A sign near the intersection of Colony Ridge Lane and Bay Sky Drive is the first evidence of discontent in the otherwise relatively quiet Bay Colony neighborhood.
Residents of the newish subdivision near the southern edge of League City along FM 517 are upset about the possibility of another three-story apartment complex rising near their neighborhood.
The sign states: “No! 517 rezoning,” with information about upcoming council meetings to discuss the matter.
The reasons for the opposition are many and varied, residents say.
“We just don’t think it’s a fair trade,” said Todd Starnes-Williams, a resident of the neighborhood since 2018.
Residents are concerned because the developers behind the current Bahia Cove complex have asked city officials to rezone the land next to them so that they can build more apartments — a move that could increase flooding, traffic and crime in Bay Colony, Starnes-Williams said.
The complex now known as Bahia Cove Apartments was once the Jordan Cove Apartments, and was operated as a low-income housing unit, according to several residents and Councilman Chad Tressler.
Developers remodeled the complex and transitioned it to a regular apartment complex after Hurricane Harvey damaged many of its units, but many of the residents remain the same, said Francoise DeWitt, a resident of Bay Colony.
Hurricane Harvey changed League City’s population, city leaders say.
About 20.85 percent of the city’s population, which 83,560 in 2010, was considered low- or moderate-income, a number that likely increased after Harvey, said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for the city.
The city’s population is about 106,000 now, but new census data about low- or moderate-income data won’t be available until next year.
“Many of the low- to moderate-income apartment complexes that were damaged and flooded during Harvey lost tenants immediately after the flood,” Greer Osborne said. “Many of the complexes that repaired and remodeled also ended up increasing their rent, which led to tenants choosing to move to other, less expensive complexes outside of League City.”
League City did not have specific numbers on how the storm affected its apartment stock.
But Texas in general has a lack of low-income housing, according to a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Renters at or below extremely low-income levels have about 29 affordable and available homes per 100 renter households, compared to the national average of about 37, according to the study.
But, for those in Bay Colony, the concerns go deeper than that.
“I’m not against apartments,” DeWitt said. “It’s just that this one is renowned for unsavory tenants. Not everyone is bad, I get that, but the police are making a lot of calls out here.”
Just this week, for instance, League City police announced they arrested a man they believed played a role in several recent Bay Colony burglaries, and residents say they believe he lived in Bahia Cove.
“This has been an ongoing problem for the past five or six years,” DeWitt said.
Also, the new units would add more cars and traffic to an already packed FM 517, DeWitt said.
The proposed development might also strain the neighborhood’s drainage system, and the city hasn’t yet completed a drainage study to determine the specific effect, Starnes-Williams said.
The city’s planning and zoning board during an April 1 meeting recommended not approving a rezoning request from general commercial to multi-family residential, records show.
The item could still come before the city council, and was initially schedule for Tuesday’s meeting, but doesn’t appear on the agenda, records show.
Officials with WRH Realtors, the group behind the expansion, did not respond to a request for comment about the matter by deadline Friday.