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Realizing Our Community Vision With CodeSMTX

The Vision San Marcos Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2013 and is one of the most important tools our fast growing city has to anticipate changes and to guide those changes in an effective, orderly manner that is consistent with the desires of the community.  A key concern from citizens during the development of the Comprehensive Plan was large multi-family development located within existing neighborhoods. 
Vision San Marcos addressed this concern by creating Intensity Zones as appropriate locations to direct large multi-family projects.  The image below demonstrates the power of a Comprehensive Plan in being able to direct growth.  Since the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, large multi-family development requests have been focused primarily in the Downtown.  Downtown is identified in the Comprehensive Plan as a prime location for dense multi-family development and the development codes in this area have already been updated to support that type of development.
This map includes all submittals for multi-family projects from 2005 to present.  This includes zoning change requests and development permits.  Projects may or may not be constructed.
  • Vision San Marcos guides WHERE growth occurs in San Marcos.
  • CodeSMTX will update the Land Development Code with new options and tools to shape HOW growth occurs.
  • Intensity Zones provide locations to accommodate the City's growing population in well-planned areas where people can meet their daily needs within a short walk, bike, transit trip, or drive
CodeSMTX is a refinement of the Comprehensive Plan and a more detailed level of planning that provides the tools necessary to facilitate development in Intensity Zones. 
Vision San Marcos Intensity Zones
CodeSMTX Refinement
To make the plans for Intensity Zones a reality, new zoning will be necessary.  CodeSMTX is proposing "Character Based Zoning" which is a type of form based code.  Character Based Zoning is proposed in Intensity Zones to achieve a walkable mixed-use environment.  Character Based Zoning will also address the specific use of a building but to a lesser degree than conventional use based zoning districts. Examples of Form and Use based development codes are provided below.

Use Based Code

Form Based Code

Existing Zoning Districts throughout the City are generally "use-based".  Conventional Use based zoning separates different Land Uses from one another focusing entirely on the way a building is used.  Segregating land uses create an environment that is reliant on the automobile for transportation.
In areas designed for more intense development, incorporation of additional zoning tools that address street design and building form lead to the creation of walkable mixed-use environments. Form based zoning districts focus on the interaction of buildings and the street by focusing on building design, travel lanes, on-street parking, street landscaping, sidewalks, and bicycle infrastructure.

What's Next

In the months ahead, the City and consultant team will refine the Code and will continue to answer questions and gather input from residents, the citizen committee (Think Tank), Council Members and the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission. Below is a list of upcoming events and meetings:
  • September 16 - Think Tank Meeting
  • September 21 - Speakers Bureau: CONA 7PM @ Dunbar
  • September 30 - Joint City Council and Planning Commission Workshop 5:30-7:30 PM @ San Marcos Activity Center
  • October 7 - Think Tank Meeting
The updates to the Land Development Code are part of our City's Long Range Planning Road Map, which will help us realize the Vision San Marcos Comprehensive Plan and sustain the quality of life we enjoy in our community.

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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