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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

City Council approves McLain Project, regulates short-term rentals

Star file photo

At its April 16 meeting, San Marcos City Council voted on ordinances and resolutions regarding the McLain Project.

During citizen comment, Atom von Arndt, a San Marcos resident, spoke against the McLain Project and criticized current purpose-built student housing.

“[Rent-by-the-bed student housing] are not homes. These are shoddily made cash grabs the city has allowed for too long,” von Arndt said. “The majority of these buildings are horribly maintained in a state of disrepair.”

Matthew Kenyon, the developer, asked the council to vote in favor of a Conditional Use Permit which would allow purpose-built student housing at the intersection of North Street and Lindsey Street.

Mayor Jane Hughson said she is concerned about the cost of rent at nearby buildings compared to the current cost of The Elms and Lindsey Oaks apartment complexes the McLain Project will replace.

“There are people who are saying that it’s an affordability issue as to whether [current residents could] find something as affordable as what they have now,” Hughson said.

Councilmember Jude Prather requested an amendment to the permit to give current residents 12 months to find other accommodations starting April 16.

Prather also requested the developer house up to 10 current resident families, as well as any current resident over the age of 57 at the new McLain housing and allow them to pay the same rent amount they do currently. This discounted rate will remain for seven years, after which those residents will either have to move elsewhere or continue their lease at market rate.

The additional amendments, along with the restriction of construction to three stories on the west side of the housing project, received approval in a 6-1 vote, with Councilmember Saul Gonzales voting against it.

City council also voted to change McLain’s west building area land designation from “Existing Neighborhood” to “High Intensity” in a 6-1 vote with Gonzales voting against it.

According to the San Marcos Land Development Code, this changes the designation from being focused on residential aspects to now being an area of expansion for the city.

For the McLain area zoning, the council voted 6-1 in favor of changing McLain’s west side zoning from Multifamily to a Character District-5 District with Gonzales voting against it. According to the Development Code, this will “provide for a variety of residential, retail, service and commercial uses.”

City council also approved an amendment to the San Marcos City Code regarding the regulation of short-term rentals in San Marcos, such as Airbnb.

Originally, there was a proposal to add a limitation to only one short-term rental per block, designed to stop entire residential neighborhoods from being flooded by short-term rentals. However, Prather said he wanted to instead remove the limitation for the amount of short-term rentals that could operate on one block.

“I really want to protect current homeowners who live in town and want to Airbnb their properties,” Prather said.

The amendment was approved in a 5-2 vote with Councilmembers Matthew Mendoza and Gonzales voting against it.

The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit its website.

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