitting in traffic,” one man said.
What’s in it?
According to the plan, San Marcos has grown at a faster rate than Hays County over the past two decades.
“Due to the location of San Marcos at the heart of the Texas Innovation Corridor and presence of Texas State University, the City is expected to continue growing at a relatively rapid rate,” the plan said.
With that growth, comes the need for a plan to address it.
The current plan, Vision San Marcos: A River Runs Through Us, was adopted in 2013.
“Although it has only been approximately ten years since the current Comprehensive Plan was written, many changes have occurred within the city; populations, land area, and the number of students at Texas State University have all continued to increase,” the new plan reads.
According to the new plan, San Marcos’ economy is driven by retail services, accommodations and food service, education and health care.
One of the goals is to “strategically grow the San Marcos economy with targeted strategies and investments that attract talent, support local businesses, and create vibrant commercial centers.”
Some policies the plan lists out under that goal are:
- Create incentive packages to support entrepreneurs, target industries, and growing industry sectors
- Support job creation for all education and income levels
- Address childcare as an essential component of economic development, such as evaluating land use allowances for childcare facilities, childcare as an economic incentive criteria, or expansion of city-sponsored children activities and camps
Environmental and resource protection
When it comes to the area’s natural resources, one goal is to reduce energy use, water consumption and waste production.
Policies the plan lists out under that goal are:
- Promote the use of reclaimed water within new developments
- Encourage developers to implement green building practices and conservation-style development
- Adopt a dark skies ordinance to mitigate harassment of wildlife and preserve rural character
Housing and neighborhoods
With more people continuing to move into the city, there is more of a demand for housing.
“San Marcos should strive for an appropriate mixture of housing types, commercial developments, and mixed-use places to enhance existing areas and create new livable neighborhoods,” the plan reads.
Housing objectives in the plan include:
- Monitor number of permits and certificates of occupancy by unit size, type and location
- Monitor jobs to housing balance
- Increase number of affordable (subsidized) and senior units
- Review periodic update of Housing Needs Assessments
- Monitor vacancy rates of rental units
- Increase proportion of homes within a 15-minute walk of basic services and amenities (e.g., grocery, pharmacy, parks, etc.)
Regarding transportation, the goals are to create a “balanced transportation system and examine methods to expand the system to offer further choices for travel.”
Objectives for city transportation included:
- Decrease congestion
- Increase miles of continuous pedestrian/ bike infrastructure
- Decrease crashes and injuries
- Increase transit ridership and frequency
- Improve “walk score” grades