City staff errors, including one that allowed a building permit to be wrongly extended a second time, are costing Fort Worth $90,000 to settle a claim filed by a property owner over alleged code and contract disputes that the owner says stymied investment plans.
The City Council by an 8-0 vote approved the settlement Tuesday night. Councilwoman Gyna Bivens was absent. Chrome Construction filed a $500,000 claim with the city May 2, about two months after the council upheld a Zoning Commission ruling that denied the property owner’s rezoning request. The investors have agreed to the settlement terms.
The case involves a residential lot at 2628 Boyd Ave. that Chrome Construction bought Oct. 30, 2015, with plans to build a second house on the property. The property is across Cantey Street from TCU.
Alex Veigel of Chrome Construction declined to comment on the settlement. He said he and his investors have not decided what they will do with the property.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Veigel earlier this year told the City Council and Zoning Commission the investors were told by city staff just weeks before they closed the deal to buy the property that there were valid building permits for the second house, at 3504 Cantey St.
In September 2014, the city issued a building permit to the prior owner. The permit essentially grandfathered the property under the then-current two-family zoning. In October 2014, the City Council adopted the TCU Residential Overlay ordinance, which sets rules for new residential construction around the university to cut down on so-called stealth dorms.
The building permit was extended in March 2015. Under zoning rules, permits can be extended once for an additional six months. But in this case, the permit was wrongly extended another six months in August 2015. The city pulled the permit but then incorrectly allowed Chrome Construction to reinstate the permit by paying a fee. When the errors were discovered, the permit was deemed inactive. When that happened, the property became subject to the new zoning requirements and was classified as a single-family property.
Veigel requested that the property be rezoned, but on March 9 the Zoning Commission denied the request. On March 22, the City Council upheld the Zoning Commission ruling.
According to deed records, Chrome Construction borrowed $545,000 from Southwest Bank to buy the property from Bonnie and Tom Lightfoot.