SAN MARCOS, Texas — As the city of San Marcos grows, so do the number of apartment complexes. But not everyone is happy with this.

The Planning and Zoning Commission of San Marcos held a public hearing on May 28 to discuss the request by 75 Sylvan St. to build a development on Guadalupe Street between San Antonio Street and MLK Drive.

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The request from 75 Sylvan St. was for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow a purpose-built-student housing development near The Square.

The new property would be five floors tall and contain residential, office, retail and restaurant spaces. According to the agenda, the developer proposed a Pedestrian Passage on the ground level, which would allow pedestrian access to Telephone Alley. 

At the meeting, representatives from the developer spoke, followed by citizens for and against the property plans. There was one San Marcos resident that supported the property being developed and seven who opposed it. 

Thomas Rhodes, the developer who applied for the permit, spoke to KVUE after the commission hearing. He brought up the concerns the public had with the property. This included the myriad of already existing student housing, lack of parking, need for more affordable and conventional multi-family housing, concerns about losing historical appeal and the desire for condos downtown. 

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The recommended approvals for the Conditional Use Permit for this property from the City of San Marcos are listed below. They can also be found here.

  1. Approval of this request for “Purpose Built Student Housing” does not waive any development code regulations, whether or not they are represented in the submitted back up material;
  2. Any proposed building must meet the requirements of all City Codes and Ordinances;
  3. Streetscape improvements shall be required to extend to the intersection of San Antonio and Guadalupe Street;
  4. There shall be no balconies or patios permitted on the building facing Telephone Alley;
  5. The Pedestrian Passage shall be a minimum of two stories in height, with pedestrian level entrances on both sides, sufficient internal lighting, and a minimum glazing requirement of 70% on the club house and lobby walls facing the Pedestrian Passage;
  6. The applicant shall work with the City to mitigate noise and light nuisances associated with the parking garage;
  7. There shall be a minimum of one operable building entrance / exit every 100 feet (on average) along the street frontage;
  8. Smoke barriers shall be provided to subdivide every story that contains R-2 occupancies, into no fewer than two smoke compartments. Such stories shall be divided into smoke compartments of not more than 22,500 square feet;
  9. A means of egress shall be provided from each smoke compartment created by smoke barriers without having to return through the smoke compartment from which means of egress originated;
  10. All plans shall be reviewed, at the expense of the permit applicant, by a third party, as approved by the COSM, for compliance with the fire codes as adopted by the COSM. Any expenses for the plans review shall be the responsibility of the permit applicant and paid directly to the third party. The cost of these expenses are in addition to any permit fees required by the COSM. Final approval of the submitted plans shall remain the authority of the COSM;
  11. Full dedication and construction of Telephone Alley adjacent to this project shall be required at the time of development;
  12. All perimeter roadways shall be fully repaired after construction;
  13. Double occupancy of bedrooms shall be prohibited;
  14. The project will construct a minimum parking ratio of .75 spaces per bedroom, and pay the fee in-lieu for the remaining parking space per bedroom requirement in order to meet the full 1.05 parking spaces per bedroom requirement
  15. The project will provide an annual report of the number of students vs the number of non-student residents by ratio of bedrooms; and
  16. The project shall meet the Green Building Standard Silver Program.

Rhodes told KVUE that they are now moving forward to City Council with the recommendation of denial, but it will require a super majority vote to move forward. 

His full statement is below:

"The City of San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission set goals and objectives in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Master Plan, location and density of housing being key factors. 

75 Sylvan Street, LLC identified an ideal location based on those goals and objectives which was presented at the Commission’s meeting last night. This project not only met the requirements, it exceeded the requirements of the City’s Land Development Code to mitigate and reduce concerns expressed by staff and residents prior to last night.

Additional resident and Commissioner concerns were voiced last night that we were unfortunately not allowed to address during the meeting. However, each concerting will be considered as we are currently evaluating our project options moving forward. If there are ways we can incorporate additional conditions to alleviate those concerns, we are open to exploring each one. 

We believe this project can be a 'win-win' for all involved including the City of San Marcos, Texas State University, resident and downtown business owners, keeping in-line with the goal and objectives established by city leaders."

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