More than 20 protestors gathered before Tuesday’s city council meeting and 40 more piled inside during the debate, but councilmembers did not change their minds during the second reading of the controversial Camp’s Camp student housing development.
In a filled lobby, protestors held up numerous neon signs reading “Save it for our children.” However, the zoning that would allow Georgia-based Dovetail Development to build a 306-unit, 1,000-bedroom student apartment complex was approved with the same 5-2 margin as the first reading.
and councilmembers Kim Porterfield, Place 1, Wayne Becak, Place 4, Ryan Thomason, Place 5 and Shane Scott, Place 6, voted for the development and 23-acre parkland donation. Councilmembers Jude Prather, Place 2, and John Thomaides, Place 3, voted against the apartments.
Scott was the first to vote to reconsider the zone change because he wanted to add a requirement that the apartment complex, The Woodlands at San Marcos, be maintained “forever.” The addition to the agreement would require Dovetail to keep the management onsite and the property upheld.
Thomaides said he would like to see the apartment management be responsible for the upkeep of the parkland adjacent to the student-housing complex. David Mulkey, Dovetail developer, said he would agree to provide labor to maintain the 23-acre parkland.
“(Mulkey) said he will clean it up, then I would like it in writing,” Thomaides said.
Thomaides proposed requiring Dovetail to pick up trash at the 23-acre donated parkland. However, the council rejected his amendment with a 4-3 vote. Guerrero, Thomason, Becak and Scott voted in opposition to park maintenance.
The councilmembers voted unanimously to amend the agreement to strengthen the developer’s requirement to provide adequate bus service to Texas State.
After city council’s final vote, residents left city hall shaking their index fingers in the direction of the councilmembers.
“They were beating the dead horse in there. They are taking our history and destroying it,” said Ollie Giles, San Marcos resident.
Giles waited with other community members outside the city chamber as the council negotiated new verbiage to the Planned Development District section of the agreement. The section allows the developer to donate 23 acres of land to the city as parkland.
Jaimy Breihan, San Marcos resident, was one of at least 15 residents who spoke during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting. Breihan said he protested outside City Hall before the meeting to show the community changes need to be made with the development process.
“I’m in the construction development business,” Breihan said. “We (protestors) are not anti-development, we’re anti-stupid development.”
— Minerva Hernandez-Garcia contributed to this report