The San Marcos City Council approved a piece of development Tuesday that would create up to 1,750 new single-family residences in the city’s outlying land.
The councilmembers voted 6-1 in favor of the development agreement for the western extraterritorial jurisdiction. The approval allows Lazy Oaks Ranch, LP to build single-family neighborhoods on a 937-acre tract near, with an additional 469 acres of open space and floodwater drainage area. Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, was the dissenting vote.
Kristy Stark, assistant director of Development Services-Permit Center, said Lazy Oaks Ranch would sit entirely on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, with Purgatory Creek dividing the site. Stark said the amount of land to be developed depends upon the results of federal environmental studies.
The agreement includes dedicating 23 acres of parkland, enforcing environmental standards and leaving Pulpit’s Cave undisturbed. The developer would have to comply with current specifications for water and extend city infrastructure to the land.
, director of planning and development services, said the closest useable wastewater facility to the land is approximately two miles away.
Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, said the developer will pay for the water and wastewater infrastructure, but the city will maintain it once the construction is completed.
The agreement provides a 100-foot buffer between the new and existing homes near the Settlement and Fox Ridge subdivisions.
City Manager Jim Nuse and County Commissioner Will Conley, Precinct 3, said they met with non-city residents in the area in late November and early December to discuss the proposal. Conley said there were residents who were not pleased with the development agreement at the time.
One San Marcos resident who is not pleased with the development is Charles Soechting, who spoke during the citizens’ comment portion of Monday’s meeting. He said the councilmembers will not “find one person who is happy with this deal.” Soechting said the city council is not doing the most responsible thing with the piece of land because once completed, the developer will try to “flip it.” He said by approving the agreement, the city council is not protecting the aquifer or the San Marcos River.
“If we are going to approve this deal, might as well put a sign on each end of town that says ‘We are for sale,’” Soechting said.
Stark said there is not a specific timeline for development or infrastructure, but the developer has to make progress within the first five years of the contract.
Councilman Ryan Thomason, Place 5, said the partnership between the developer and the city has come a long way from the original agreement brought to the council in December 2011. The agreement brought to council Monday is more specific.
“It’s not everything everyone wants, but it’s a good document,” Thomason said.