More rooftops popping up in Seguin during housing boom
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette
The city of Seguin is in the midst of a housing boom that, if managed properly, could lead to improvements in the quality of life for residents, workers and more.
Luckily, the city is planning for the future, making improvements to roads, waste water infrastructure and more, City Manager Steve Parker said. Planning also brings benefits to the growth, he said.
“Hopefully, those things that are the negatives to having growth overall will be minimized because we have planned well,” Parker said. “The more people sharing in our waste water services, the better we’re going to be able to keep the bills down, the more we’re able to keep a low tax rate. There’s a need for retail here. That’s going to be driven by people tired of driving to San Marcos and New Braunfels for their basic stuff. They want to get it here.”
The boom in new housing units started about three years ago, but really picked up last year, said Pamela Centeno, Seguin director of planning and codes. Her office oversees planning, which includes zoning and subdivision regulations and development, building permits and inspections, planning codes and compliance, and more.
Working with developers over the years, city staffers have seen a definite uptick in land purchases and subdivision planning especially over the past year, Centeno said.
“The issuance of building permits for residential just really picked up in 2020,” she said. “Ironically, during a pandemic when everyone would think things would slow down is the year that everything took off.”
In 2019, the city issued 153 permits for new residential building, Centeno said. Those permits were for 134 single-family homes and 19 duplexes for a total of 172 dwelling units, she said.
No permits were issued for apartments in 2019.
The next year, permit approvals skyrocketed, Centeno said.
In 2020, they issued permits for 497 single-family homes, 48 duplexes and two apartment complexes, she said. The 547 residential building permits issued last year equated to 796 dwelling units compared to 172 a year earlier, Centeno said.
“That includes the large apartment complex which is just under 200 [units],” she said. “But that’s a huge jump in single-family residential and duplex. It has been a very busy year for us.”
Overall, the city has in the pipelines, 10,075 dwelling units in various stages of planning and development, said Josh Schneuker, Seguin Economic Development Corporation executive director. About 17% of the units are platted and 4.5% received certificates of occupancy, which means they are essentially done with construction, he said.
SEDC is involved in recruiting businesses to town, Schneuker said, but the growing housing market is tied to his duties.
“The biggest thing me and my team are leveraging the growth for is retail opportunities. If there’s rooftops, there’s retail,” he said. “Because of all of this growth, we’re going to be able to attract national retailers to this community.”
They’re looking to bring in retailers like Target, Academy Sports, grocery stores and much more, Schneuker said.
“Somewhere down the line, we’ll possibly need a second grocery store in the city,” he said. “We’re casting a wide net because we feel we can diversity the retail in this community.”
No one thing is driving the residential development boom here, Parker said. As with any development, three major contributing factors are location, location, location, he said.
“I think it’s a combination of everything,” Parker said. “Obviously, this is Central Texas, a high growth area. Everything from San Antonio to Austin is being built out. The home prices there are rising, traffic’s worse. People are looking to some of these other suburbs to move to.”
Seguin is ideal for those and other reasons, he said. The city plans to start working on updating its comprehensive master plan, downtown master plan and transportation master plan to better deal with the growth while also keeping a close eye on quality of life factors, Parker said.
Community input is necessary to help manage the growth to residents’ satisfaction, he said. The master plans will help dictate where and how the city of Seguin wants to continue its growth, Parker said.
Some cities in the area have faced it and now is Seguin’s time to deal with booming construction and manage it wisely, he said.
“I think that’s what’s coming,” Parker said. “A lot of these cities have seen it. It’s coming our way.”
Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com
Category: City of Seguin, news, Development, Housing