Plot ordinance stirs complaints

Special to the NEWS

San Benito homeowners have been complaining about the City’s policy requiring that residential lots be subdivided before officials grant utility permits.

One such resident is Santiago Perez, who purchased a property on 701 Travis three years ago with the intention of building a house of only 1300 square feet.

After the city issued his permit and Perez began construction, he was informed that he would have to add 200 feet of sidewalk before adding electricity, which would raise his total cost by $6,000.

“The sidewalk isn’t even going to be on my property, it’s going to be on the easement,” Perez complained. “If I had known I had to spend that extra money, I would’ve never started, I would’ve just sold it.”

City of San Benito Public Relations Director David Favila stated in an email that the cost for re-platting varies from project to project and from city to city, and that most major costs are incurred by outside engineering firms and surveyors, who developers must secure and negotiate costs with ahead of construction of a subdivision.

In his email, Favila stated that while San Benito’s base fee for a preliminary plat review stands at $200 and charges $50 for a final plat review, Harlingen’s fees vary from $150 for preliminary construction to $250 for replats, adding a subdivision variance fee of $25 for each request.

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