Room for growth in Bridgeport limited by subdivision operations

Community also faces a real need for rental properties, according to some city officials

The Exponent Telegram

November 7, 2011

By  Leslie Moses

       Staff Writer

BRIDGEPORT – When people look to build a house in Bridgeport, they contact the city for information on lots, Director of Community Development Randy Spellman said.

But there are very few lots left scattered about the town, he said.

Real estate agent Cheryl Workman said the same:  “There’s just not a lot of lots available,” she said.  “I would say there’s a shortage.”

Ideally, there would be 75 to 100 available lots for purchase over a two-year span, Spellman said.

There is, however, some room.

Spellman said there are properties already in the city

that would make great residential subdivisions.

But it’s very costly to start a residential subdivision because of all the support needed, Spellman said, listing water and sewer systems, as well as cable and electric connections and streets and curb work.

“It’s a huge investment,” he said.

Subdivisions already in place can be restrictive.

Years ago, people owned their own land and built their own homes he said.

But these days subdivision operations cover home building, according to Spellman.

“We’ve had more and more of that in the last year to year and a half,” Spellman said.

Those wanting to buy land and build homes independently are restricted, he said.

Bridgeport also faces a need for rental properties, according to Workman and Mayor Jim Christie.

“Rental is definitely a problem with all the Marcellus shale,” Workman said.  “We get calls every day for rentals.”

Charles Pointe’s Parkview Village apartments may help a little.

But there’s already a waiting list for the Parkview units yet to be built, Christie said.

Overall, there aren’t very many Bridgeport rentals out there, Workman said.

Single-family houses, though, seem more available, according to Workman.

As of the week of Oct. 24, 95 Bridgeport homes were available, she said.

That number is normal, “not high or low,” Workman said.  “There’s quite a bit available.”

Christie, though, cites construction at Charles Pointe, and housing need.

Contracts for two or three Worthington Estates homes were just signed in the last couple weeks, Christie said.

But with the draw of Bridgeport schools, plus population growth from United Hospital Center, as well as the oil and gas industry, “there’s still a need for housing,” he said.