Something else that might help would be some classes that get the students working with the community. There are any number of areas where student involvement could be a HUGE boost to the community. If there were a collection of classes aimed at creating ties between the school and the city and if each student were required to take one or two, that could also go a long way, both in making the non-students appreciate the school more and letting the students feel a part of the city.
The sad reality is that while all of this is new to the students, the non-students have been living with this relationship for years or decades and a lot of the ill will started a long time ago, when Brete and I were students (even if he does not want to admit that he was part of the problem :-) ).
It's like global warming. It slowly built up over the years and now it will take some real effort to fix it. And yes, there is plenty that the non-students could do (should do, must do) but changing zoning regs, if it happens at all, could never be a first step. Any efforts along those lines today would be a huge step in the wrong direction, creating even deeper divides between the groups.
Yeah, we have quiet ones too. There are at least four houses in our neighborhood that are rented by students, where there are no problems. But, there have been two that were bad and when they're bad, they're really bad.
Drive around some of the neighborhoods between Holland and Sagewood. Look at all the trees. Not far from us, there was a drunk who drove waaaay into someone's yard and got stuck, because he couldn't figure out how to get out through the trees.
Funny, unless he hit someone, or a pet, or the house (which has also happened).
Not far from that, a drunk passed out in someone else's garage. Also funny, until someone gets shot.
Of course, none of it is particularly funny if it happens to you.
Both originated at a house being rented by a fraternity.
I'm sure everyone's tolerance level is different. Some people get sick of it pretty quick (including students, after they graduate), some take longer and some never really seem to have a problem. There are a lot of us that do, though.
I've been in and out of San Marcos for a long time and I've been in for good (I thought) for almost 17 years. I'll probably be gone in another year or two, if things don't start to change. I'm just waiting to build up a little more equity in the house, so I have room to drop the price if I need to and still get some cash to buy a place somewhere else.
That's two more college grads being exported and two fewer property owners in town. I'm sure some will think that's great news.
Oh yeah, and two fewer advocates for finding common ground between the students and the non-students.
Didn't mean to belittle anyone's problems. I live a little down hill from you, on the other side of Holland. Still from the difference in how loud this area is from 1984-5 and 1987-88 (you could tell it was a student area), and now, it sounds like they moved all the troublemakers to one area, and some other folks as well.
Whether I agree with the occupancy codes or not, I think you are right that changing them is not the first step. This town needs to get a handle on the Sagewood issue before anything meaningful can come out of any changes. I get the impression that it isn't the parties, per se, that are the problem for you, but the speeding, drunk, driving, and littering that go along with them (The latest example can be seen at the intersection of Holland and Academy). Student or not. There we have common ground. I don't know what the solutions are. I don't think SanMarcos is unique in those issues, but I do think that it might be slightly more prevalent here. It feels to me that speeding (more so) and drunk driving are bigger issues here than in Austin, but I don't know that the numbers would support that statement.
I still think that for as much as Sagewood residents think they are being persecuted, I can speak from experience that the cops do not shut down many parties there. I've seen parties with bonfires and 100 people go until 4am without the cops or fire department showing up. I don't have any data to back this up, but I get the feeling that cops have been told to lay off to some extent.
I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between single family zoning and the occupancy codes. All cities and towns have zoning ordinances, including single family, commercial, high occupancy, etc. That is universal. To my knowledge, unless you live in a neighborhood with a HOA, most don't have the occupancy restrictions. That is where San Marcos is different. (Personally, I can't stand HOAs.) I don't have any problem with some restriction on occupancy, and while personally I'd like to see it go from 2 to 3 unrelated people, I don't think that discussion should happen until some other things are taken care of.
Unfortunately I don't think there are any quick fixes. Sagewood is a problem that has moved from other areas of town. The university has a hard time shaking its party school image of the 80s and 90s. (Semi, Brete weren't both of you here for that?) There are limits to how much the university is going to grow. It is landlocked. There is a lot of construction planned, but not much growth. (The university master plan has the max number of students at 30K in the long term, we're at close to 28K right now) This is where I do think that the university and city need to do more co-planning, and speed those projects up (bike routes, the Aquarena overpass, highrise apartments next to campus...)
You mentioned at one point railroad quiet zones. No kidding. My house in Austin was across the street from the railroad and it was never an issue. Here I'm more than a mile away and I hear it way more. Every crossing in town that I know of has gates. There is no reason for them to blow their horns for any crossing that has gates. It seems like some of the conductors blow their horns all the way through town on purpose. I'm lucky I live as far away as I do.
Anyways, much more rambling than I had intended....
As a homeowner in the Castle Forrest Neighborhood for 4 years and a college student living in the same neighborhood before that since 1998, I understand both sides. I hate the large parties on Thursdays (especially), 6-8 cars for one home, trash, and not being able to get down my street on a Saturday night (being told there is no more parking). I also agree there should be zoning, but I think it is a bigger issue than students vs residents. At least most of the students (who's parents buy them a home) mow the lawn, pick up the trash and generally respect their neighbors. It is the small minority that makes it an issue in the first place. I think it's also renters in general. There is a family down the street that never mows the lawn, kids toys and tarps all out front, broken limnbs in the street, and the same house use to have another family in it that always had at least 10 cars infront of it. There is also the man that keeps junk cars in his lawn down the street, who wants to buy the home across the street? Investors from California that rent it out and don't care. Then you have the homeowners that never mow or mow around the weeds with flowers. I grew up in Houston with a strict homeowners association. You brought your boat home for the week and got a letter telling you to remove it. You didn't mow the lawn and were fined. All new neighborhoods should be required to put homeowners associations into effect.
San Marcos ? A 22-year-old man was jailed for driving while intoxicated early Saturday after his pickup truck left Holland Street and slammed into a home at Holland and Owens.
Neither the driver or any of the six people in the home were injured. A child that normally sleeps in the room the truck plowed into was spending the night at a friend?s house.
San Marcos Police Sgt. said Matthew Ashley was taken into custody at the scene for drunk driving and medically cleared at Central Texas Medical Center before being transported to jail.
Police believe Ashley was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash, which crushed the vehicle almost to the firewall and resulted in structural damage to the house.
?The house shifted on its foundation. There was major structural damage,? Waugh said.
Resident Heather Brewer said the 3:30 a.m. crash also knocked out the home?s electricity and water, forcing herself and the others to spend the remainder of the night in a hotel.
Waugh said Ashley was released from jail later Saturday. He said prior to the crash, Ashley had been traveling on Academy Street at a high rate of speed and on the wrong side of the road.
Waugh would not speculate on how fast the pickup was going. ?Fast enough to cause that much damage,? he said.
I'd ask how many beer cans the ******* threw out the window on his adventure, but I don't want to take away from the story.
How many of these incidents do we need to have? When will the city and the university (sorry, but there are some students involved and UPD's support is far from proportional) take this issue seriously?