2020 Downtown Design Standards and Guidelines Update

Workshop 1 Cover Photo

About the Update to the Downtown Design Standards and Guidelines

In 2012, the City contracted with Winter & Company to develop and adopt Downtown Design Guidelines and Architectural Standards to regulate the look and feel of new buildings in the downtown area. As presented in 2012, the purpose of the design standards was "to enhance the effectiveness of the Smartcode in downtown by adding context-sensitive design standards, supplemented with design guidelines for special cases, and revising the signage standards for the downtown area." The standards and guidelines adopted in 2012 were carried over into the new San Marcos Development Code in 2018 and into Appendix A of the San Marcos Design Manual. Both standards and guidelines are utilized when reviewing new development in the downtown area.

2020 Update

In January, 2020, the San Marcos City Council provided direction to update the design standards and guidelines using the guidance of the previous consultants, Winter & Company. The year-long project included community input, policy guidance, and stakeholder expertise to create new standards and guidelines for Downtown San Marcos. The update to the design standards and guidelines was adopted by City Council on March 16, 2021.

Final Adopted Redlines

To view the final adopted redlined changes to the design standards and guidelines as adopted by the San Marcos City Council, please click the links below. All changes will be incorporated into the San Marcos Development Code and Design Manual found HERE.

How do I learn more about the Update process?

To learn about the project timeline, process, community input, and draft recommended standards and guidelines throughout the project, please visit the menu items to the left.

We appreciate your participation and interest in the update to the downtown design standards and guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department at planninginfo@sanmarcostx.gov or call 512.393.8230.

Key topics addressed in the update included:

  • Massing of larger buildings to promote compatibility with traditional scale of downtown;
  • Variety in articulation of facades to be more in scale with design traditions;
  • Treatment of building materials;
  • Street level design to provide sense of place and activate the public realm; and
  • Transitions from higher density zones to abutting sensitive edges.