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Plan for San Marcos' growth now awaits city approval

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TWC News: Plan for San Marcos' growth now awaits city approval
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After a week of public fine-tuning, the City of San Marcos now has a community-designed vision for the city’s future.

By the year 2035 the population of San Marcos is expected to double. Where those people will live has been the focus of a collaborative planning event between city staff and residents.

The result is a series of small, densely populated areas around activity centers in the community.

"You'll see a little bit more distribution of the density to these areas, but it's clustered in an appropriate way where you have a mixture of housing types," Director of Planning & Development Matt Lewis said.

Areas like highway 123 and the land around the high school could see mixed use development and residential growth. These population centers will be connected by green belts that would improve the cities walk and bike-ability.

“These are the target areas where we would like to see the development occur and what we want to do is structure our ordinances to incentivize the development to occur here,” Lewis said.

One proposal in the plan would create a buffer zone around Texas State University. If adopted by the city, it would allow homeowners to add apartments to their property.

"That would allow residential houses to add a ‘granny flat’ or a secondary unit in the back of their structure to help diversify some of the housing options available in this area," Lewis said.

Community members who took part in the process say there has been a lot of give-and-take to balance the interests of different groups in the community.

"How do you get there and still respect areas that don't want to change or people that aren't ready for that change?” San Marcos resident Lisa Prewitt said. “It's a real touchy subject."

With more and more people moving to the area, preserving unique identity has been a priority.

"San Marcos is so unique, right in between Austin and San Antonio. We don't ever have to be them, we can be the place that people come to to get away from that and we need to maintain that for sure," Prewitt said.

Citizens' comments will be added to the plan, which will have to be adopted by the city council.

If approved, the plan would serve as a guide to future development in the city.

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