City Council takes steps toward S.M.A.R.T Terminal development amid citizen concerns

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City Council takes steps toward S.M.A.R.T Terminal development amid citizen concerns

Aerial view of S.M.A.R.T Terminal.
Photo by Christopher Green

Aerial view of S.M.A.R.T Terminal.

Photo by Christopher Green

Aerial view of S.M.A.R.T Terminal.

Photo by Christopher Green

Aerial view of S.M.A.R.T Terminal.

Photo by Christopher Green

Christopher Green

San Marcos City Council delayed a decision to vote Feb. 21 on an economic incentive agreement for the potential development of a heavy industrial park.

The S.M.A.R.T Terminal will be a heavy industrial area with a railway to deliver manufactured products from the site to potential buyers. The first tenant of the terminal will be Katerra, a technology-driven offsite construction company. The council delayed any action during its public meeting Feb. 21 in order to develop an agreement with S.M.A.R.T terminal developer Mike Schroeder to eliminate certain production uses on the new site.

Councilman Ed Mihalkanin said city staff has compiled a comprehensive list stating what will not be allowed in the industrial park.

“There’s a list and the city staff actually did an excellent job and they vetted the list to see what restrictions would be put in place. It’s stuff like no steel, no automobile manufacturing, no dropping or processing dead animals or dumping batteries,” Mihalkanin said. “It’s a list of over 30 types of manufacturing that will not be allowed.”

Mihalkanin also said he proposed for city government to take a percentage of the increased property tax income and put it in a fund for proper drainage efforts within the proposed development site.

“The site would effectively double the tax value of land within the city of San Marcos,” Mihalkanin said. “I want the city government to take a chunk of that increase in property tax income and put it in a fund for drainage for that site.”

During the citizen comment period of the council meeting, San Marcos residents voiced concerns about the potential development of the S.M.A.R.T Terminal.

Frank Perod, who moved to San Marcos in 1975, said the beneficial reasons for the S.M.A.R.T terminal development are incorrect.

“The first one is this development will bring needed to jobs to San Marcos. The Greater San Marcos partnership is expounding that San Marcos unemployment rate is lower than the national and state unemployment rate. The truth is San Marcos currently has full-employment,” Perod said. “Our city has spent many years and thousands of dollars creating a comprehensive code protecting our land and water. I plead, do not test this code of the San Marcos River with this project.”

“The terminal complex will fowl the water south on the San Marcos River and it will destroy habitat from the shoal up and downstream.”

David Sergi, who works with Smarter San Marcos, a citizen group formed in opposition to the S.M.A.R.T. Terminal as currently proposed, said the terminal may not fit with the San Marcos comprehensive plan.

“We value our resources and energy efficiency in our community’s health, well-being and prosperity. I ask you to consider whether or not this project fits those criteria,” Sergi said. “We can’t just annex land for heavy industrial use.”

The University Star will continue to update information on the S.M.A.R.T. Terminal as it becomes available.