By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The Cameron County Commissioners Court voted unanimously in their Nov. 1 meeting to move forward with plans to renovate E.K. Atwood Park, also known as Beach Access 5, on the north side of South Padre Island. The decision wasn’t without some public opposition, however, as some worried the plans are contrary to the County’s proposed Erosion Response Plan (ERP).
The County has been working on its ERP since the latter half of 2015 after a state mandate required all Texas coastal counties to have approved plans in place in order to remain eligible for federal funds in the event of a natural disaster. The County hired PAR Consulting, fronted by Peter Ravella, to research and design the plan, which will is up for approval by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). The County also appointed Ravella as its consultant for the E.K. Atwood redesign.
Under the contents of the ERP is guidance for dune protection, shoreline management, and guidelines for future development on South Padre Island, including building setback lines. As proposed in the plan earlier this year, the dune setback line is 300 feet from mean high water (MHW), meaning any construction along the beach would have to lie behind that line.
The E.K. Atwood Park plans call for a large public pavilion to be built closer to the surf than the proposed plan would seem to allow, a fact brought to the attention by South Padre Island resident and developer Doyle Wells.
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