Tuesday, November 26, 2013
By Erin Beck – Staff Writer
BRIDGEPORT - Bridgeport City council approved about $400,000 in storm drainage projects for the city at Monday’s meeting.
Following a work session with representatives from Genesis Partners, council also approved the first reading of an ordinance to combine two planned unit developments into one at Charles Pointe.
Council asked Thrasher Engineering to conduct a multiple-phase study of problems in the Compton park watershed in the northwestern part of Bridgeport.
At the conclusion of the first phase, Thrasher provided the city with six potential projects that would total about $1 million, including: A pone on Charles Pointe property and a pond above James Street apartments; a floodwall at James Street; replacement of a culvert through Compton Park, and construction of underground storm drainage systems on Meadow Lane and Glem Avenue.
City Engineer Tom Brown recommended council move forward with five of the six projects, leaving out construction of a pond at James Street at a cost of $500,000.
The new Charles Pointe planned unit development, if the second reading of the oridinance is approved, would allow for more multi-family housing but restrict the type of development that an be built near Worthington Village and Bridgeport Recreational Complex.
All council members had expressed concern about residents who had already invested in development in those areas.
Because of the changing economic climate in the area, Genesis Partners requested to combine two planned unit developments into one and, in doing so, alter the master plan to allow for more multi-family housing projects and fewer single-family homes.
Council members and Genesis Partners had been unable to hash out a deal since the developer first appeared before the planning commission in early October.
The first compromise proposed by Genesis Partners last council meeting would create buffer zones near Worthington Village and across from the Bridgeport Recreation Complex for attached or detached single-family homes with no more than six units per structure, meaning condominiums would be permitted.
The plan which passed Monday uses the same buffer zone approach, but requires that 40 percent of units across from the recreation complex are single family homes, according to Randy Spellman, the city’s community development director.
The plan also eliminated the potential for about 90 townhomes around Worthington Village.
Mayor Mario Blount, who voted for the amendment, urged council members to keep economic development in mind, which requires housing for a workforce.
“We can nitpick this to death,” he said. “I just feel that they deserve a vote. They’ve been back to use four times now. I think that they deserve a vote.”
“We need to think a little bit bigger than just this project,” he said.
Council members Bob Greer, Dustin Vincent and John Wilson voted for the amendment to accept the plan as well.
Council members Diana Cole Marra and Melissa Matheny voted against the amendment, while Darrell Bowen recused himself because he lives in Charles Pointe.
The next step will be public notification of the ordinance, including gletters to residents who are directly affected and a newspaper listing, followed by the second reading of the oridnance at least 30 days later.
Marra said she was not satisfied with the density of housing acceptable across from the recreation complex. The plan calls for 12 units per acre in an area currently reserved for 4 units per acre, she said.
Matheny described concerns about multi-family housing on the right side of Stone Bridge.
“This is the very first time anyone has raised the issue of townhomes on the right-hand side of Stone Bridge,” Greer said.
Greer said he was beginning to wonder why any developer would want to do business with the city of Bridgeport.
Genesis Partners had offered compromise after compromise, so they deserve a vote, he said.
Council also canceled the meeting for Dec. 23.