Some Southeast Texas homeowners have raised concerns about houses in neighborhoods flooded by Hurricane Harvey being changed from residential to commercial zones.
Several displaced residents in Dickinson worry that businesses will buy flood-damaged homes and absorb older neighborhoods, The Galveston County Daily News reported.
Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters doesn’t see that happening in the city of 20,000 located 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Houston.
“If we had more businesses in a growth mode, maybe,” Masters said. “We are trying to grow businesses. We really need that to survive.”
Harvey hit South Texas last Aug. 25, leading to torrential rain that flooded numerous sites in the Houston area. Recovery efforts continue with some residents still out of their homes.
The Dickinson City Council has unanimously approved a zoning change to make two residential properties commercial areas.
Charmaine Rea opposes the loss of neighborhood homes and says many residents whose property flooded have given up and moved away.
The city needs businesses to generate sales tax revenue, but businesses are gobbling up neighborhoods, leaving residents out of the equation, Rea said.
“They were flooded out and forced out,” she said. The city’s future land use map is shifting to reflect this, Rea said.
What irritated Rea about the meeting was that it started at 7 p.m. but the zoning change item did not come up until 10:30 p.m., she said. By that time, most of the people who were at the meeting had left, she said.
“I’m disappointed in Dickinson city government,” she said. “I know the city has to have businesses, but it’s not fair to residents.”
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