David Ball

For The Record

Some prime waterfront property in Bridge City is still waiting to be developed.

The Bridge City Planning & Zoning Committee turned down a recreation vehicle park site on a 4 acre property on Texas Avenue next to the Cow Bayou Swing Bridge at their meeting on Monday night. Twenty-six spaces were proposed for the RV park, according to City Manager Jerry Jones.

Developer Clint Wise, of Orange County, also proposed building a marina bar and grill, grounds manager house, washateria, boat ramp and dry boat storage spaces at the site owned by Tony Houseman Homes.

“The plan hinged on the travel trailers to pay for the expenses. The committee was not willing to build the trailer park. It was turned down at the last meeting so he(Wise) made some readjustments to present it again,” Jones said. “A number of people opposed the travel trailer park. Everything else was in there.”

However, after Jones spoke with Wise after the meeting it’s unlikely he’ll build the restaurant, boat ramp and boat house.

Wise said he showed the original plans to Tony Houseman 10 years ago when he was still alive. Wise has been interested in the property for a long time and said he didn’t want to look back in regret and saw what could had been.

He added that his RV park would be nice and not be a disreputable “man camp.”

Some at the P&Z committee said they would like to see a restaurant built there, or a wheelhouse, such as the Neches River Wheelhouse in Port Neches. Wise said if Bridge City does what Port Neches did to build their wheelhouse, he could build it.

“Port Neches donated that land the Wheelhouse sits on. Their agreement was for the Wheelhouse to pay them back in five year which they did,” he said. “Everybody wants something, but nobody is willing to put something up.”

To pay back his investment Wise said he would need all three entities: a restaurant, the RV park and boat marina.

“I grew up in Orange County. Lake Charles has a property similar to this, a little smaller, and they would love for me to do this there, but it’s not my hometown. We’ve tried every way we can with this property,” Wise said.

There was interest with this property a few years ago to build a waterfront park there next to the rare swing bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 adding to the significance of the adjoining property. In fact, plans were made for the park and surveying was done by Mark Anderson with George Anderson Surveying, according to a prior Record article. Unfortunately, those plans never came to fruition.

An item that did get approved at the P&Z meeting was to recommend to the Bridge City City Council to call a joint public hearing for a proposed zone change from single family residential to second commercial district as requested by owner Juan Ceja to build townhouses on6 acres on FM 408 in Orangefield Farms.

Jones said the townhouses will be built on a long tract of land near the water tower. He added that nobody spoke against building the townhouses at the meeting.