San Marcos Getting Another Bite Of The La Cima Apple Worth $7M Plus Golden-Cheeked Warbler Breeding Grounds

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La Cima is offering to dedicate to the city, 66 acre Wills Tract with Wonder World Dr. access to Purgatory Creek Nature Area worth $3.5M, the Wildenthal Phase III funding shortfall of $1.5M and $1M cash for Parking, Trailhead and Trails…

By Terra Rivers, Managing Editor

Editors Note: An earlier version had incorrect TIRZ amounts for Brookfield Residential have since been corrected.

 

La Cima will go in front of San Marcos City Council Monday night to discuss requested changes to their Development Agreement.

Anyone who has followed the developer, formally known as Lazy Oaks, believe this “is going to be a great thing” for San Marcos, especially if population and growth estimates are accurate.

La Cima targets the middle class with a vision for “conservation-minded ‘live-work-play’ community.” The developments home prices will run from the mid $200k to the mid $300k.

Negotiations between La Cima and city staff have been happening since June to re-open their development agreement. The developer had an opportunity to purchase additional land in Purgatory Creek and would like to help the city purchase and preserve an additional 217 acres over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

Re-opening a development agreement would allow this developer to ADD property thus allowing the city to have control over the additional land.

Below is a breakdown of the negotiations between City of San Marcos and La Cima Development.

The Wills Tract

The Wills Tract is two tracts of land totaling 116 acres, which is separated by Wonder World Dr., and is considered “valuable and convenient frontage.” The land is listed for sale at $6.1 million.

The owners of the Wills Tract will NOT sell the two tracts separately according to Mike Dallas, the listing Broker.

La Cima has the Wills tract under a purchase agreement and wants to donate 66 acres of the total 116 acres to the city.

This would give the city a potential new parking area, trailhead, trail system and other park amenities.

La Cima is not requesting any mitigation credit for any golden-cheeked warbler habitat on the 66 acre Wills tract, giving the City and County the flexibility to determine whether any habitat on the 66 acre Wills tract should be placed into the Hays County Regional Conservation Plan.

History of the Wildenthal Tract III and City of San Marcos

On top of the land donation, the developer intends to donate $1.5 million to the city towards the purchase of 151 acre Wildenthal Phase III tract.

On March 7, the San Marcos City Council voted to spend $632,000 to purchase 50 additional acres of green space in Purgatory Creek. Additionally, it allowed the city to apply for a grant for $2,272,500 from US Fish and Wildlife, Ecological Services Division program for an additional 151 acres….known as the Wildenthal Tract III. 

The Wildenthal Tract is a breeding ground for an endangered species of North American Birds, Golden-cheeked warblers.

The city has signed a purchase agreement with the Wildenthal family to purchase the 151-acre tract and applied for the grant mentioned above, the signing date of that agreement is currently unknown. The Trust for Public Land only agreed to give the city $800,000 toward the purchase of this property.

That means the city has a shortfall of $1,472,500 million and, according to other reports, has not been able to locate additional grant funding to fill that shortage.

According to a source close to the Wildenthal family, the city has requested “more than a dozen amendments and extensions” to the sales contract, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2017.

Additionally, the Wildenthal family might have received other offers and “may not be interested in extending the agreement past the December expiration date.”

What’s in it for the city and why would La Cima do all this for San Marcos?

 

What La Cima is Offering the City

  • $1.5M in cash to the City to cover the potential Wildenthal Phase III funding shortfall to allow the City to purchase the 151 acre Wildenthal Phase III tract before the December 31, 2017 deadline. If the Wildenthal Phase III shortfall is less than estimated, the City may still retain 100 percent of La Cima’s $1.5M donation with any amount not used to purchase the Wildenthal Phase III tract to be used by the City to build parking, trailhead and trail improvements as described below.

 

  • Dedication to the City of 66 Acre Wills Tract with Wonder World Drive Access to Purgatory Creek Nature Area worth $3,471,251.52.

 

  • Additional $1M cash for Parking, Trailhead and Trails on the Wills Tract.

 

  • The dedication of the new underground utilities that would give the city control over future developments who would like to tie into the new infrastructure in perpetuity.

 

  • A new Revenue stream from the new underground infrastructure in fees and taxes in perpetuity.

 

  • New development standards on the addition of La Cima property in perpetuity.

 

  • No water wells or septic systems over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone associated with La Cima’s new property addition.

 

  • Additional new revenue stream in property taxes from La Cima new additional property in perpetuity.

La Cima’s current development agreement:

  • Total Acres for Housing Units / 1028.82

 

  • Total Housing Units / 2400

 

  • Total Commercial Acreage / 200

 

  • Total Parkland/Open Space/Greenspace Acreage / 800.20

 

  • Total Acres for County Preserve / 700.2 (part of above parkland/open space/greenspace)

 

  • Total Average Housing/Unit Density / 1.18

Proposed New development agreement:

  • Total Acres for Housing Units / 1419.34

 

  • Total Housing Units / 2950

 

  • Total Commercial Acreage/200

 

  • Total Parkland/Open Space/Greenspace Acreage / 857.7

 

  • Total Acres for County Preserve / 700.2 (part of above parkland/open space/greenspace)

 

  • NEW: Total Average Housing / Unit Density / 1.16

 

  • NEW: 30 Acres of MF Will be Located Within 200 Acres of the Commercially Zoned Area

 

  • NEW: Requesting $15M TIRZ (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone) or a 380-Economic Incentive Agreement.

Why would La Cima want a TIRZ from the city?

According to Eric Wallis, the project manager for La Cima, the $15M TIRZ or a 380 agreement would be dedicated to offset the capital costs associated with connecting their underground utilities, water and wastewater into the city’s infrastructure.

Brookfield (formally known as Carma) had also requested and received a TIRZ agreement from the city and county sharing the costs. The city agreed to $30M and of that the county is sharing the TIRZ costs up to $20M. Kissing Tree had requested their TIRZ agreement for the Kissing Tree (formally Paso Robles) development underground utilities.

The city’s development agreement with Brookfield, the developer of the Kissing Tree development required them to bring their underground infrastructure to the north addition of Centerpoint Dr., and La Cima will need to tie their underground infrastructure into what Kissing Tree has already built.

Once the new infrastructure is built, La Cima would then dedicate it back to the city, which would give the city the power to control future development that is attached to the underground utilities and to institute fees and taxes from any new  future infrastructure.

The proposed plan will create a new revenue stream for the city in perpetuity, (a revenue stream that will continue forever), AND control the development standards using that infrastructure.

During the council’s Friday packet meeting, the majority of the council were against the creation of a committee to go more in-depth into this discussion citing a “policy.”

“Mayor…I’m personally not interested in forming a subcommittee,” Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt said. “I think it was leadership of you and council member Gregson that brought a policy to the council…we approved on November 17, 2015, that we would not do anymore incentives for residential housing per our financial advisor for five years, and that staff wouldn’t even consider it.”

While La Cima is asking for $15 million in TIRZ, the potential 217 acres of greenspace parkland the city could acquire would complete the Purgatory Creek nature area City Council was interested in earlier this year.

Currently, the amount of parkland owned by the City of San Marcos is unknown. The city’s website, FY 2017’s budget and previous agendas’ account of acreage of parkland owned by the city do not state the same figures.

Corridor News has submitted two separate Public Information Requests for total acreage owned by the City of San Marcos and we were told “The number listed on the website is incorrect and needs to be updated. I’ve let the appropriate folks know about that. So our total acreage of parkland and open space is 2002, more or less.” AND “We do not have a document that has the total acreage for all city owned properties at this time.” View the original request and chain of emails HERE. 

However, in March, during the council Windenthal discussions, Rodney Cobb, executive director of community services, stated the city of San Marcos has invested $1.9 million in the purchasing of green space and now owns roughly $7.3 million worth of valued land.

San Marcos City Council will discuss the appointment of a council committee on the proposed amended development agreement for La Cima on Monday, Oct. 2.

To read La Cima’s proposal including the cover sheet to City Council click HERE.

Additional  Related Coverage:

Lazy Oaks Ranch, Version 2.0 – La Cima

How Can We See The Forest, Through The Trees?

How Much Parkland Does The City Of San Marcos Own

RE: PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST of March 17, 2017, Reference # W001838-031717

 

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2 Comments

  1. jordan buckley

    The writing is framed by a pair of La Cima ads; are we supposed to take this seriously as unbiased journalism?

    Reply
    1. Terra Rivers

      Hi Jordan,

      First, thanks for reading. Whether you take this article with unbiased integrity or not is completely up to you and your interpretation. Yes, La Cima is one of our advertisers. However, the article above reports the developer was to go in front of City Council during this week’s regular meeting to discuss an amended development agreement. It provides readers with requested changes to the agreement and what both parties involved will receive if City Council and the City were to approve it.

      The article also provides background and brief explanations of the technical items referenced in the agreement and information on the property that could potentially come into the city’s possession—nothing more. We provided an insight on the general mood and opinion of city council members, which came from a discussion on the item during Friday’s, Sept. 29, packet meeting, as well.

      Its purpose was to provide residents with the information and background they needed to form their own opinion about the requests before and/or after the item was addressed at Monday night’s meeting.

      If publications censored what news they reported due to their advertisers being involved, wouldn’t they be doing a disservice to their community? And wouldn’t it severely reduce what reporters in a small town community like San Marcos could write about and limit where freelance reporters, such as yourself, could publish their articles?

      Corridor News is only a small part of La Cima’s advertising budget. The San Marcos Daily Record, Community Impact and the Austin-American Statesman also carry advertisements for them. Have you expressed your concerns with them?

      If this is something you feel strongly about, then Corridor News must have been one of many publications to receive a comment such as this.

      While I don’t have the exact language on hand, most advertising contracts include a provision or clause stating the publication will report the news whether it sheds a positive or negative light on the advertiser.

      Sincerely,

      Terra Rivers, Managing Editor

      Reply

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