The City of San Marcos is updating its comprehensive plan through its Dream San Marcos initiative, a vision aimed toward guiding the growth and development of the city over the next 10 years.
The master plan is expected to be complete by early 2013. City Council will meet on Wednesday, July 11 to further discuss how to implement updates and changes to the 1996 Horizons Comprehensive Master Plan.
said the City of San Marcos is required by law to update its Comprehensive Plan in order to help respond to changes within the community.
“Looking at San Marcos in the ‘90s, we were a different community then than we are now,” Guerrero said. “We’ve grown, and this updated plan gives us the ability to look into the future.”
City Council established a citizen advisory council and a steering committee made up of volunteer members representing a cross-section of the community to help develop the master plan.
Steering committee member Jerry Borcherding said the goal of the committee is to guide the process so the citizen advisory council can stay on task and focus on responsible development in San Marcos and affected outlying areas.
Borcherding said the steering committee has held joint meetings with the citizen advisory council that have consisted of presentations by engineers, developers, and others with experience in the planning process.
Borcherding said the preliminary educational process is finished and now committee members can begin breaking out into smaller groups to discuss and actually develop the master plan.
Citizen advisory councilmember Dianne Wassenich said the council has held weekly meetings over the last several months during which a variety of speakers have educated councilmembers about various issues that affect the city.
“There’s a list of goals we have worked out that is very carefully worded,” Wassenich said. “It’s a long list but includes typical things that go into planning, such as taking care of neighborhoods, accommodating the university’s growth and taking care of the city’s natural resources and economic development.”
Wassenich said determining the best locations to construct new apartment complexes is one of the main issues within the city that must be resolved.
“We have 2,000 acres designated for apartments right now, so there is plenty of land,” Wassenich said. “However, there has been a lot of controversy in the last year because developers want to put the apartments in other places, sometimes in the middle of single-family neighborhoods.”
Wassenich said this is an artificially framed issue because designated land for apartments was worked into the 1996 Horizons Master Plan.
Wassenich said developers often want to build new apartment complexes in areas near riverbanks and creeks, which is environmentally problematic.
“This is a big issue for many of us from the community who believe the San Marcos River is our most valuable resource,” Wassenich said. “We have an incredible river that is clear as a bell, beautiful and sought out by tourists, but if we build along the watersheds, oil, grease, antifreeze and other sediment can lead to pollution of the river.”
Wassenich said if certain items in the Horizons Master Plan hadn’t been neglected over the last 15 years, these issues wouldn’t exist now.
“It’s great to make a new master plan, but someone has to follow it,” Wassenich said.