*THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE A MAP OF THE MARTINDALE ETJ IN REFERENCE TO THE SMART TERMINAL PROJECT.*
Freshly tilled earth filed along the borders of nearly 1,000 acres of land just south of the San Marcos Regional Airport. Forgotten pieces of corn husk and cobs littered the rows. In the distance, Texas State University’s majestic beginnings, Old Main, surveys the city on high.
The 934.34-acres of land beyond the city limits is simply farmland right now. According to the City of San Marcos, the primarily flat landscape is often home to two flowing tributaries when the rain sweeps the area.
Staff stated during the meeting, a portion of the property has been carved out for 888.772 acres in total, with approximately 150 acres being in Martindale’s ETJ.
Following the twists and turns and detours of creek beds, the water gradually makes its way to the San Marcos River.
Currently, portions of the property are utilized for agriculture annually; however, like all things, there are other plans.
Tonight, the San Marcos City Council will make the final decision on two controversial issues that have plagued the area for several months now.
In November 2018, the owner of the property, Developer Mike Schroeder, filed a request with the City of San Marcos to have the property annexed into the city limits. The 934.34-acres of undeveloped fields and farmland is the site of a proposed $45 million investment in infrastructure for the San Marcos Air, Rail and Truck terminal.
The property, which has a stretch of flat frontage on the rail line from Katy, Texas, is poised to be one of the largest development projects, according to representatives of Greater San Marcos Partnership.
Tuesday, Council is slated to consider the annexation of 734.6 acres and rezoning request for the SMART Terminal.
While the property, in total, is 934.34 acres, approximately 200 acres reside within an overlap of the City of San Marcos and the City of Martindale’s Extraterrestrial Jurisdiction, according to city officials.
The map below shows the ETJ for Martindale and surrounding cities; San Marcos’s ETJ is in Pink and Martindale’s is in Yellow. The green highlighted portion is the proposed SMART Terminal side in reference to the ETJs.
“The issue hasn’t been resolved, but the City and Martindale are still working to reach an agreement,” San Marcos Assistant City Manager Steve Parker said. “If that happens, the City of San Marcos would initiate the annexation of the remaining acreage.”
The City of Martindale annexed land into its ETJ at the request of landowners in July and December of 2007. A portion of the land annexed by request includes the roughly 200 acres of the SMART Terminal property.
However, residents of nearby neighborhoods have expressed concerns on the impact of a heavy industrial zone, whose southernmost border is only 1,240 feet from the San Marcos River.
For the last several weeks, the San Marcos City Council has been in discussions on a 380 Economic Development Agreement and Development Agreement with the SMART Terminal project, which will limit the uses available to the property.
According to the agreement, which council will consider the approval following their executive session, the prohibited land uses include things like manufacturing of paint, lacquer, oil, turpentine, varnish, acid, gas and more. (A Full list can be viewed in the documents below.)
“Restricted uses such as fertilizer plants, petroleum refining, hazardous materials and other certain types of manufacturing will all be restricted if this development agreement is approved,” Parker said.
Parker said additional water quality and flood control measures will also come into play if the Council approves the agreement.
This agreement will require the development to reduce the amount of water that currently flows off the property by 10 percent even after everything is built.
According to Schroeder, currently, the property receives runoff from the San Marcos Regional Airport, which does not have any sort of retention pond to catch runoff.
Working with Katerra Inc. and the SMART Terminal development is Jim Welch with Pape-Dawson Engineers.
Welch said Katerra will have a water treatment and detention pond on the south end of the property; the pond will catch the first 1.5 inches of rain and hold it allowing suspended solids to filter out before the treated water is pumped out slowly.
“The City Council will consider a development agreement that if it were approved will place a higher level of standards as to how the property can be developed as compared to if this property were to be developed at the same location but remained in the county,” Parker said.
Welch said the pond is designed to standards for 2-year, 5-year, 25-year and 100-year flood events.
According to Schroeder, the lowest income for Katerra, Inc., is expected to be around $36,000 per year; the company will have a median employee income of $76,000 per year.
Katerra intends to locate an automated component manufacturing and distribution facility on the site.
According to Matthew Ryan, Katerra Project Manager, the manufacturer is considered light industrial and specializes in building prefab housing components such as trusses, windows, roof supports, cabinets and walls.
The facility will run on solar power and incorporate skylights and solar panels into its design.
“This has been a great project to work on, to be a part of,” Welch said. “I am honored that Mike has used us and that we’re able to work with Katerra and be able to be their engineer.”
John Ellis, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP), said the SMART Terminal is expected to bring at least 2500 jobs to San Marcos and is a “unique opportunity for the region.”
Schroeder said he is currently in negotiations with two companies and expects to begin the project with three companies signed on including Katerra; in the meantime, he said they will continue to farm the six tracts of land until it’s developed.
According to the city, the projected route of loop 110 will cross the SMART Terminal property within a mile of the Katerra facility and connect with Hwy 80.
Schroeder said he believes the SMART Terminal will be the logistic HUB of the Innovation Corridor.
In addition to the 380 agreement, the San Marcos City Council will consider the development agreement with the SMART Terminal project as well as the annexation of the 734.6 acres located in the San Marcos ETJ and a request to zone the property as heavy industrial on the second of two readings.
Parker said, “The business park rail prospect needs heavy industrial in order to justify the capital investment needed to put in this rail service. These rail services are a dual service with BSNF and UP (Union Pacific), which is very, extremely rare, and this is one of the only sites available for that rail service.”
The SMART Terminal will include six tracks and be able to pull four full trains off the main line.
According to Schroeder, a full train consists of approximately 110 cars.
City Council will convene in the city council chambers at 6:00 PM following an executive session.
- San Marcos SMART Terminal 380 Economic Incentive Agreement
- Letter To San Marcos On Behalf Of Martindale
- Letter To SMTX EXHIBIT A
- Letter To SMTX EXHIBIT B
- Letter To SMTX EXHIBIT C
- San Marcos Annexation Resolution July 2007
- Bert Lumbreras Memo To City Council, Staff Regarding SMART Terminal
- SMART Terminal FAQs
- Water Quality & Flood Plain Maps
- Hwy 110 Route Maps
- Katerra 380 Agreement Notes