• September 26, 2023

Debate likely in zoning request that would put low-cost housing in air traffic safety zone


Potential developers of a proposed manufactured housing subdivision are billing the project as an opportunity to deliver as many as 500 affordable homes to Corpus Christi – but, according to city officials, a portion of the property could raise significant safety questions.

The project, as planned, would make available new three-bedroom, two-bath manufactured homes for roughly $85,000 under current pricing, said developer Robert Murray.

“It’s basically your new affordable housing,” Murray said.

If a rezoning request is approved, as many as 500 lots could be developed under a phased approach on the 95-acre property off Old Brownsville Road, he said.

But roughly 25 percent of the land – or about 24 acres – lies within the bounds of what is considered as an existing air traffic safety zone, including a clear zone and an accident potential zone, according to city documents.

City records show the property’s northern boundary at about 1.15 miles from the endpoint of Corpus Christi International Airport’s runway – short of the 1.5 miles distance between residential development and the airport runway.

A pending staff recommendation to the Planning Commission to deny a requested zoning change is largely based on incompatibility concerns, including the property’s future identified light industrial land use in addition to the air traffic risks, according to city officials.

Other cities have residential developments near air traffic, Murray said, pointing out an existing mobile home subdivision is located southeast of his prospective project.

Corpus Christi’s air traffic safety zones designation is based on a 2013 study focusing on compatibility between the city’s land use in areas around the airports, where U.S. Navy training is often performed.

Murray has contended the label “mobile home park” – as it is described in Planning Commission documents – carries with it an association that wouldn’t match what he proposes, which he said are planned to include selling 1,200-square-foot homes on 6,000-square-foot lots with car ports and storage sheds.

The issue isn’t the type of housing proposed, said Nina Nixon-Mendez, assistant director of development services − the recommendation would have been the same whether the proposal had involved single-family homes or apartments.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is slated to take up discussion on the proposal in its meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The meeting is also broadcast live on YouTube.

The city board is considered advisory – meaning regardless of the commission’s vote, the zoning request change must go to the City Council for a final decision.

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