Traffic, sidewalk conditions and development in high-density areas were among the topics considered during the Comprehensive Master Plan open house Wednesday.
Business owners, homeowners and committee members gathered at the San Marcos Activity Center for the open house. The event was conducted by two city council-appointed committees, the Citizen Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee. Six different subcommittees presented their goals.
Residents viewed and left comments on each of the subcommittees’ presentations. The presentations included a Preferred Growth Scenario Map in which color-coded regions distinguished the most- and least-dense areas of the city. The map has not been adopted by city council, said Emily Koller, city planner.
“The objectives are to capture the essence of the plan and provide guidance for what we want to see happen in the future,” Koller said. “Our next step will be taking feedback from the community until spring, and then the plan will be revised to implement some of that feedback.”
Angie Ramirez, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Neighborhoods and Housing Subcommittee, said the scenario map depicts a guideline for zoning and placement for infrastructure.
One of the more popular committees among the open house attendees was transportation.
The transportation subcommittee is working to create more sidewalks and obtain “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation. This designation would require thinning out automobile traffic in high-density areas of the city and reducing the number of pedestrian- and bicyclist-related accidents.
“The sidewalks are essential,” said Bill DeSoto, associate professor of political science. “We’re such a young population here in San Marcos, and it’s extremely important for students to feel safe when they are walking or biking.”
The university was included in one of the master plan’s 113 objectives. This objective involves partnering with Texas State to develop programming to engage new audiences in economic development efforts in San Marcos.
Patrick Rose, president of Corridor Title, said it is important for the university to be a part of the master plan because it is the foundation to San Marcos’ growth for years to come. He said the university should be embraced and involved in this process.
“(In) the draft proposed by the Citizens Committee, the university, the most important asset, is only mentioned one time,” Rose said.
Rose said the university is mentioned 14 times in the business community’s draft of the plans. His reasoning was business owners recognize the importance of the university.
“That’s why every student on campus, every professor and business owner that depends on the success and growth of the university ought to be interested and involved in this process,” Rose said.
Ramirez said the master plan is about trying not to be shortsighted when it comes to growth. Betsy Robertson, city planner, said growth is inevitable, and this process will make it easier for development, such as being able to place apartments in high-density areas.
“We have the infrastructure in those high-density areas, as well as other incentives, which is attractive to businesses,” Robertson said. “It also keeps the homeowner happy because their homes, if built in less-dense areas of the city, will maintain their value.”