LEAGUE CITY, Texas — A developer is proceeding with a plan to build apartments for low- to moderate-income adults 55 and older after addressing concerns from nearby homeowners.
Stuart Shaw, president of Austin-based apartment developer Bonner Carrington, in April obtained a resolution from League City council members that supported his plan to build the 176-unit Mariposa Apartment Homes on FM 517 east of Calder Road in the Bay Colony Planned Unit Development.
The land is zoned for multifamily housing.
Shaw said he halted the project to meet with neighbors who complained the apartments would attract crime, decrease property values and compound traffic congestion.
Plans for the Mariposa apartments are back on the table.
The city council in a 4-3 vote Feb. 22 approved a resolution authorizing the developer’s application for federal low-income housing tax credits to pay for construction.
Shaw’s company, which doesn’t rent to people with felony convictions, has built similar apartments in Houston, Amarillo and San Marcos.
About 40 percent of residents at other Mariposa apartments move into the complexes to live close to relatives, Shaw said.
A fence and shrubs surrounding the property would create a buffer between the apartments and nearby subdivisions, he said.
"We can control crime better than neighborhoods because we can evict residents if criminal issues arise," Shaw said. "It doesn’t look like all the things that people fear. It’s not going to be some low-income, trashy place."
Council members Mike Lee, Mick Phalen and Joanna Sharp Dawson opposed the February resolution.
"I don’t feel like that’s the best place for apartments," Lee said. "It backs up to homes, and existing homeowners have traffic and lighting concerns."
A representative from the Bay Colony Community Improvement Association, which manages the Bay Colony planned unit development, did not return requests for comment Thursday.
Shaw said he would find out in July if the project will receive housing tax credits. Construction would begin in 2012.
Dickinson city officials last April opposed the project because it would increase congestion on FM 517, which borders Dickinson to the north, City Administrator Julie Johnston said.
Johnston and Mayor Julie Masters changed their view of the project after they met with Shaw and paid an unannounced visit to a Mariposa apartment complex at 2889 Reed Road in Houston.
"We were pleasantly surprised with the apartments," Johnston said. "It’s definitely different than Section 8 housing. The developer has an interest in meeting needs of community."
Some apartment development proposals haven’t met the same warm welcome in League City.
Council members last month denied a resolution authorizing an application from League City Senior Living Community for low-income housing tax credits to build senior apartments on about 6 acres in the Victory Lakes area.
The tract, which is south of Victory Lakes Drive and west of Walker Street, is in a commercial zoning district.
Lee said he opposed the project because nearby roads, including FM 646 east of Interstate 45, couldn’t handle increased traffic.
Galveston County has an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to widen FM 646 between Interstate 45 and state Highway 3 in League City. The transportation department hasn’t funded the project, county engineer Mike Fitzgerald said.
Further apartment development will strain League City’s infrastructure, particularly water supplies, Lee said.
"We’ve got so many apartments already in this town," Lee said. "We need to catch our breath a bit. Before we have any new multifamily housing in the city, we need to take a hard look and make sure it’s a good fit."
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