CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Early stages of construction have begun on a 336-unit apartment complex, despite the well-known fact that the property is in a Navy Accident Potential Zone — also known as a crash zone.
The Corpus Christi Independent School District originally planned to build the new Carroll High School on the property at the intersection of Saratoga and Weber, but changed locations because of the frequent training flights that go over the site from nearby Cabaniss Field.
Naval Air Station - Corpus Christi officials didn't respond to requests for comment.
A city official, who says his department became aware of plans for the apartment complex in late November 2021, had his staff reach out to NAS-CC a month later.
“I know the Navy is a little like, ‘What? Why would we allow this?," Development Services Director Al Raymond said. "And it’s not a matter of we allowing it. It’s the owner has property entitlements, right? It’s my right to build this."
The economic impact NAS-CC makes on the community is huge. The South Texas Military Task Force puts the figure at $2.7 billion statewide annually.
City leaders, like Raymond, want to make sure the Navy doesn't pull out of Corpus Christi because of housing developments popping up near their facilities.
That's why several city departments are holding a meeting Friday afternoon to discuss their options in regards to the apartment project near Cabaniss and other multi-family residential zoned-properties within crash zones.
One option they'll likely consider is putting a moratorium on residential construction around Cabaniss, NAS-CC, and Waldron Field in Flour Bluff.
That would give the city time to rezone the properties so that homes and apartments couldn't be built on them.
"If NAS is as important as we say they are, this is how we show it — by protecting them and helping ensure that what goes up around them is compatible and they agree with it as well,” Raymond said.
That option has a downside.
The zoning change could make properties less valuable — upsetting their owners. It would also stop construction projects, like the apartments, before their finished — further hurting property owners financially.
A large group of city leaders will take all of that into account at their meeting.
"We need to mitigate this and rectify, and as much as possible, make the developer whole — but (also) rezone areas that doesn’t have the impact that this has on the installations,” Raymond said.
This is a developing story. Updates will be provided following the Friday meeting.