The creation of new neighborhoods, office buildings and parks could be on the horizon for a large, undeveloped plot of land in San Marcos.
Walton Development and Management, a Canadian land management company, has plans to develop 495 acres off Centerpoint Road into a public utility district consisting of single-family homes, community areas and commercial offices. As a public utility district, the development would provide utilities such as electricity, waste collection and water to residents.
The plan for the public utility district, tentatively titled the Gas Lamp District, includes apartment complexes, schools and senior citizen communities along with natural elements such as parks and basins.
Alexa Knight, regional vice president of Walton Development and Management, said the potential for developments at the Gas Lamp District could attract residents to what is thought of as a college town.
Plans for the development were presented to the San Marcos City Council during the Feb. 19 meeting. An additional property tax would be imposed on those looking to buy homes or offices in the area because the land is slated to become a public utility district.
Knight said the potential tax for the new district is estimated at 39 cents per every $100 spent. This would be in addition to the city tax of 59 cents per every $100.
Single-family homes in the Gas Lamp District would range from $150,000 to $200,000, Knight said. The median price of a home in San Marcos is $139,699, according to CNN’s money webpage. The total property tax on the cheapest home in the public utilities district would be slightly less than $1,500. The tax on the median priced home in San Marcos would be about $830.
These estimates place the Gas Lamp District in the highest price range for the San Marcos area. This price range is not typically associated with Walton’s target customers who are young, first-time homeowners.
Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, said Walton’s tax, when compounded with other city-mandated rates, would make purchasing a house in the Gas Lamp District nearly impossible for would-be homebuyers.
“You’re going to get young, first-time home buyers to pay $2,000 a year in city tax plus the school district tax plus the county and road tax? That’s your plan?” Thomaides said.
The district would have to adhere to a new city ordinance called SmartCode. Under the SmartCode policy, roadways, bike lanes and sidewalks must meet standards set by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Gas Lamp District would be the first development to be built under the new ordinance.
Plans for the Gas Lamp District are still preliminary, with an additional meeting scheduled for Aug. 14 along with a public hearing. San Marcos residents are encouraged to attend and share their views on the proposed district.