CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Tuesday, the Corpus Christi City Council passed the creation of Military Compatibility Area Overlay Districts (MCAODs).
It sets the rules for zoning, noise, light and height of structures around Navy installations. Many questions have arisen such as: “What happens to my property if I am in one of the accident potential zones (APZ)?”
Corpus Christi Development Services said nothing would change for anyone living in a crash-prone area.
“It basically ensures that there is compatible development around these facilities today, tomorrow, early in the future,” said Al Raymond, director of development services.
Raymond said MCAOD is focused on future development.
There are 3,500 properties affected by this, but eyes are on undeveloped plots, such as those around Waldron Field.
Of the 3,500, there are 689 properties around Waldron Field – falling into an APZ.
“117 are vacant,” said Andrew Dimas, administrator of development services. “Which means these are the ones we’re worried about in what direction might they develop?”
Dimas added that 66 of the vacant lots are zoned for residential families, but there are no concerns due to lack of sewage access.
“In the state of Texas, to have a septic tank, which means you’re off the grid, so to speak, you have to have half an acre of land,” Dimas said. “Which fits perfectly with military layering requirements, which is a density of two units per acre.”
To help you visualize, think of a professional football pitch. An acre is about 60% of the field.
Raymond and Dimas said the Navy is ready to live with what is already being built at APZ. This includes the new Mary Carroll High School.
For owners, the city gives them the option of making a change to comply with the new code, if they wish.
“If they feel, by chance, that they may have lost a development opportunity that they wish to have, their dream, that we want to encourage. We have a six-month window in which they can apply for free rezoning,” Dimas said.
The ordinance includes requirements on noise, lighting, and height of a structure. But for already existing structures, the only thing they need to consider is if they are in a lighting zone.
Exterior light fixtures should be shielded so that they do not emit light above 90 degrees.
For noise compliance, again, existing structures are not required to make modifications. New structures should be built to ensure that no more than 45 decibels come from the house.
However, if you are renovating in any way and the renovation costs 75% or more of your real estate asset, you must also build it noise compliant.
The city took these steps to protect a city asset, the Navy. According to the governor’s office, having the base here provides more than $4 billion to the economy every year.
Raymond said it’s important to have MCAOD in place as the city grows.
It is also important because the MCAOD changes every ten years and technology is constantly evolving, creating change as well.
“Nobody comes out unscathed,” Raymond said. “It means some people are going to be unhappy, some people are going to be really happy. But really, the decision is for the greater good, our community as a whole, so.
Raymond added that it’s like any other prescription. If something is found to work better, the prescription can be changed.
The city council will vote after the second reading of this ordinance on Tuesday, August 16, where it is expected to pass.
You can read more about the study below:
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