Mayor speaks about growth during on-campus forum


Photo courtesy of Janet Hale

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson and business law students after the city growth forum.

Chelsea Mumy, News Reporter

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson visited the McCoy College of Business to discuss city planning and the growth of San Marcos’ diverse population during a forum among a class of business law students.

Mayor Hughson provided perspective Sept. 24 to the predominant issues in city planning for San Marcos—including housing and zoning—while addressing future prospects of jobs, economic growth and the role Texas State plays in city planning.

According to Hughson, one of the most prominent issues when preparing and planning is housing. Hughson said since the previous 2010 San Marcos census, the population has increased by approximately 20,000 citizens. Since a major Texas university is located within San Marcos, it could be suspected the majority of people who flock to the city are single, young adults.

The reality of this growth is those moving to San Marcos are in high-density units—families—according to Hughson. Figuring out where to place high-density communities is a current issue for city planners.

A challenging aspect of housing regarding these new families is their average annual income, which is only slightly above $20,000. This puts the recent Hays County citizens barely over the poverty line.

The city is one of the fastest-growing per capita three years in a row, and Hays County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Texas. Solving the housing issue is critical to San Marcos city planning and the number one issue being discussed.

An additional highly discussed issue among Hays County city planners is zoning. San Marcos has a specific number of limited zones where certain types of businesses can build facilities.

“We recently had a situation where a gentleman was creating a new unique business park,” Hughson said. “He put under contract 888 acres and named it the S.M.A.R.T. Terminal. By moving transportation to railroads, they will reduce their traffic by 80%. Because it was rail, the only zoning category was heavy industrial, which had some nasty stuff.”

New categories have been added to zoning, while others are being phased out to make San Marcos more “walkable.” The zoning is being changed to promote a more mixed-use, residential city.

This style of city planning was created with the idea of health and convenience in mind to improve the quality of life in San Marcos.

Hughson said with the population vastly multiplying, several profitable companies and businesses are attracted to San Marcos and interested in building facilities in town. However, the main issue for San Marcos citizens is finding full-time work in their field of study. Coupled with the recent trend of population growth, San Marcos may expand its range of occupations.

“If a business is looking at coming here, the first thing they look for is talent,” Hughson said. “Considering we have many talented graduates of Texas State, that appears perfect.”

According to Hughson, the impact the university has on San Marcos is evident. While there may not be plentiful full-time work, there certainly is a considerable amount of part-time jobs available.

“There are a lot of people with a lot of job talent, so we’re sitting in a pretty good place as far as being able to attract companies to be here,” Hughson said.

Janet Hale, senior lecturer of finance and economics and forum coordinator, believes in the importance of connecting students and successful people. Hale will continue to host speakers throughout the semester, each event with an emphasis on business and Texas State.

“It is ideal to bring in people from the community to learn, to listen, not just hear,” Hale said. “When you hear you don’t really understand, and when you listen you understand and have facts, information and data from people who have that job.”

William Kubesch, special education freshman, attended the forum after hearing Hughson was rumored to be on campus. Kubesch, although not a business major, was interested in what a local city official had to say to the students of Texas State.

“I feel it’s very important (for students) to give feedback of campus to city officials, unfiltered from the university,” Kubesch said. “Some of our opinions might really matter, and it’s the small things that count.”

The event came to a close with a unifying photo of the McCoy students in attendance, Hale and Mayor Hughson.

To learn more about city planning in San Marcos, visit the city website for more information. 

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