A proposal being brought before the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission on April 22 could bring a new bar to 205 W. Hopkins St. on the site of a lot that has been vacant for more than a decade.

The project, Headwaters Drafthouse, was originally brought before P&Z on Sept. 10. After city staff recommended approval of a conditional use permit to allow for the sale of alcohol on the property, commissioners denied it with a 5-0 vote. Commissioner Carter Morris, who sold the property to current owner Kyle Meredith, recused himself from the discussion. Commissioner Chris Wood, the contractor on the project, also recused himself. Commissioner Travis Kelsey, who owns the Tap Room, recused himself because of a potential conflict of interest.

Much of the discussion at the Sept. 10 meeting related to the bar's location, which is near the First United Methodist Church of San Marcos, the San Marcos Montessori School and the Price Senior Center.

At the Sept. 10 meeting, San Marcos resident Irwin Janek said the location, proposed operating hours and potential traffic issues posed by the business were of concern to him.

"You will be making a decision that will impact the future of bars and where they will be placed in our community," Janek said. "I trust you are aware of how big this decision is. I am not against bars or commerce, but is this the right place for this bar?"

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission requires bars to be located at least 300 feet from schools and churches. That measurement is taken from the front door of the bar to the front door of the church and from the property line of the bar to the property line of the school. The proposed business, which will serve a variety of local craft beers, liquor and food, is located more than 500 feet from the front entrance of the church, which fronts on Hutchison Street and also contains a preschool with about 100 students, and the property line of the Montessori school.

"We want to be a member of the community and being new to the community, we want to do everything we can to help out," said Kyle Meredith, who owns the property.

Since the initial hearing before P&Z on Sept. 10, Meredith said he has worked with community members to ease concerns about the bar's potential effect on the area.

A screening fence was also added to block the view from the church and Meredith said he is committed to participating in neighborhood trash cleanups to mitigate any negative effects his patrons could have on the surrounding community.

Kalinda Howe, vice-president of 3 Point Partners, an Austin-based communication firm assisting Headwaters Drafthouse, said Meredith and the partners behind the proposal have adapted their plans to meet the desires of those opposing the business.

"It's not about those issues they keep bringing up, because we keep saying, 'If trash is a concern, we'll remediate trash. If street view is a concern we'll remediate street view,' and the goal posts keep moving," Howe said.

In April, a sign was placed on the property urging San Marcos residents to speak in favor of the proposed development. Howe said she has received 45 emails in support of the project since the sign went up.

Todd Salmi, associate pastor at FUMCSM, said the location on Hopkins Street is not an ideal fit for a bar. He considers the neighboring Tantra Coffeehouse, which holds a permit for beer and wine sales, as a "a coffee shop that sells beer." Salmi called the area a "spiritual home" for many in San Marcos, and said he hopes the city will preserve the area for educational, spiritual and civic activities.

"The idea of a predominantly outdoor late night bar [is] out of character with this part of downtown," Salmi said. "There are plenty of places for entertainment and plenty of places where it would be a much better fit. "

Commissioner Angie Ramirez said she would be amenable to the proposal if it were for a restaurant, but Meredith and the partners involved in the project intend to open a bar.

"I love the idea of that property being redeveloped," Ramirez said. "It's such an eyesore. This case has been much more difficult for me than I thought it would be."

The commission is scheduled to hear the proposal at its regularly scheduled meeting on April 22.