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Approved intercity agreement could pay off big for Martindale

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By Wesley Gardner

LPR Editor

The San Marcos City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve an agreement with the city of Martindale that will allow San Marcos to annex roughly 160 acres of land that had previously been located within Martindale’s ETJ.

The land in question will house the planned San Marcos Air Rail and Truck (SMART) Terminal, a proposed 888-acre industrial park that would serve as one of the only rail-served industrial parks in Central Texas.

According to the agreement, San Marcos will pay Martindale 30 percent of the annual tax revenue collected from the released property from the year 2021 through 2051, which could amount to a large sum of money should the SMART Terminal project prove successful.

Martindale Mayor Rob Deviney touted the agreement reached between the two cities.

“I’d call it a win-win-win situation,” said Deviney, noting the cities of Martindale and San Marcos, as well as Caldwell County, all stand to gain sizable bumps in tax revenue from the SMART Terminal project. “If the development happens like it has been forecasted to happen, there will be a significant amount of funds generated.”

Although San Marcos is the county seat of Hays County, some of its city limits extend into Caldwell County, including the area where the SMART Terminal project will be built.

The amount of money Martindale would receive through the agreement will depend largely on the success the SMART Terminal. The aim of the project is to provide businesses housed within the park with the opportunity to efficiently receive raw materials and distribute product to their customers by rail, major highway and air transport.

The San Marcos City Council initially approved the creation of the SMART Terminal in March 2019, though construction still hasn’t begun on the project.

According to Vice President of CBRE Real Estate Services Terry Warth, the SMART Terminal project is still well underway.

“Right now, we’re working through matters with railroad service providers for the property,” said Warth, noting there wouldn’t be a specific date for the start of construction until those matters are resolved. “We’re underway with discussions with [potential companies] on an ongoing basis.

“They have an interest. We’re pursuing it, but they cannot move forward until we’re able to give them specific dates.”

During a public hearing held in Dec. 2018 regarding plans for the rezoning and annexations required for the SMART Terminal project, locals expressed concern for the increased traffic the project would bring along SH 80, which runs through both San Marcos and Martindale.

Deviney said that while there would be increased traffic through Martindale, the revenue brought in through the agreement would help address those issues.

“There’s going to be more traffic, more people,” said Deviney.  “Our roadways are going to be stressed, our parks will be stressed, our police force will be stressed.

“[The revenue] will be used for the city infrastructure improvements that will be necessary.”

In addition to the tax revenue paid to Martindale, the agreement also cleared up a pair of ETJ disputes that arose in 1983 and 2007. Per the agreement, San Marcos will officially recognize the Ohnheiser Property as being located within Martindale’s ETJ, while Martindale will officially recognize a 3.5-mile ETJ expanding beyond San Marcos’ municipal boundaries.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson also touted the agreement reached between the two cities.

“I am happy to report we have approved our agreement with the city of Martindale regarding realigning their ETJ line, allowing us to annex all of the San Marcos Air Rail and Truck SMART Terminal with a creative agreement that provides benefits for both sides,” said Hughson. “This is really a good partnership moving forward.”

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