GALVESTON - Two Galveston residents plan to sue the city over its approval of plans for a new hotel to be built on Seawall Boulevard.
Joan Mertens and William Anthony Morris filed suit in the 405th District Court on May 1. In the lawsuit, the pair ask for the court to block construction from beginning, or permits from being issued, “for anything exceeding low-rise construction” for the lot located at 1328 Seawall Blvd.
That address is the proposed site of a nine-story, 120-foot hotel.
In 2012, the developers of the hotel, J.A. Land LLC, received a specific-use permit to build the hotel to that height. The permit allowed the developers to bypass existing height and density rules that would have limited the building to 70 feet.
The lawsuit claims that while the building’s height requirements were waived, the permit does not waive the requirements for a minimum lot size for a building of the permitted height.
“J.A. Land’s lot is too small for the building it proposes to construct and no variance is available to overcome this fatal problem with this proposed development,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit asks the city to enforce the zoning standards and prevent the construction of the “clearly violative project.”
Mertens owns a home on the 1400 block of Avenue N 1/2, just a block from the seawall. Morris owns a home on the 1300 block of the same street, according to county appraisal district records. The hotel is planned to be built on a plot across the street from Mertens’ and Morris’ homes.
Though a height variance was granted to the developers in 2012, no construction has started on the project. In January, the developers failed in a bid to receive a variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment that would allow them to adjust the length of walls they could build on the property.
After failing to receive that variance, Amir Fadaei, said he would have to consider his options going forward.
The Galveston City Council is scheduled to receive an update about the lawsuit during their executive session during Thursday’s council meeting.