Members of the San Marcos City Council voted 5-2 during their Jan. 7 meeting to allow the development of a student housing complex at Cape’s Camp. The property is the largest undeveloped piece of land on the San Marcos River, and more than 75 percent of San Marcos voters during the November said they wanted the 45-acre tract to be acquired as parkland. About 20 concerned residents protested the councilmembers’ votes before the Jan. 15 meeting.
Despite this, the development of a 306-unit, 1,000-bedroom apartment complex called The Woodlands of San Marcos at Cape’s Camp was approved during the second reading with the same 5-2 vote. Below, the city councilmembers and the mayor explain their votes.
“There isn’t one particular reason, but when it comes to Cape’s Camp you need to consider it is private property. According to the family and attorney, the property was not and will not be for sale. They had every right to sue us if we were to pursue the property through eminent domain. And the momentary contributions to the parkland at the cost of the developer and not the city for me was enough information to vote in the affirmative.
“Some of the reasons I voted in favor was that I didn’t want the city to go into litigation. I felt confident in state and federal laws federal and municipal, overseeing flooding issues. I also felt confident with the staff who review and assess some of those issues and at the same time wanted to be respectful for the property and property owners. They were willing to partner with the city and added parkland. There are other issues you have to consider as well.”
Kim Porterfield, Place 1:
“It was a very difficult decision, but I think it is a good balance of development and green space. The PDD the staff negotiated was a good deal for the city. We were able to get 20 plus acres of parkland, the developer would be responsible for trash clean up and a shuttle for the students to get to the university.”
Wayne Becak, Place 4:
“We can acquire additional land on the south side of the river without a costly law suit that will provide additional parkland and safer access for our citizens to enjoy along with the 20 acres that includes Cape’s Camp and Thompson Island that was given to us by the developer.”
Shane Scott, Place 6:
“People wanted parkland but they didn’t want to pay for it so this was a way to solve both issues.”
Ryan Thomason, Place 5, also voted in favor of the development. He did not return multiple calls and emails for comment.
Jude Prather, Place 2:
“For how impressive this piece of land along the river is, this development is not that impressive.”
John Thomaides, Place 3:
“For one, 76 percent of voting citizens said they wanted that property acquired as parkland. We had an option to do that and a place to enjoy the river. I believe we should have done and could have done more to do so. If there is a place to put 1,000-bedroom apartments, (Cape’s Camp) should not have been one of them.”
— Report compiled by Karen Zamora