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San Marcos apartment project moves forward while park vote looms

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TWC News: San Marcos apartment project moves forward while park vote looms
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A small green space along the San Marcos River east of Interstate-35 is known as ‘Stokes Park.’

If the city's master plan is realized, the park would be connected to the city's other riverfront parks, creating a large connected series of parks.

The key piece of land in that plan is Cape's Camp.

Angie Ramirez lives in the neighborhood that borders Cape's Camp. Developers have proposed building a 300-plus unit apartment complex on the land, while at the same time preserving the land next to the river for a park.

"This piece of land is going to be developed once in any of our lifetimes,” Ramirez said. “This is it, this is our shot, how are we going to answer for it?"

Dianne Wassenich with the San Marcos River Foundation says what developers are proposing doesn't equal a park.

"The flood way and floodplain is not a park in our opinion,” she said. “You need to have land that is up out of the flood way that you can have ball fields on, picnic tables or whatever."
There are also concerns that building in the area would create potential flood hazards for neighbors.

"The concern is that it's just going to block the flooding and make it worse," Ramirez said.

Proposition 1 is a non-binding referendum that would show the city how residents feel about spending money to buy the land for a park, but the vote isn't slowing down the apartments.

"Now we're going back through another round of parks board and planning and zoning commission this week and next," Wassenich said.

The San Marcos City Council will have the final say on the zoning change that could pave the way for the apartments. They could take up the issues as early as Nov. 7, the day after the election.

Ramirez and her neighbors are hopeful that voters and the city will consider the long term effects the land could have on the city.

"The threat of flooding is just for our neighborhood and the opportunity lost of what that could be is lost for everybody," Ramirez said.

The city's park advisory board will discuss the issue at its Tuesday night meeting.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to make its decision on the land's zoning the following Tuesday.

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