Developer’s Plan to Build Duplex in Limbo

Lot on Canal Street where a developer wants to build a duplex. Photo: Tony Vindell/

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A local developer who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Los Fresnos can’t go on with his next project as it is now in limbo.

Roberto Delgado is interested in building a $180,000 duplex on Canal Street but the city is adamantly opposed after the planning and zoning commission voted to deny the application.

City Commissioner Yolanda Cruz lives next to the lot where Delgado wants to construct the duplex and opposition to the project is coming from several residents including the commissioner’s husband, Manuel Cruz Jr., who contends a duplex will contribute to a lesser quality of life in their neighborhood.

Manuel Abrego, a former city mayor and a lifetime resident of Los Fresnos, addressed the city council during a recent meeting saying Delgado’s project will not be detrimental to the single family neighborhood.

“He wants to build an $180,000- duplex,” he said. ”It will have a fence, a garden and it will complement the neighborhood. I doubt there are that many houses worth that kind of money.”

City Commissioner Juan Muñoz said the lot where Delgado wants to build the duplex is a good thing for the city.

“Who else is going to build there” he said. “The lot is next to the railroad tracks; yet Mr. Delgado wants to build a duplex there.”

Garcia Jr. said having a duplex there will not help maintain the quality of life of Canal Street residents.

Another resident, Abel Garcia, echoed a similar remark.

After listening to both sides, City Manager Mark Milum recommended to deny Delgado’s request. Delgado is appealing the thumbs down the planning and zoning commission gave to his application to build the duplex.

But Mayor Polo Narvaez made a motion to table the item, saying he would prefer to have all the council members on board as only four out of six commissioners were at the meeting.

Abrego said Delgado has invested close to $1 million in several projects in Los Fresnos and in Brownsville in the nearly 30 years he has been living here.

“The duplex he wants to build here is like a Cadillac,” he said. “The planning and zoning voted it down and I am very disappointed in that. It was a cut and dry action and nobody asked a question (during the meeting).”

Abrego called the duplex a really good project.

Milum responded saying city staff looked into the project and his position was to deny the appeal.

The city commission will vote on the appeal at its Aug. 14 meeting.

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