In October, the San Marcos City Council conducted a public workshop to review a comprehensive economic analysis by the The London Group Realty Advisors, which assessed whether the San Marcos Creek District Specific Plan realistically addresses the commercial retail and office needs of the community. Recognizing that the economy and market has changed significantly since the Creek Plan was originally developed and approved, which both occurred prior to the Great Recession, the Council requested the analysis to determine if updates to the Plan were needed. Based on the results of the analysis, the Council has initiated a public process to enact changes to the Plan to bring it more in-line with today’s economy.
Adopted in 2007, the Creek Plan area consists of approximately 214 acres along San Marcos Creek, bounded on the north by San Marcos Boulevard, on the south and west by Discovery Street, and on the east by Grand Avenue and SR-78. The original Creek District Plan called for roughly 2,300 residential units, 1.2 million square feet of retail space and 589,000 square feet of office space to be built along a 214-acre site that straddles the creek, parallel to San Marcos Boulevard.
The London Group’s economic analysis showed that the original Plan no longer reflects market demand in the area, among other conclusions. The report recommended a more modest development that better addresses the City’s current needs. This may include reducing or eliminating the office space and refocusing the retail component, and potentially, reducing the height of the buildings, which are currently up to seven stories. The goal is to create a plan that more closely matches the current economy and the needs of the community.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the Council directed city staff to review the zoning along San Marcos Blvd. to determine the compatibility with current demand, to collaborate with the citizen Creek District Task Force to recommend an update to the Plan and to provide a process and timeline for making the appropriate changes. Any recommended changes to the Plan would be presented at public meetings and considered by the Council in the coming year.
Updating the Creek District Plan to bring it more in-line with market realities and the overall character of the City – making it a walkable area with a variety of shops and restaurants that is a really great place to live or spend time – makes a lot of sense. It is a unique opportunity to not only address the City’s housing needs, but to do it in a way that integrates well with the existing community and preserves our exceptional quality of life.
Public participation in the planning process as the Plan is reassessed can only make it better. So, I encourage you to add your thoughts as the public meetings take place. Or, as always, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.