San Marcos City Council approves 417-acre development

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City officials hope Trace, a development near Posey Road and I-35 in San Marcos, could help address the city’s need for single-family residences.

City Council approved the 417.63 acre development on Oct. 20.

Trace will feature a mix of single-family and multifamily residences, commercial space, parks and trails. According to the development’s master plan, Trace is “intended to serve as a quality commercial, business and residential community where people may live and enjoy enhanced amenities commensurate with a master-planned community.”

Council Member Jude Prather thanked city staff and Highpoint Communities, the developer of the project, for their work, which began about a year ago. He said both sides compromised in order to make the development work.

“We have a united council when it comes to good growth,” Prather said.

About 237 acres of the development will be reserved for single-family homes, and 35.4 acres will go to multifamily apartments. Rent-by-the-bedroom leases—a lease structure some council members believe lends itself to college students and precludes families—will not be allowed at the apartments.

Lot widths for single-family homes within the development will vary from 25-50 feet.

Council Member John Thomaides said he was concerned about the potential for investors to buy up a large number of houses and rent them out, thus threatening the single-family character of the development.

Steve Metcalfe, an attorney for the developer, said it would be very difficult to enforce a restriction on investors buying properties in the neighborhood. An investor could come into the neighborhood and buy 10 different properties using 10 different names, he said.

Instead the development will rely on the single-family occupancy limits within the city’s zoning ordinance to help ensure the single-family residences are truly single-family. The multifamily portion of the development will have the same restrictions. The ordinance says no more than two unrelated persons may live in a two-bedroom unit and no more than three unrelated persons may live in a three-bedroom unit.

Highpoint Communities also plans to provide $2.5 million of cash and in-kind assistance to the city to build a fire station within the development. City Manager Jared Miller said the station’s proximity to homes within the neighborhood should lower some residents’ insurance rates.

The development will also include a site reserved for a new school, should San Marcos CISD choose to build one in that area. If the district declines to accept the land, the 12-acre site could have up to 60 residences.

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Brett Thorne reported on education, business, economic development and city government in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda from 2012 to 2017. Thorne attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 2010. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2012 and was promoted to editor in 2013.
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