Several students were forced to prolong moving into The Woods of San Marcos apartment complex after the city denied their certificate of occupancy Aug. 14.
The Woods was denied their certificate of occupancy due to “unforeseen issues in the outer areas of the property,” according to complex’s website. Management was notified the day before the planned move-in date, leaving many students without an apartment, according to The Woods’ website.
Several concerned citizens and activists were pleased the city denied the certificate to ensure the complex is safe for those living in the complex and in adjacent neighborhoods, such as the Blanco Gardens homes. Many residents believe the incomplete drainage system in The Woods complex was responsible for additional flooding in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood during the Memorial Day weekend floods.
Melissa Derrick, concerned citizen and Place 6 city council candidate, has persistently voiced her hesitation toward the project since the development worked its way up to the city council agenda back in 2012. She believes a proper drainage system is the “highest priority” regarding the Cape’s Camp development.
“We don’t ever want to put our students into harm’s way just to get them moved in on the date the apartment complex promised them,” Derrick said. “The apartment complex, I believe, knew that they weren’t ready.”
According to The Woods’ website, management was “confident” the complex was ready for move-in despite lacking some of the amenities. Management declined to make any comments in addition to the updates on their website.
“It’s unfortunate that so many students are now homeless and an entire neighborhood has been devastated,” said Lisa Marie Coppoletta, San Marcos resident and concerned citizen. “Sixty years of personal memories were flooded out because of irresponsible members on the (council).”
Coppoletta said although many students are currently without a home, she was pleased to see people speak out against the Cape’s Camp project when it was originally brought forth to councilmembers.
“All the hotels in town are full with people from Blanco Gardens,” Coppoletta said. “Now you have students from Cape’s Camp and the apartments by N. LBJ, who are looking for hotels.”
Coppoletta’s comment was a tip of the hat to those students who signed a lease with Eight17 Lofts off N. LBJ Drive.
Eight17’s completion date has changed four times since February of last year due to permit complications. The apartment’s management company, Innovative Student Housing, stopped sending compensation checks on Dec. 12, 2014 despite promises made in leasing contract addendums signed in Sept. 2014.
Students were promised a delayed move-in date in late spring of last year, yet Eight17 Lofts still stands unoccupied and unfinished.
Management at The Woods will compensate students $125 per day for the inconvenience the delayed move-in day has caused students, according to The Woods’ website. In addition, management is prorating the rent for the days students have not been able to move in, according to The Woods’ website.
“You’ve got students and families all homeless because of the [council’s] lust for the development,” Coppoletta said.
The council voted 5-2 in favor of the Cape’s Camp development back in January 2013.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and council members Kim Porterfield, Place 1, Wayne Becak, Place 4, Ryan Thomason, Place 5, and Shane Scott, Place 6, voted to approve the rezoning. Council members Jude Prather, Place 2, and John Thomaides, Place 3, voted against the apartments.
The council is currently working on a study to determine whether the incomplete drainage system was the cause of additional flooding to the Blanco Garden homes and adjacent neighborhoods.
“What I think every member of the neighborhood wants to know is did this development exacerbate a flood, did it make the water higher, did it make it go backwards?” said Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, in a June 16 council meeting. “Did it make it go into places it had never gone before?”
Officials at the complex have deferred all questions to their website. Updates will be posted on the website as they are made available, according to an employee at the complex.