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Council will further postpone Comprehensive Plan decision

Friday, December 22, 2023

City aiming for public outreach before moving forward

The San Marcos City Council voted to further postpone the final decision on the SMTX Vision Comprehensive Plan in order to provide more time for public outreach at the regularly scheduled meeting this week. The comprehensive plan is meant to guide long-term decision making for key components of the city, including housing, the environment, economic development, transportation and land use.

According to the Vision SMTX website, there were five guiding principles used during the creation of the plan. The plan should promote and balance economic and environmental sustainability for current and future residents. It should improve access to employment and essential goods and services while respecting individual preferences and the unique character of existing neighborhoods and places. It should ensure that existing and new developments have sufficient infrastructure and access to critical amenities through multiple modes of transportation. It should ensure that any new development adds value to the entire community and long-term implications would be considered. It also includes a Preferred Scenario Map which is meant to guide the location and types of development that will occur.

The council recommended approval of the plan with amendments at the Oct. 17 meeting. Staff incorporated the amendments into the plan and the council considered it at the Nov. 6 meeting. At the Nov. meeting, many in the community used public comment to relay the feeling that there wasn’t substantial public input compared to the previous comprehensive plan, Vision San Marcos: A River Runs Through Us. The council then decided to postpone the decision until the Jan. 16 meeting and created a committee to discuss the plan composed of San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson, San Marcos City Council Member Alyssa Garza and San Marcos City Council Member Shane Scott.

At Tuesday’s meeting, San Marcos City Manager Stephanie Reyes said staff would like to be transparent with the public to let them know exactly what to expect at the Jan. 16 meeting. The agenda item for further postponement would serve as a notice to the public that the comprehensive plan would not go up for a vote on Jan. 16, but there would be a committee report and discussion of the outreach plan to provide additional information for the public on that day.

“The council committee just met about the outreach plan and next steps … on Monday of last week (Dec. 11),” Reyes said. “There is going to be more suggested outreach. There’s going to be a report that’s going to be given and we wanted to do that on Jan. 16. That’s the direction of the committee. So to not cause confusion, we’re wanting to get direction tonight.”

Hughson said before a vote could be scheduled, the deadline must be set for public outreach.

“Then the committee will meet [and] look at the information, may or may not make a recommendation,” Hughson said. “Then we’re going to have to leave it (the outreach efforts) open five or six weeks, and then the committee needs to meet. And then we have to have something to go on an agenda, which means that’s like ten days hence. ... Actually it would be on an agenda, at most, maybe a month after the deadline of the survey.”

San Marcos Director of Planning and Development Amanda Hernandez suggested setting a date that would be following the recommendations by the committee.

“In addition to the outreach, to gather input, I think we’ll have to go back out and let people know when that date comes around,” Hernandez said, adding that the majority of that information will be known by the Jan. 16 meeting.

To learn more about SMTX Vision Comprehensive Plan go to visionsmtx. com/comprehen-sive plan/

San Marcos Record

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