By Gaige Davila
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wants to incorporate Boca Chica Village, into a new city named Starbase, Texas.
Musk alluded to the incorporation inquiry on his Twitter account this week, just before SpaceX’s SN10 rocket launched and landed upright on Mar. 3. The rocket exploded on its launch pad minutes after landing.
A press release from the Office of Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. states that SpaceX officially approached Cameron County about incorporating Boca Chica Village into their Boca Chica Beach facility, which sits two miles west of the community. On Mar. 2, the Cameron County Commissioners Court was notified of the incorporation inquiry.
“If SpaceX and Elon Musk would like to pursue down this path, they must abide by all state incorporation statutes, Cameron County will process any appropriate petitions in conformity with applicable law,” Treviño said in the press release.
Musk, in a Twitter post, said the area would be “much larger than Boca Chica.”
SpaceX’s Boca Chica Beach facility’s presence in Boca Chica Village residents’ lives has been well documented, with several homes in the small community being bought by SpaceX, attempting to expand the site by pushing residents out. Several homeowners took the money, with most leaving by last March, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.
In August, a job posting from SpaceX looking for a “Resort Development Manager” revealed the company’s intent to develop the facility into a luxury resort or, as quoted in the job posting, a “21st century Spaceport.”
Last October SpaceX’s Senior Director of Finance David Finlay made a final offer to residents still holding onto their homes, VICE reported last year.
“As the scale and frequency of spaceflight activities at the site continue to accelerate, your property will frequently fall within established hazard zones in which no civilians will be permitted to remain, in order to comply with all federal and other public safety regulations,” Finlay wrote in an email obtained by VICE to residents. Some residents still didn’t accept the offer.
There are around 9 residents still in Boca Chica Village, according to Maria Pointer, who, after SpaceX purchased her home, moved to Long Island Village in Port Isabel. She now rents a property in Boca Chica Village to continue documenting SpaceX’s testing and launches.
Pointer says SpaceX’s plans to incorporate Boca Chica Village may be a way for Cameron County to absolve their responsibility of the town and its residents.
“I think Elon (Musk) is now giving (Cameron County) the out to clear out the last of the holdouts,” Pointer said. “In a way it’s a win-win (for the county and SpaceX), except for the people that didn’t want to move on to begin with.”
Pointer said she was worried that eminent domain, where the federal government can seize private property with payment of compensation, was possible after the Federal Aviation Administration began investigating SpaceX’s SN9 rocket launch. With the possibility of SpaceX incorporating Boca Chica Village present, Pointer knows that one day she may not recognize Boca Chica Village as it once was.
“This really hit home to me when I heard Elon (Musk) announce that,” Pointer said. “It was like the final nail in my coffin. So, I was really saying goodbye last night to some of my fondest memories of Boca Chica.”
Still, Pointer said, they are happy to still be documenting SpaceX’s progress, regardless of how much stress the company has caused them. She does not know how long they will be in Boca Chica Village for now, knowing only that she will eventually not be there.
As of press time, there is no timeline for when SpaceX will formerly begin incorporating Boca Chica Village.
Editor’s note: Preview photo by Maria Pointer, previously submitted to the PRESS.