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After two months of public dissent, the San Marcos City Council ordered the city staff to send back an amended animal control ordinance making microchip registration of pet dogs and cats optional at Tuesday night’s meeting.
An ordinance passed in December providing for mandatory microchip registration, producing a public outcry that rippled onto the national scene. About 300 protesters from all over Texas appeared at City Hall Tuesday night as the council was to take up the matter for the first time since passing the ordinance.
The council ordered that the matter be sent back to the city’s animal shelter advisory board, which originally recommended the microchipping as part of a comprehensive animal control ordinance. The board has acknowledged in the past month a willingness to re-visit the microchipping issue.
No time table has been set for the matter to go back before the council, however, the new ordinance will go into effect on April 1 unless the council takes other action before then.
In another development, the council reversed a previous decision to turn back a request to re-zone 22.5 acres near Hunter Road and Wonder World Drive from commercial to multi-family. After the proposal failed by a 4-2 vote on Feb. 17, the council decided to approve the re-zoning Tuesday night by a 4-3 vote.
Pam Couch, who was absent from the Feb. 17 meeting, voted with Mayor Susan Narvaiz and Councilmember Kim Porterfield to approve the re-zoning. Councilmember Fred Terry, who voted against the re-zoning on Feb. 17, changed his mind Tuesday night, satisfied by revisions proposed by the developer.
The council also approved a “host responsibility” ordinance giving police officers greater discretion to break up parties due to noise after tabling the measure last month. A 6-1 majority carried the issue, with only Councilmember Chris Jones in opposition.
At Jones’ request, the council will consider forming criteria for defining a “prudent party host,” which would constitute a defense against prosecution. Jones, Porterfield and Councilmember John Thomaides will comprise the committee to develop that criteria.
Due to the length of the meeting, which began at 6 p.m. and finally adjourned at 11:45 p.m., the council tabled a discussion about the possibility of extending bar hours to 2 p.m. Voters overwhelmingly approved such a change in the November 2008 election.
Newstreamz will follow with more details.