BY CHRISTINA R. GARZA
The South Padre Island City Council on Wednesday held a public hearing to discuss comprehensive parking solutions.
Staff Attorney Scottie Aplin of the Texas General Land Office (GLO) presented an overview of the Texas Open Beaches Act. The act requires local governments to establish laws to protect the public’s beach access rights.
Jason Pinchback, Director of Coastal Resources for the GLO, said the role of the GLO is to assist South Padre Island in executing a solution that integrates with the Dune Protection Act and Open Beaches Act.
Public Works Director Marcy Newman then presented a review of paid parking options, including: park-n-pay kiosks, parking meters and vehicle registration.
Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation Rob Nixon urged the Council to take comprehensive action to add additional parking and beach access points.
“We should consider the whole Island and expand parking outside of Gulf Boulevard. We need to provide parking and beach access opportunities off of Gulf Boulevard as far as the southern part of the Island.” Nixon said.
Nixon also advised the Council to explore funding options like the Rebello Consulting Firm financing options to use existing revenue streams and working with Cameron County to receive a rebate on county taxes.
“I don’t think it’s unfair for them (Cameron County) to rebate five percent to reinvest in the economic engine that is giving them so much money every year,” Nixon said.
Islander Tara Rios said the parking situation has reached capacity. Rios noted that over the Fourth of July holiday, residential areas were besieged with overflowing parking.
“Gulf Boulevard cannot handle to the demands of parking. Without infrastructure the small strip of land cannot handle that,” Rios said.
Resident Sandy Boswell said she is concerned for the safety of children and pedestrians on Gulf Boulevard. Boswell agreed with other speakers who said overnight parking on public beach accesses should be eliminated.