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San Marcos City Council Chambers were packed Tuesday evening when the City Council approved a Chapter 380 development agreement with the SMART Terminal and the annexation and rezoning of 734 acres for the development of the industrial rail park. Daily Record photo by Denise Cathey

Council approves annexing and rezoning for SMART Terminal

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

After comments from 19 residents of San Marcos and environs, the San Marcos City Council voted to approve the Chapter 380 agreement with the SMART (San Marcos Air, Rail and Truck) Terminal industrial rail park, the annexation of 734 acres for the project and the rezoning of the annexed property to Heavy Industrial. Joca Marquez was the sole dissenter on all three votes

Mayor Jane Hughson voiced support for the project and noted that the council will be watching the development as it moves along.

“As we move forward on this project tonight … you can be assured as council and staff that we will not take our eyes off the ball,” she said.

Assistant City Manager Steve Parker made a presentation before the vote on the Chapter 380 agreement outlining the agreement and the benefits of approving the agreement and annexation of the 734-acre parcel. Parker also addressed issues with the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) dispute between San Marcos and Martindale over the land. Annexation will give the city “a different level of control over land use, flood prevention, water quality standards,” Parker said. And as for whether the property is San Marcos’ to annex, Parker said, “We are extremely confident that it is in our ETJ.” He added that San Marcos will continue working with Martindale on a potential ETJ swap for additional acreage that are slated to become part of the rail park.

During public comments, an array of residents spoke on both sides of the issue. Former Mayor John Thomaides spoke in favor of the development, saying, “The time is now to give our citizens that need these jobs the most the chance for a better life.”

San Marcos CISD Superintendent Michael Cardona also expressed support for the development and the opportunities it would present for a partnership with the school district and for jobs for SMCISD graduates.

Dianne Wassenich, speaking on behalf of the San Marcos River Foundation, said that the foundation had decided not to oppose the development. She said that the new dais and the new development code in place will prevent many problems that have occurred with developments in the past.

On the other side, representatives from Smarter San Marcos voiced concerns about the ETJ dispute and the potential effects of a lawsuit over it; the timing of the vote, during spring break when many families and Texas State University students are out of town; and other issues they say should be worked out. The group presented council with a 12-page handout of maps and questions about the development.

Mary Beth Harper, who has lived between Martindale and San Marcos for nearly 50 years, voiced concerns about sewage lines running from the development to city facilities.

Residents Joe Ptak and Camille Phillips asked council to postpone the vote and slow the process to get questions answered.

“I request that you table this and answer everything,” Phillips said.

A full story will be in Thursday’s San Marcos Daily Record.