San Marcos City Council was inundated with public comments opposing the rezoning of a 14.71-acre plot of land in Tanglewood during an April 20 meeting.
The property owner was seeking a move from future development zoning to a SF-6 single-family district, which would have allowed for the creation of the applicant's proposed development of homes with 10,000-square-foot lots.
City Council considered the same property and zoning in December but chose to send it back to the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission to give the applicant time to work out a compromise with nearby residents who voiced concerns over the impact on home values and traffic.
A group of residents called in to the meeting the evening of April 20 or submitted written statements saying the developers had made no effort to address their concerns in the intervening months.
"The developer did not to my knowledge contact anyone in this neighborhood," said Harold Stern, a Tanglewood resident who spoke during the meeting. "He resubmitted the exact same request for zoning to the [planning and zoning] commission that he previously submitted to the council in December."
The applicant's representative, Mike Siefert, said communications had been piped through a single resident but were ultimately abandoned because he said the residents opposed any development on the land.
"Frankly, the feedback is any development is opposed, no matter the flavor," Siefert told City Council when asked why he did not meet with the community. "Based on that feedback, we didn't want to waste their time and tried to move forward. We felt like it's a fair proposal of 10,000 square feet."
Several comments made by residents earlier in the meeting went against Siefert's statement.
"We're not opposed to development; we're opposed to reckless development," resident Naomi Medina said. "LBJ [Drive] is just too narrow, and this traffic analysis to be done after the fact makes absolutely no sense to me."
Several members of the public and Place 5 Council Member Mark Gleason cited dangers of merging onto North LBJ Drive.
"I've almost been hit there a couple times," Gleason said. "I don't know how you're going to get construction equipment out of there, so that's my big hang-up. It really is the safety of the traffic."
The zoning would have required a supermajority of council support due to a recommendation to deny by the planning and zoning commission.
Mayor Jane Hughson recused herself during the agenda item, and other council members voted unanimously to deny the zoning. The denial means the developer will have to wait one year before it can seek zoning again.
Two other rezoning proposals were rejected by City Council during the April 20 meeting.
A 21.22-acre plot sandwiched between the Blano River and Chuck Nash Loop sought a transition from a mixed-use district zoning to Character District 5, which would have permitted a multifamily development planned for 13.33 acres of the property.
Motions to allow rezoning of some or all of the property failed 3-4 and would have also required a supermajority due to a recommendation for denial by the planning and zoning commission.
Another 15.23-acre lot, located a quarter mile away, was proposed for heavy industrial zoning, and the developer planned to use the land for an RV and boat storage facility.
City Council rejected the zoning in a 3-4 vote that also would have required a supermajority. A larger portion of the property was previously submitted for the same zoning.
"We have been told these 500-year floods and larger are going to become more the norm," Place 6 Council Member Melissa Derrick said. "I don't want to see these [RVs] propelling through people's houses, getting in the river and polluting the river, and that's been my thing about it the whole time."