Edison Square plaintiffs file zoning appeal

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Neighborhood residents hoping to stop construction of a housing project for the elderly have filed an appeal with the city of Port Arthur’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Reginald Trainer, one of the four plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the city of Port Arthur, said Tuesday’s filing with the appeal board is the latest of what is fast becoming an protracted process.

Amid fears that the elderly housing project would negatively impact their neighborhood, the plaintiffs hope to halt the city from allowing a zoning change that would permit construction of the $10 million development.

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Last Thursday, the group of 12th Street area neighbors, where the 128-unit affordable housing development is proposed to be built, appeared in Judge Donald Floyd’s 122nd District Court. There, the plaintiffs hoped to be granted a temporary injunction.

After hearing arguments from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Langston Adams, and Scott Bounds, with Olson and Olson, the firm representing the city of Port Arthur, Floyd ruled he had no jurisdiction in the case.

The plaintiffs, he said, first have to exhaust all avenues at the city level before returning to District Court, if they choose to continue.

Trainer said the group has vowed to continue the fight.

“We will fight it to the last minute. If you want something worth having, then you have to fight for it,” Trainer said.

Once filed, the city’s Zoning Appeals Board has 14 days to schedule a hearing. A date has not yet been set.

The plaintiffs have argued that because the city allowed residents living within 200 feet of the proposed site to withdraw their protests about the zoning change after public hearings had concluded, the vote was impacted.

Once the citizen’s protests were allowed to be withdrawn, a super-majority vote among City Council was no longer needed.  The measure passed by a 5-3 vote.

Since then, City Council has implemented a deadline for accepting signatures for or against zoning changes.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com

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