Interim City Manager Marvin Townsend told the seven members of the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation board of directors during a meeting last week that he was fairly sure City Attorney Frank Warner would not approve it.
Apple plans to build a residential subdivision on 8.6 acres between U.S. Highway 59 and Veterans Memorial Park. The development would primarily consist of duplexes.
He has been before the City Council to request its assistance in getting the funds released.
Townsend said the problem with the request is two-fold. The city charter forbids the city from investing public funds in property that is being developed.
Local attorney Kenneth Bethune of the Beeville law office of Bethune/Enright, was at the meeting to represent Apple.
He said the developer, who lives in the Dallas area, would be unable to make the trip to Beeville because of icy road conditions in much of the state expected on Thursday and Friday.
Townsend said another problem with the development is that a drainage easement is located between North Lightburne Street and Apple’s property.
The city manager said no one knows yet what the utility situation is on that property. It has been platted for development. He said manholes are in place on the property, making it likely that sewer lines are in place there. He said the property probably has water lines as well. However, no one is certain yet if there are taps in that water line.
“The city attorney doesn’t know how it can be done legally,” Townsend said about the BEIC grant. “And I think he’s right.”
Apple told the City Council earlier on Jan. 14 that he does not intend to sell undeveloped lots within the property. He will be building duplex units in the subdivision and will sell the improved lots once the duplexes have been built on them.
Apple said he intends to encourage investors to purchase the duplexes. He is especially interested in selling the homes to individuals who will live in one side of a duplex and rent out the other side. In some cases, Apple has told council members, owners could pay their entire mortgage costs with rent collected from their tenants.
Bethune said that means Apple believes he is building a commercial project and that he might be able to get around the investment hurdle that way.
“We’re still wide open for suggestions,” Townsend said.
BEIC Board President Jody Alaniz reminded other members that the city has $110,000 budgeted for the project.
“I just hate to lose a $3 million project on the west side of Beeville,” Alaniz said. “It’s a little bit of money to spend on a big project.”
Bethune mentioned that Apple had told him the city had approved a similar grant for utility line extensions for an earlier apartment development, and he is thinking the city could grant him assistance using the same legal interpretation.