The Bridgeport City Council approved a set-back variance for a Rhino Group development at Private Road 3228 near Cuba Road, but a variance for a driveway exception failed.
The Rhino Group began construction on six bunkhouses not realizing the property is in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Director of Development Services Ashley Smalley said that when the city became aware of the project, it asked the developer to stop construction so the proper platting process could be completed through the city.
The city enforces its subdivision regulations in its ETJ, and the development meets all but two requirements. The development has a 20-foot front yard setback rather than the required 25 feet. The development also has a separate entrance and exit that make a U-shaped driveway through the development. The entrance and exit are separated by 52 feet rather than the required 100 feet.
The development meets all county regulations except the setback, which is also 25 feet.
Smalley said two neighbors provided negative feedback when notified of the variance.
“General consensus is that they should have followed the rules,” she said.
Jo Higgins’ property is adjacent to the development. She said that the pads are located “a foot from her property.”
“If they walk out their back door, they’ll be in my yard,” she said. “It will lower our property value. There’s already a lot of traffic on the road, and now we’ll have six more homes clustered together. The value of our home is what is of concern for me.”
The city’s survey shows 20.4 feet from the back of the pad to her property line. The city plans to have the land surveyed again to make sure the measurements are correct.
Colby Shawn with the Rhino Group said that the company wants to offer low-income housing to a part of the county with few rental options.
“We designed it to create something more affordable for people,” he said. “We by no means started construction thinking we would get by the city.”
The council unanimously approved the setback variance.
However, the council did not approve the driveway variance through lack of a motion. McComis questioned what kind of precedent the council was setting by approving numerous variances for one development.
Smalley said that if the developer comes back with the variance and the council does not approve it, the development would be shut down.