San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission postpones decision on Yarrington Commons

The San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission ran into issues with the city's soon-to-be-updated Land Development Code at its regular meeting Dec. 10. A proposed multi-family residential development that could include up to 900 units was postponed until the commission's March 11 meeting.

Rezoning of a separate commercial development on an adjacent property was approved at the meeting by a 7-1 vote. The residential portion was postponed with a 5-3 vote. Commissioner Angie Ramirez voted against both measures.

Ramirez said she was concerned that the residential development, which would have been on a 50-acre tract near the 2700 block of Post Road in north San Marcos, would be subject to the city's current Land Development Code. The city is just beginning a rewrite of the code, which Planning Director Matthew Lewis called "outdated." The city is hoping to complete the rewrite by fall 2014.

"I do think this is a good place for medium density," Ramirez said. "The reason I voted against the [commercial] one and I'm hesitant here has more to do with the development standards we have right now. I think they'll be much better once we have [the Land Development Code] rewritten."

Ocie Vest, senior vice president at Stratford Land, the company developing the property, said the company will begin working on the commercial portion of its development and meet with city staff to determine how it can move forward with the residential portion of the project.

Vest said the Texas Department of Transportation's reconstruction of the overpass and ramps at I-35 and Yarrington Road, which are scheduled to begin in early 2014, will improve the area significantly.

"With the redevelopment of the ramps and that bridge, it sort of freshens up the front door to San Marcos and that property, so we're kind of dusting off our plans for that property and that project," Vest said.

The 50-acre tract also includes 12 acres for a floodway and water quality zone that are required to be maintained as open space.

Dianne Wassenich, executive director of the San Marcos River Foundation, cautioned commission members about building apartments in areas near the Blanco River.

"We can anticipate floods that are three to four times the volume of the '98 October flood," she said.

Wassenich said the river gets out of its floodway often and precautions need to be taken to avoid loss of property and life.

"I didn't object or talk during the commercial one because if people want to locate their businesses in a flooding area, I don't really worry about it," Wassenich said. "It's their choicebut to have a residence where people are asleep and not notified in the middle of the night when a flood happens is of much greater concern."