Tempers flare at BC Planning and Zoning meeting
The meeting room was packed as concerned citizens and members of the Bridge City Planning and Zoning Commission met Monday evening.
Roundbunch Road Enterprises- David Olson, has requested a zone change from a R-1, single family residential, and a R-2, low density residential district, to a C-3, third commercial district, on the property located on the corner of Ferry Drive and Meadowlawn. A large portion of the property is currently zoned commercial and the request is to change the remaining portion to allow for a commercial venture.
City Manager Jerry Jones said he had been contacted by a Houston firm which had inquired about the property. He added the firm has plans to build a supermarket at the site. He later added the zoning change would involve about 376 feet of property.
The city sent out 23 letters informing residents near the possible zone changes and only one was returned with a response. The letter was read aloud and the person was against the proposal stating because they had requested a zoning change in the past and it was denied. Once the hearing began, other citizens voiced their opinions as well. After each person finished talking, the group of people in the audience applauded loudly. They were warned not to, but one person replied, “that’s tough.”
The first to speak during the public hearing was Denise Gremillon.
“I am livid this is happening,” she said. “If this happens we are leaving.”
Ron Smith, who spoke during a previous public hearing, also made comments.
Pictured: Jerry Jones, BC city manager
“We would like our town to have residential areas, there are plenty of businesses in the business district,” he said.
Janice Leonard, also stated she would like to keep residential areas strictly residential. She also added there are other factors to consider such as noise and flooding issues.
David Frasier told the commission he thinks the additional concrete on the property will increase the probabilty of flooding problems in the area.
“Commercial zoning and residential areas don’t mix,” Frasier added.
Rita Hollier stated she wished Dr. David Olson had attended the meeting. But, Jones had informed everyone at the start of the hearing, Olson was unable to attend.
However, Olson was contacted by The Record and he said he feels the property is large enough to accommodate a business. Over the years he has been contacted by businesses such as funeral homes, apartment buildings and nursing homes. But, he turned them down.
‘I don’t want an apartment complex built on the property,” he said. “I would rather have a grocery store built there.”
Olson stated a grocery store built on the property would benefit the city with the increase in the ad valorem tax.
“It would add to everyone’s value of their homes,” he said.
It would also benefit the citizens of Bridge City and Orangefield, he added.
After the public hearing was concluded, the commission briefly discussed the zone changes. With a vote of four to three it was decided to recommend the zoning changes to the city council. The next regular meeting of the city council is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 4.
It was when the hearing concluded, people became loud and vowed to remember who voted to approve the zoning change. It was also stated a person had a copy of the deed restrictions and would provide copies to all interested parties.
Slowly the crowd dispersed, but some people gathered outside the doors of city hall to plan for their attendance at the next council meeting.