Port Neches Zoning Board selects legal firm

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PORT NECHES — Port Neches’ Zoning Board of Adjustment has selected Jane Leger of Dugas Leger Law Firm as counsel in a suit against them by city council.

Leger was appointed as counsel during a special meeting on Tuesday.

Zoning Board Chairman Corey Belanger deferred all questions regarding the issue to Leger.

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Leger, in a phone call after the meeting, said the reasoning behind the board’s decision would soon be made clear.

“We will set forth, very specifically and clearly, why the board took the action they did and the logic behind it,” Leger said. “This was a well reasoned decision and we’re going to make that clear.”

The zoning board learned the mayor and city council filed a writ of certiorari on Nov. 19 regarding the zoning board’s approval of three variances related to the construction of an apartment complex.

The legal document states “the board were illegal in that each variance exceeds the limits placed on the construction of multifamily housing units” by city code.

“We hotly contest anything improper much less illegal was done and the reasoning will be made soon,” she said.

Leger’s next step is to gather information related to the issue and go from there. If all parties do not agree then the issue will be submitted to a judge. The writ was filed in the Jefferson County Court at Law No. 1.

According to Texas local government code, a board of adjustment may authorize in specific cases a variance from the terms of a zoning ordinance if the variance is not contrary to the public interest.

The plaintiffs, who are city council and the mayor, are asking a judge to reverse the board’s decision. One zoning board member, Boyd Parks, quit the board when he learned of the legal action, according to information from the city.

Jeff Ahktar of Amron Housing Group, proposed the construction of an apartment complex to be located at 3031 Eighth St. The apartments will be a mix of two and three story building with 140 units with an investment of $8 million.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Port Neches met on Nov. 9 and approved variances to go above the two-story height requirement, to place more than 12 attached dwellings units under one roof and go beyond the acreage density.

The proposed apartments will be “luxury” and the gated complex will feature laundry, pool, work-out room, event center, access gate and brick columns.

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