The McLain Student Housing Project—a new controversial housing development—is making headway in San Marcos after a series of votes took place April 2.

What happened

In a 6-1 vote, the council changed the zoning east of North Street from High-Intensity Downtown to Character District-5 Downtown, which allows for townhomes, apartments and mixed-use storefronts.

A separate 6-1 vote by council also changed the zoning west of North Street from multifamily to Character District 5, which allows for accessory dwelling units, townhomes and apartments.

Council member Saul Gonzales was the single dissenting vote for both zoning changes.

The background

On Feb. 27, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-4 recommending the approval of the east rezoning request, with Commissioners Lupe Costilla, Travis Kelsey, Amy Meeks and Jim Garber dissenting. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to recommend the west rezoning request.

Commissioner Travis Kelsey said the rezoning would extend the boundaries of downtown.

“The one thing that really gets me is ... they can build multifamily by right anyway. So to me, why extend the downtown boundary and keep pushing it more and more toward the neighbors when this type of development is already permitted there,” Kelsey said.

San Marcos City Council also approved a conditional-use permit, or CUP, with a series of recommendations and conditions that state that the developer cannot sell the property to a nontaxpaying entity for seven years from the date of approval.

The developer would have to agree to a minimum demolition delay of one calendar year from the date the application is approved in the event the impacted buildings are unable to be relocated as well as incorporate paid parking into the project.

Multiple homes are already located on the property, including Texas State’s Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house and the Lindsay Oaks Apartments.

The council also gave the developer the green light to increase the building height from five to seven stories.

What residents are saying

San Marcos resident Darla Munoz, who spoke during the public hearing for the rezoning request, thought the developers could redevelop the property west of North Street and Lindsey Street with multifamily zoning and still be profitable. Munoz requested that council deny the zoning change for this area.

Other residents, such as Sam Benavides, who lives a block away from the property, expressed concerns for the development via email.

“I am concerned about how this project will impact my neighborhood. Particularly, the affordability of living here,” Benavides said in an email.

What’s next?

The conditions for the CUP will be finalized at the April 16 City Council meeting, according to the city’s communications department.