Low-income senior housing development garners support from San Marcos City Council

San Germaine, LLC, is proposing the development of Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community, located at 2621 S. I-35.

San Germaine, LLC, is proposing the development of Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community, located at 2621 S. I-35.

San Marcos City Council established the procurement of relatively more affordable local housing as one of its five top priorities in March—and with the unanimous adoption on Dec. 19 of a resolution supporting a 156-unit development for low-income senior residents, the council is showing signs of following through.

The unanimously approved resolution states the city’s support for the submission of an application for low-income housing tax credits to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the proposed Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community, which would be located at 2621 S. I-35, San Marcos. According to the developer's application, Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community will make up a portion of the larger Plaza Royale Senior Community development.

"I think this is a great project because it is serving the needs of an underserved population in San Marcos," said Melissa Derrick, Place 6 City Council member. "So that’s always what we’re looking to do is to provide housing for everyone."

According to the resolution, developer San Germaine LLC has demonstrated that the proposed project complies with the city’s affordable-housing policy by recognizing that no exemptions from local taxes will be given to the development, and that the project would address a need by helping to create a diverse housing stock.

A minimum of five percent of the project’s units will be set aside for tenants who are hearing or visually impaired, according to the resolution.

Affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue in San Marcos—leading to the creation of a workforce housing task force earlier this year—as the population continues to grow while 65.9 percent of the city's residents make less than $50,000 a year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The same data shows that San Marcos residents have a median annual income of $34,748 while the median home value in the city is $153,000.

Mayor Jane Hughson said the Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community will fulfill a need for more affordable housing, specifically for seniors, in San Marcos.

"One of the things that I have heard for the last few years is we need more senior housing," Hughson said. "I'm hearing that from friends my age who are saying, 'I would love to move my parents here, but there's not enough places.' So this is going to be a wonderful addition to our community. We always are happy to have something that's going to provide more options for our residents and this will do that."

Saul Gonzales, Place 2 City Council member, said he voted to support the developer's efforts to apply for low-income housing tax credits because he believes it is important that the city brings in more affordable housing. Gonzales said he would like to see lower-cost single-family houses built in the future— Villas Del San Xavier Senior Community will be an apartment complex— but that the development remains a net benefit for the community.

"I think this is definitely is going to be a real benefit for our seniors as well," Gonzales said.

With the adoption of the Dec. 19 resolution, the development will be obligated to comply with the city's newly updated Transportation Master Plan by keeping the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in mind and by developing any infrastructure in an environmentally sensitive manner. The nearest CARTS stop is less than two miles away from the property, at the Embassy Suites hotel.

Additionally, Mendez Elementary, Central Texas Medical Center and Sam’s Club are less than two miles away from the proposed development.

"This senior community is very well-planned," Derrick said. "I definitely think this is a win in diversifying our housing in San Marcos and making affordable housing available to our seniors."
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By Anna Herod

Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment as the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. In the past, Anna served as the reporter for Community Impact's San Marcos/Buda/Kyle paper. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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