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 Interesting read on San Marcos and TXST 
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https://nextcity.org/features/view/san-marcos-fastest-growing-city-texas-state-university-affordable-housing

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Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:28 pm
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Saw that today. Might be one of the better reads I've seen related to the real estate market in San Marcos, and actually touched on some of the complicated stuff regarding housing policies, impact on affordable rental options, relationship to student loan practices and even what I see as a familial status fair housing act challenge coming down the pike. Actually a pretty heady article for what I was expecting to be clickbait when I found it.

The article title is "The College That Ate a City"

My only real beef is that of all of the planning experts in the region (and there are a ton), they chose a bitter ex-professor who now lives in rural Missouri with no practical applied experience in planning & water resources, and whose departure had nothing to do with student housing. I had him for a masters level class and it was the single worst collegiate level class I've experienced by a significant margin. I literally did not learn a single thing from him or the class discussions, to the point that I actually complained up the chain because I felt I received no value for my tuition.

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Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:52 pm
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i've been saying this for years and i keep getting fools on these boards squawking that the school can/should be trying to get to 45k+. it's absolutely ridiculous for so many reasons.

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Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am
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bleed gold wrote:
Saw that today. Might be one of the better reads I've seen related to the real estate market in San Marcos, and actually touched on some of the complicated stuff regarding housing policies, impact on affordable rental options, relationship to student loan practices and even what I see as a familial status fair housing act challenge coming down the pike. Actually a pretty heady article for what I was expecting to be clickbait when I found it.

The article title is "The College That Ate a City"

My only real beef is that of all of the planning experts in the region (and there are a ton), they chose a bitter ex-professor who now lives in rural Missouri with no practical applied experience in planning & water resources, and whose departure had nothing to do with student housing. I had him for a masters level class and it was the single worst collegiate level class I've experienced by a significant margin. I literally did not learn a single thing from him or the class discussions, to the point that I actually complained up the chain because I felt I received no value for my tuition.


As you mentioned, it touched on a lot of different things. One of the things that I think it overlooked was the City's Single Family Ordinance (http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/Modules/Show ... entid=1477).

In other college towns, students rent anything (spare bedrooms, garage apartments, guest houses) that will have them. You even have groups of students living in co-ops or flophouses. This ordinance takes away these options in San Marcos and allows these big companies to come in an develop massive student living complexes.

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Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:47 pm
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Almost everyone of these problems was created by unwise government policy.

They will all be blamed on private companies (aka greedy developers).

And the proposed solutions will just be a stronger government, with more and more unwise policy.

This example is a perfect microcosm of economic interventionism.


Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:20 pm
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Unwise government policy, usually responding to unwise actions by developers. The market is far, far, far from innocent. The government policy and the developer can easily share the same hot coal in hell.

I kind of wish they would've tracked me down for the story. I could've given some pretty specific discussion about the exact policies creating the problems. The SF rule wouldn't be an issue if other development regulations better enabled some different housing types. A big reason for the massive student-oriented rent-by-the-bedroom complexes is how difficult it is to build the following forms of housing in San Marcos:
  • accessory dwelling units (aka garage apartments, granny flats, backyard cottages)
  • townhomes
  • duplexes
  • triplexes
  • quadplexes
  • multiplexes

Those five development types are affectionately referred to as the "missing middle" and represent critical tools for infill development. Up until WWII, those development types were quite common and were how this country handled affordable housing. They've been largely zoned out of existence for new projects out of misguided fears that it will "fundamentally change the character of the neighborhood." Nevermind that the great neighborhoods across the country, the ones that have actually become tourist draws and are often the most desirable neighborhoods in a given community, feature those housing types. Also, they play a huge role in providing appropriately scaled affordable rental & affordable ownership in a manner that does not concentrate poverty while still achieving density efficiency that doesn't fundamentally alter the appearance of a neighborhood.

And before I go further, this is not a problem that is unique to San Marcos or even unique to college towns. Damn near every city in the country is screwing up when it comes to those housing types. There's a whole movement of planners (including myself) that are trying to fix these problems, but the fundamental problem lies in elected officials having the fortitude to make the changes. Unfortunately, pragmatic & logical elected officials are in increasingly short supply from local on up to national.

Developers deserve a good bit of blame as well. Cities clamping down on these housing types is largely due to some developer being a bad actor and spoiling it for everyone else. Why is it so hard to build duplexes in San Marcos? Sagewood. Why are tri- & quad- plexes so hard to do now? Because San Marcos' treat them exactly like a apartment complex and getting zoning changes for that type of zoning district will result in a NIMBY-charged bloodbath. Why do they oppose them so violently? Because San Marcos has a major problem with absentee landlords on existing housing of those types, which fills people with dread about one ending up next door to them.

San Marcos is on the right track with using a form-based code (SmartCode) for downtown. Those types of codes can be easily expanded & scaled into surrounding neighborhoods to enable those "missing middle" housing types with appropriate design regulations to ensure they blend with the neighborhood.

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Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:26 am
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I know a girl who is transferring from BYU and has asked me for a recommendation on apartments in San Marcos. Things have changed so much there that I thought I would put the question to you guys. Any recommendations or insight? She will be there in August. Just let me know and I will pass it on.

The three she listed just off of a text message were The Heights II, Springmarc, and University Club. Any opinions on those or others would be appreciated?

She hates BYU and won't know anyone in town... just for a little background.

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Sun May 29, 2016 6:05 pm
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Post Re: Interesting read on San Marcos and TXST
I would suggest that she try to find an apartment downtown. I did that for my last 2.5 years in San Marcos and it was amazing. They aren't easy to find and are usually expensive. Tell her to find a realtor that knows building owners downtown.


Tue May 31, 2016 10:16 pm
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Thanks

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Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:45 am
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Post Re: Interesting read on San Marcos and TXST
I lived in Heights II and spent plenty of time at University Club.

They were decent complexes but this was in 2006 so not sure how they hold up with these new fancy, pool-party having, complexes that litter the landscape nowadays.


Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:03 pm
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I'll pass it on. Probably best it's not a pool party having place anyway.

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Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:05 pm
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tx.state wrote:
I would suggest that she try to find an apartment downtown. I did that for my last 2.5 years in San Marcos and it was amazing. They aren't easy to find and are usually expensive. Tell her to find a realtor that knows building owners downtown.


I'll second this--it'll give her the best experience. The apartments can be hard to find--they are practically handed-down/inherited from an upperclassman to a lowerclassman friend. You can also find a smattering of garage apartments and backyard cottages in the historic neighborhoods.

They are expensive (you'll see around $1.70 per square foot in some cases), but she won't need a car at all (so there's that savings). Speaking of, does she have a rough price range?

I'm trying to remember who does so much of the one-off condos & smaller apartment buildings near downtown... I think it is Hart Properties. Good folks over there. I've also known a few that have had good experiences with Thomas & Kari Ingle over at ApartmentPros.

If she can afford it or is willing to snag roommates, this is a cool little spot:
http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/165-S-Guadalupe-St_San-Marcos_TX_78666_M72345-83181

This one is a great location fairly close to Gil's Broiler: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/232-N-Lbj-Dr_San-Marcos_TX_78666_M81304-46656#photo0

I strongly recommend against "rent by the bedroom" student-oriented apartments for a whole host of reasons I won't get into, and she should probably stay away from fully furnished (usually shitty and kiss your deposit goodbye).

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Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:08 pm
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live in the dorm. best/easiest way to meet new people.

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Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:22 pm
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She's in a real rough spot. Coming from BYU you may have guessed that she is Mormon. Unfortunately she doesn't fit into the cult like atmosphere that is BYU and the get married and have a kid (and bring that kid to class) before you graduate. No offense to the Mormons out there. That said, BYU gives you a huge break on tuition and living expenses based on the contributions through the years and her parents wont pay for her coming to TXST.

That said, she is looking for something around 500 to 600. I looked around on the interweb and that doesn't leave much out there other than the commune type of apartments. That said, if she can find a roommate or two, it wouldn't make that big of a difference and could actually get downtown. I might call on the Guadalupe location just to start the process.

Thanks

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Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:59 pm
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Try this place near campus:

http://www.apartments.com/lindsay-oaks-apartments-san-marcos-tx/dvzcmvj/

It is old & a bit worn, but the price should be around $650 for a 1/1. It is about as close to campus as you can get without living on campus, and is also an easy walk to downtown, HEB, etc. I had a friend that lived there 10 years ago. It looks like hell on the outside & is dated, but I never once saw a roach in his apartment and don't recall any major maintenance issues in the two years he lived there.

At that price point, I think she may have little choice but to consider a communal arrangement/rent-by-room. If she does, she needs to target setups with no more than 2 bedrooms to a "unit" with a restroom for each. I would probably suggest Sanctuary Lofts--good community, good property manager from what I've heard (and good at roommate matching), excellent location, etc.

A couple of questions to see if I can help give more direction:

Is she still religious (i.e. does she still attend or want to attend Mormon church)? I ask because I know some folks at the San Marcos LDS church, including a few that I think "get it" regarding BYU that might be able to give advice/help on softening her landing here.

Is she getting set up with financial aid? Does she Pell-qualify?

Is she still considered a dependent on her parents taxes? If not, how long has she been off? She may want to look into tax credit properties as an affordable option if she can income qualify. (I'm not talking about Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers or public housing, but instead apartment complexes that reserve a certain number of units for certain incomes in exchange for getting Federal tax credits). The catch with those is that they are almost all out on the edge of town.

Some of the older stuff on N. LBJ above the campus might be in her range as well. With all of the sidewalk/road improvements, that is now a safe & easy walk to campus.

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Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:28 am
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