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Fact Check: Vacant Mount Carmel nursing home site can’t be rezoned into detention center

Posted: 6:30 PM, Jan 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-02 20:45:48-05

A zoning request to redevelop six acres of a vacant nursing home site would not allow a private detention facility.

That’s according to information from the City of Corpus Christi.

Neighbors who live near the old Mount Carmel nursing home on South Alameda Street near Everhart Road are concerned the vacant building could be turned into a detention facility for migrant children.

But the zoning rules would not allow for it, according to a statement from the City’s Development Services.

The application stated that the interest in the property has ranged from grocery, convenience store, fast food, boutique hotel, apartments, etc. The applicant proposed a CN-1 to make the property more marketable. The uses permitted in CN-1 include multifamily, office, retail, medical, hotels, orphanages, hospice, assisted living, nursing homes, and government facility. A private detention facility falls under social service use and is not permitted in CN-1.”     

For years – the Carmelite Sisters, a group of Catholic nuns, operated the Mount Carmel Home as an assisted living facility for the elderly. The facility closed in July 2017.

It’s now for sale.

Last month, the Corpus Christi Planning Commission approved a zoning request for the property to change from a single-family residential zoning district to a neighborhood commercial use.

Part of the reason the owners want the zoning change is so the property is more marketable, said Mark Adame, the sisters’ real estate agent.

The nursing home existed before the city adopted zoning regulations. And once it closed, the use is no longer allowed nor is any other commercial use, according to the existing zoning rules. That’s the reason for the zoning request, Adame said.

The property is on the corner of South Alameda Street and Everhart Road, and adjacent to the Town and Country Shopping Center.

It also backs up to two residential neighborhoods – Lamar Park and Junior Terrace. Neighbors in the area  have concerns about what it could become.

“The thought of a detention center across the street from such a stable part of the city was disturbing to me,” said Darrin Aldrich.

That information has not been confirmed.

KRIS 6 News contacted the Texas Health And Human Services Commission, which handles the permits and licensing housing children similar to what neighbors have described. A state spokesperson said there is no application on file for that property or from a company with plans to build or expand residential services at that location.

Aldrich said he’s asked the zoning request to be postponed until there is a plan for the property’s use.

In the end, neighbors like Aldrich said they just want to know what will happen with the vacant building.

“We’re not opposed by any means,” he said. “Just be transparent.”

Neighbors in the Junior Terrace subdivision had more pressing concerns about the property being vacant.

Recently, they’ve seen people who appeared to be homeless camping on the grounds. Police have helped keep those people from breaking into the building, one neighbor said.

Up until about a week ago, there was an interested buyer, Adame said. He declined to disclose the name of the interested buyer because of confidentiality, but he said that buyer has since backed out because of growing concerns from neighbors.

The City Council is expected to take up the zoning request on Jan. 15 during its regularly scheduled meeting.