City of Bertram halts duplex construction at Castleberry Court

By Catherine Hosman

BERTRAM — Mayor Dickie Allen said the City erred when a building permit for multi-family dwellings  at 104 and 106 Castleberry Court was issued. In recent days, he ordered all construction be stopped.

The two lots positioned behind a Mexican restaurant on State Highway 29 and Castleberry Court were rezoned for commercial use only at a March 8, 2005, meeting of the Bertram City Council.

Until this time, the lots were used as additional parking for the restaurant and a turn-around area for construction trucks entering the court. However, once development began on the duplexes, construction vehicles began to use the Castleberry Court cul-de-sac as a turnaround.  The Castleberry Court subdivision has eight single-family dwellings built around the cul-de-sac and multi-family townhomes at the back of the area.

At the Feb. 26 regular meeting of the Bertram City Council, concerned residents stepped forward to question the City’s reasons for building duplexes on commercially zoned lots.

“They had legitimate concerns,” Mayor Allen said. “A cul-de-sac is not designed for high traffic. We need to make parking accessible at the restaurant’s lot.”

On March 2, a special meeting was held with representatives of the City including the city attorney, Board of Adjustments and Appeals and residents. At the meeting, Mayor Allen appealed the right of staff to issue those permits.

“The Board upheld the appeal,” Mayor Allen said. “The zoning ordinance did not cover ‘lesser use’. Our ordinance was not written that way and from a legal standpoint, it has to be written in the zoning orders.

“We are looking for solutions and made a lot of headway on Saturday,”  he said.  “We are working on resolving the parking and turn-around issue, working with the Planning and Zoning Commission to change the zoning to multi-family.”