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CodeSMTX to grow, update city

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San Marcos is consistently ranked one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. The city planning code needs an update to accommodate the modernization of the city and to keep up with the avid growth rate.

This updated development is CodeSMTX and depending on how City Council votes after the second reading, it could immediately go into effect. This is the main part of the Vision San Marcos Comprehensive plan, a 2013 proposition to provide accommodations to the growing size and scope of the city.

In a video promotion for CodeSMTX, Planning Manager Abigail Gilfillan said the purpose of Vision San Marcos is to guide future growth in the city and anticipate what changes need to be made to better adapt to the desires of the community.

“To fully realize our vision, we need to update our land development code. (It) contains our rules for development and determines the look and feel of our city. The code is an essential tool for realizing the goals of Vision San Marcos.”

The Planning and Development Department of San Marcos has been working on Vision San Marcos and CodeSMTX for more than 3 years by reaching out to community residents and elected officials, Gilfillan said.

“Public input and community conversation help the city address some of its most pressing growth challenges,” Gilfillan said.

Kristy Stark, director of communications for the city of San Marcos, said the main aspect which could affect students will be the limitations of new off-campus housing complexes. The locations where this type of complex can be built are much more limited.

“The new code would not affect student housing complexes that are already built and operational, but any newly proposed complexes would have to follow the guidelines for Purpose Built Student Housing as defined in Code SMTX,” Stark said.

Stark said that while changing the planning code will not affect the university, currently standing housing or the floodplains in the city limits; it could impact students through parking — especially in the downtown area.

“Parking requirements and fee-in-lieu are part of Code SMTX,” Stark said. These entail more ticket officers patrolling the square in an effort to keep parking spots from being filled by students or workers.

Section 1.1.2.1 of the final draft of CodeSMTX listed the reasoning for revamping the old city planning code to protect the culture of San Marcos.

Purposes of promoting the public health, safety, morals and general welfare, and protecting and preserving places and areas of environmental, historical, cultural and/or architectural importance and significance within the city limits.

City Council is set to host a workshop March 6 for input and amendments. The second reading of CodeSMTX and vote will occur March 20.