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During the August 29th CodeSMTX Workshop, City Council focused on how our new development code can support the housing needs of both current and future residents in San Marcos.  The event featured a panel of experts from the Central Texas region with knowledge and experience working with communities to deliver diverse and affordable housing options. Featured panelists included: 
  • Terry Mitchell - Momark Development
  • Sean Garretson - Pegasus Planning and Development
  • Adriana Cruz - Greater San Marcos Partnership
  • Jim Adams - McCann Adams Studio
  • Brian Kelsey - Civic Analytics
If you were not able to attend in person, you can view the event and all materials from the evening on the website here.
The conversation at the City Council Workshop explored challenges related to affordability and housing in San Marcos. One of the key issues that has been identified during public comment on the draft code is balancing the need for affordable and diverse housing types with neighborhood protection.

Housing and Affordability Challenges

The distribution of housing in San Marcos between owner vs rental occupied housing is significantly different than the average distribution for the State of Texas. Factors that may contribute include housing affordability and the need for student housing. 
The median household income in San Marcos is roughly half the median income in Texas. Factors that may contribute include a median age of 23 versus 33 and a higher percentage of college students working part time.
The cost of housing has increased significantly in the last 4 years and has surpassed the medians for the State of Texas.  Factors that may contribute include rapid growth and an increased demand for housing.

How is our new code addressing these challenges?

Planning for Student Housing
The City's Comprehensive Plan directs student housing to high density mixed use areas that do not conflict with existing neighborhoods.  Providing more opportunities for housing in these preferred areas may relieve some of the pressure on the housing market in existing neighborhoods.
Diversity of Housing in Preferred Development Areas
Housing choice was discussed as an important element of an economic development strategy.  Providing diverse housing opportunities from low density single family to high density multifamily and everything in the middle creates choice for families, young professionals, and the elderly.  Medium density residential development seamlessly integrated into complete neighborhoods is an opportunity for affordable and diverse housing choices. More and more people desire smaller yards and more services and amenities in walkable distance. CodeSMTX is focusing on creating these opportunities in preferred development areas identified in the Comprehensive Plan.
Protecting Existing Neighborhoods
The Comprehensive Plan identifies six different existing neighborhood areas. These are diverse places with low to medium density residential, a mixture of uses, and a high quality of life that should be maintained and protected. New development and redevelopment should match the character and intensity of existing neighborhoods and provide opportunities for home ownership.
CodeSMTX would remove incompatible districts as options for rezoning requests and replace them with new neighborhood districts that will only be available after adoption of the code through a public rezoning request. New neighborhood districts will be more compatible with the existing character and provide more opportunity for home ownership. They will offer additional protections such as expanded owner occupancy regulations and required rental registration.  
Neighborhood Districts are only intended for existing mixed residential areas and not predominantly single family areas. Rental registration provides the City the opportunity to hold landlords responsible for maintenance. Expanded owner occupancy regulations will apply to medium density and high density residential in addition to single family.

What's Next for CodeSMTX

In the months ahead, the community will continue to have the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft Code document. Proposed revisions to the draft will be presented to recommending boards and commissions followed by direction from City Council. After final revisions are made, the Code will then be scheduled to go to City Council for consideration and adoption during the Fall and Winter of 2016.

CodeSMTX Speakers Bureau

The CodeSMTX team can visit your small group or organization with a presentation tailored to your interests.  Let us know what your interested in and we'll come share the latest in the CodeSMTX process with your group.
Sign up here and we will contact you for confirmation: CodeSMTX Speakers Bureau
For more information contact the Planning Department at 512.393.8230 or email
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