The future of a property appraised at $5.45 million will be in the hands of San Marcos voters during the upcoming November elections.
Cape’s Camp, owned by the Thornton and Stokes families, is on the market. Cape’s Camp is the last largest undeveloped riverfront property in San Marcos, and voters will be asked during the Nov. 6 general election if the city should attempt to purchase the property.
, director of development services for the City of San Marcos, said 45 acres are for sale until developers close a contract on the land. He said Dovetail Development, based in Athens, Ga., is the only company that has submitted a zoning change request, which is part of the process to buy the land.
Dovetail Development submitted a contract to build a 306-unit, 1,000-bedroom student-housing complex called The Woodlands on 45 acres of Cape’s Camp. The developers also plan to gift the city 20 acres of parkland.
Cape’s Camp is currently zoned for mostly future land use. Lewis said in order for the developers to continue their process, the zoning of the property needs to be changed.
City councilmember John Thomaides, Place 3, said San Marcos residents have expressed interest in having the city purchase Cape’s Camp to use as parkland. The goal of the purchase would be to prevent student housing like The Woodlands from being built on the property. City council has added three propositions to the general election ballot.
The first proposition asks residents if they consent to the city acquiring “70 acres, more or less,” of Cape’s Camp for parkland and green space use at the appraised market value price. The second proposition will ask voters if the city should use eminent domain if the property’s owners won’t sell. The third would authorize the city to raise property taxes to purchase the land if necessary.
A one-cent raise in the property tax rate could translate into approximately $3 million over the next 20 years if voters decide the city should develop the space as parkland with a proposed tax increase.
“I don’t believe there will be a tax increase,” Thomaides said. “I would hate to raise taxes to do this.”
City Manager Jim Nuse said the 45 acres of Cape’s Camp that Dovetail Development wants to buy has been appraised at $5.45 million. He said 38.5 acres on the north side of the San Marcos River were appraised at $2.94 million and 31.3 acres on the south side at $2.52 million. The Thorntons’ landholdings along that portion of the river reportedly total about 98 acres.
City council authorized the selling of Leah Tract, a property near the Hays County Civic Center, during its Sept. 18 meeting. The sale was to help fund the city’s potential purchase of Cape’s Camp.
Thomaides said there was a community input session earlier this year where some concerns were expressed about using Cape’s Camp for multi-family housing development. He said, however, there has not been a presentation from the developers or any public hearings. Thomaides said the potential development is still working its way through the public sphere.
City council is scheduled to consider Dovetail Development’s proposed project Nov. 7, the day after general election.