Zoning change proposal met with opposition from the crowd
It was standing room only at the Bridge City Planning and Zoning meeting on Tuesday evening at the city hall.
Residents were there to make sure their opinions were heard regarding a possible zone change which would allow a Houston developer to build an apartment complex.
One of the locations discussed was a portion of the lot located at 835 Center. It was recommended to be presented to the city council for approval. According to city manager, Jerry Jones, the portion is only a small corner of the lot.
However, other properties such as the one on Ferry Drive were discussed and met with strong emotions from the crowd of people.
Christine Dobbs, told commissioners she has lived in the area for more than 60 years. She informed them of a recent phone call from somebody wanting to purchase her property.
“I told them ‘No,’” she said.
Before she returned to her seat, she added,” We don’t need any more traffic on Ferry Drive.”
Dana Scales-Bourque also spoke to the zoning commission.
She agreed Bridge City needs to bring in new growth, but disagreed with the zoning change and the proposed apartment complex being built. She asked the crowd to raise their hands to show if they too opposed the apartment complex being built. As a result, the majority of the people did raise their hands.
Another citizen tearfully addressed the zoning commission. She told them she had moved from West Orange to escape crime and to raise a family.
“Apartment complexes bring in guns and people fighting,” she said. “I don’t want any part of this. We will put our house up for sale and move out of Bridge City.”
Other people voiced their concerns about possible flooding problems.
Harold Brinson, who lives on nearby Quincy Street, is fearful water will be pushed into other people’s property because the land where the apartment complex could be built would be elevated and leave the water with no place to go.
The developer waited and took his turn to address the concerns.
“We will build it to code and make sure it drains,” he said. “We don’t want our property to flood either.”
He also stated the entire complex was to be fenced, but not high enough to make some of the people satisfied.
During his three minutes, Ron Smith addressed the lack of privacy he felt the neighborhood would lose if a two-story apartment complex were built.
“Nobody would want to have a barbecue or sit on a porch swing in the back yard with people staring down at you,” Smith said.
After the public hearing was completed it was time for commissioners to vote whether or not to recommend the zoning changes to the city council. They voted against making a recommendation to the council on a zone change for properties located on Ferry Drive and Lawn Terrace.
Another public hearing will be scheduled for the property located behind the Bridge City Bank and Dr. Olson’s office. A representative for the business owner told commissioners the property would never be used to apartments but was for a retail business.
The city council met and approved an agenda item which scheduled a vote to be held on September 20 to place a proposal to adopt an ad valorem tax rate for the 2012 tax year of $0.48700 per $100 valuation. The total tax rate consists of $0.23339 for interest and the sinking fund and $0.25361 for the maintenance and operation fund.
In addition, a public hearing to hear public comments about the proposed budget will be 6 p.m.. August 20 and 6 p.m. September 4 at the city hall. The proposed ad valorem tax rate will be discussed during a hearing at that time as well.