San Marcos: City Rezones East Hays County Land in Hopes of Luring Hi-Tech, Mixed-Use Development
Feature Photo (above): The land northeast of where the Hays and Guadalupe counties meet at Staples Road has been zoned for a massive (367.5-acre) mixed use, high-tech development. Image: Google Streets.
by Art Benavidez
San Marcos (Hays County) — Earlier this month, the City of San Marcos approved a zoning case for a large mixed-use development that has been percolating for several years.
The city approved the rezoning of approximately 367.5 acres of land, through four separate ordinances, for a mixed use/residential project tentatively titled The Mayan Project.
The zoning change resolutions address different parcels of the same project located at 2801 Staples Road in the city’s southeast extra territorial jurisdiction. The land continues northeast from Staples to the San Marcos River and it straddles the Hays-Guadalupe county line.
The first ordinance rezoned approximately 38.019 acres of land from future development district to light industrial district.
The surrounding area and the proposed site are undeveloped rural land. To handle traffic, the developer presupposes construction by the Texas Department of Transportation and Hays County of a Farm to Market road (FM 110). Right-of-way for the road, which cuts through the entire length of the property, has been dedicated. The right of way was labeled, erroneously, on a concept site plan as State Highway 110.
A new road (mislabelled as State Highway 110) is proposed to run through the future mixed use development in east Hays County.
The light industrial zoning applies to a tract north of the future road and would allow for the construction of general commercial and civic buildings, with allowable uses including:
Warehouse and distribution
Research and development facility
Building material sales
The height area standards of the dwellings include four stories, with a 7,000 square feet minimum, 70-foot lot width minimum and 20-foot setbacks.
Aerial perspective of the Mayan at San Marcos River City.
David Earl, speaking on behalf of The Mayan at San Marcos River City, LLC, said the rezoning would allow for habitable uses that would be both environmentally friendly given its close proximity to the San Marcos River, and also have compatible use with the neighboring land.
“The property is not located within the river corridor,” Earl said. “Part of the river does touch on the property and we are going to be extremely careful with that. It’s a precious resource to us.”
Earl said that they planned to use the riverbank as an amenity to the project and the zoning was necessary for adequate “green buildings” that would attract the medical and hi-tech industries, which the city covets.
The building of campus-like, four-story structures and the subsequent residential community, could potentially house a dynamic workforce, which would be appealing to employers looking to set up operations in the city given San Marcos’ close proximity to Austin, according to Earl.
The second ordinance applies to four separate parcels that total about 30.4 acres that were rezoned character district (CD5) with a focus on retail, restaurant and office uses.
The complete list of allowed uses in CD5 includes:
Mobile food court
Bed and breakfast
Indoor and outdoor recreation
The ordinance won unanimous approval after the exclusion of a 12.5-acre tract of land from the approximately 43-acre original rezoning request after an environmental analysis found the land in question to be located in a flood plain
Earl said that portion of land would remain park land and that it would house minor utilities for the park, thus retaining the zoning of future development.
The third ordinance rezoned approximately 78.853 acres from future development district to character district four (CD4).
CD4 allows for higher density residential. The developer concept site plan suggests these three parcels–which are about 17.3, 17.7, and 38.5 acres in size, respectively–will be dedicated for multifamily development. The complete list of residential types allowed in CD4 include:
The fourth, and largest, ordinance rezoned approximately 220.023 acres, a single-family residential component of the project, from future development district to character district three.
Earl said that The Mayan Project was just the working name of the project, which was originally created in 2012, and would eventually be changed to reflect the concerns of the city council regarding Native American appropriateness.
“We are not intending to use the Mayan name in the subdivision or anywhere,” Earl said. “It’s just the name of the entity which owns the land. The name that we had actually settled upon for marketing (purposes is) Rivers Crossing, provided no one else is using that.”
San Antonio-based LJA Engineering Inc. prepared the land use maps for River Crossing. The Mayan at San Marcos River City acquired the land in 2014. Progress was delayed for a time over a dispute with the city that led to litigation over how the master planned development would get sewer service.