Home News City Council focuses on student housing, back-in parking and CDBG funding

City Council focuses on student housing, back-in parking and CDBG funding

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San Marcos City Council members discussed ways to improve the community at their meeting Tuesday night.

Abigail Gillfillan, planning manager for the City of San Marcos, starting off the meeting with discussions regarding permits for student housing developments.

Since 2011, Texas State enrollment has increased by 11 percent, and the city’s population has seen a 20 percent increase.

“We can expect to continue to see a demand for student housing within San Marcos,” said Gillfillan.

Student housing would be required to obtain a specific permit by approved recommendation from P&Z, and a final approval from City Council.

During public comment, citizens discussed the removal of Cape’s Dam—a removal that was approved by the council in March. A group of activists shared their opinions on why the city should preserve the dam.

“There is still time to stop this destruction and turn this thing around. Whether man-made or natural, a waterfall is a spiritual place,” said a San Marcos resident of 50 years. “The waterfalls are the most special. These sacred places are where our children come to play and our wounded come to heal.”

While the controversy of Cape’s Dam was the main focus during public comment, there was no discussion on back-in parking.

Back-in parking was applied to downtown San Marcos to ensure bicyclist safety.

After talking with several people in the area, Jane Hughson, Place 4 city council member, said she finds it problematic that many people don’t shop in certain areas anymore because of parking. She suggested the establishment of bike lanes on proper streets to encourage safety.

Downtown is the fastest growing area in San Marcos, and Scott Greyson, Place 5 city council member, said he wants to maintain the community’s safety.

“I’m not willing to place my downtown resident neighbors in harm’s way,” Gregson said.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero is in support of back-in parking for safety of the people, and because of the community’s input on making downtown San Marcos a walking and biking area.

The council plans to continue back-in parking downtown.

“Back-in parking is a new way to look at things and it does make our downtown safer for bicyclists,” said Jude Prather, Place 2 city council member.

The meeting ended with a discussion of the 2016 Action Plan, which is designed to provide funding for projects.

The Community Development Block Grant funds nonprofits and organizations and projects serving low to middle income populations.

With $420,164 to spread over 11 different applicants, the council discussed what projects it should put its money toward.

A dog park on the east side of the city was in consideration for CDBG funding.

Other CDBG applicants include St. Bernard Project, Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center and Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.