Special to the PRESS
The northern Cameron County Beaches of South Padre Island are open for development and the state required Erosion Response Plan (ERP) is in the process of being worked out with an emphasis on public input. This public input should include Cameron County Commissioners and other Decision Makers, South Padre Island City Council Members and other Decision Makers, the Public Beach User and the Property Owners and Real Estate Agents that represent them. The first Public Hearing was an informative session on what the ERP is required to be by the state. It was pretty well attended with great information on how our barrier island and the beaches work in that area. Now comes the next step in the process.
The second Public Forum will be held next Tuesday, December 15th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cameron County Commissioners’ Courtroom in the Dancy Building located at 1100 E. Monroe St. in Brownsville.
What is the focus of this second meeting? According to Peter Ravella of PAR Consulting who was hired to develop this new ERP, the focus will be building setbacks, building prohibition zones and where the seaward baseline of these setbacks will be. In my opinion from a Surfrider Foundation and Public Beach User point of view that wants to protect and preserve the public beach and reduce public expenditure on protecting the future development of the beaches north of the City of South Padre Island, this is the most important meeting a concerned Citizen, Property Owner or Public Beach User could attend aside from the meeting in February where the draft of the Erosion Response Plan will be presented.
Within the City of South Padre Island, we have an erosion hotspot that is eroding at 3-5 feet annually and has to be constantly maintained with a desire by the City to do beach renourishment every other year at the very least. The Cameron County Beaches up north are eroding at up to five times that rate making beach renourishment a very expensive and daunting task for the County. With this in mind, it is imperative to myself and the Surfrider Foundation that the core of the ERP contain responsible and enforceable building setback lines to allow for the preservation of the Public Beach, the Dune Line and give the County enough time to save money in order to maintain their beaches. Without a set building setback line, the county would be in immediate financial peril where they would have to start defending development and be forced to look at very expensive beach killing armoring solutions like groins, jetties and seawalls.
Please join myself, the Surfrider Foundation and other Locals and concerned Residents on December 15 and listen to the new building setback proposals and comment on them. This is your chance to be a part of the process. Once the ERP is submitted and implemented by the Texas General land Office, it will be very difficult to implement change. You can get more information at www.cameroncountyerp.com! See y’all in Brownsville on Tuesday!
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