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The San Marcos City Council passed an amended version of a parking variance for the Whisper Planned Development District, where a new Amazon warehouse is to be constructed, that removes the requirement of including rooftop solar panels at its Jan. 5 meeting.

The San Marcos City Council passed an amended version of a parking variance for the Whisper Planned Development District, the location in which a new Amazon warehouse is expected to be built, at its Jan. 5 meeting.

The original version of the amendment, brought before the council at its Dec. 15 meeting, required the facility to take several environmental precautions, including grass-lined channels, electric vehicle charging stations and rooftop solar panels. 

The amended version removes the solar panel requirement, replacing it with a requirement that the structure’s roof is “designed to accept future solar panel installation.” The resolution will not require the installation of solar panels in the future.

Several councilmembers support this change including Mark Gleason, who fears excessive regulation may deter businesses like Amazon from coming to San Marcos.

"I just don't want us to get the reputation ofsomeone comes in for a warrant or a variance... and then we turn around and do hundreds of thousands of dollars of variations to their plans," Gleason said.

Councilmember Maxfield Baker, however, believes eliminating the solar panel requirement is a missed opportunity to better San Marcos.

“The reason our land development code has requirements like these… is to give us as council members an opportunity to negotiate for something that’s better for our community,” Baker said. “I think we are failing [the community] by not asking for more solar panels.”

The resolution passed 6-1, with Baker being the only council member to vote against the resolution. 

Following a public hearing, the council voted to approve an ordinance annexing approximately 73 acres of land near Harris Hill Road into the city. However, an ordinance to rezone that same land from a future development district to a manufactured home district, a designation allowing for mobile home communities, failed to pass after councilmember Shane Scott and other members of the council voiced concerns residents of the district will rent lots rather than own them.

“I think if you're going to create affordable housing, then people need to own the land and if they're not going to own the land on this big piece of property then I don't see the value in it,” Scott said. "I don't see affordable housing there.”

The council approved a $432,741 purchase of a hydro-excavation system from Freightliner of Austin for use by the Public Services Department. 

The council also approved a Developer Participation Agreement providing for the city to participate in the cost of extending wastewater infrastructure from the Trace Subdivision to the Posey Business Park area in the amount of $850,248.

Councilmembers voted to approve the award of a construction contract to Patin Construction, LLC for the Uhland Road Improvements Project in the estimated amount of $6,495,711.54.

The council approved a change in service to the agreement with Sigma Technology Solutions, Inc. through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Department of Information Resources program for the purchase of Nexus equipment and support services in the estimated annual amount of $44,182.76 and authorized four additional annual renewals.

The council approved a renewal of an agreement with the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce in the estimated annual amount of $28,760 that allows for additional office space for Main Street and the Economic Development staff. 

The council also voted to approve an ordinance granting an easement to the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative for the installation of electric infrastructure to serve the city’s new Public Service Center.

As the last order of business, councilmembers nominated and appointed citizen representatives to the 2021 Charter Review Commission and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) No. 5 (Downtown) Board of Directors.

The San Marcos City Council meets virtually on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Residents who wish to speak during the citizen comment or public hearing periods should email no later than noon on the day of the meeting.

For more information about City Council or to view meeting recordings and agendas visit its website.

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