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Victoria officials propose solution to driveway debacle

By Melissa Crowe
May 18, 2014 at 12:18 a.m.


IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Victoria City Council

• WHEN: 5 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: 107 W. Juan Linn St.

• MORE INFO: VictoriaTX.org

OTHER ITEMS

• $250,000 budget amendment for the Business U.S. 59 and Loop 463 traffic signal project

• $3.75 million bid from Palacios Marine and Industrial Coatings Inc. for Phase 3 of the downtown water and sanitary sewer replacement project

• Agreement with Group MAK for the creation of a municipal utility district and the development of a master-planned residential and commercial community

A Victoria homeowner and city officials may soon come to terms with a driveway debacle.

Victoria City Council is expected to revisit a variance Tuesday that could allow Ben Commerson, 49, of Victoria, to keep his second driveway.

Mayor Paul Polasek and the homeowner agree they are happy with the variance.

"We never told him he had to tear it out," Polasek said. "It's the resolution I thought we could work out in the very first place. I never wanted him to tear that out. It was just terrible to think he'd have to do that."

Under the resolution up for a vote, Commerson would apply for a driveway permit, pay a $40 permit fee and a $200 fine for working without a permit; he would have to modify the existing driveway to bring it into compliance with the city code; schedule an inspection before pouring concrete; and once the concrete is poured would need to receive final approval from the city.

The council unanimously turned down Commerson's request for a variance April 15 that would have allowed him to keep a second driveway at his home in the 400 block of Brooks Road. Before coming to the council, the planning commission also unanimously denied the variance.

Commerson constructed a 1,200-square-foot workshop in his backyard. The city granted permission for a temporary driveway to bring construction materials to the site, but before the final inspection, the temporary driveway had to be removed.

After the new building was inspected, Commerson constructed a new driveway to provide access to the building without a permit and did not construct it to city specifications.

Current rules limit the amount of driveways a residential property owner could install to each street the property fronts. In Commerson's case, the home, which is in the middle of a block, can have only one driveway unless granted an exemption.

Once the variance passes and the modified driveway is approved, Commerson plans to finish the rest of the concrete work leading to his workshop.

Making the modifications won't come cheap, but Commerson said he agreed to the deal.

"It will probably cost a couple thousand," he said. "Anything involving concrete is expensive, but it's still better than having to break it."

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