Galveston City Council today is slated to vote on an special taxing agreement for a luxury home development that’s drawn controversy and is the subject of a lawsuit against the city’s redevelopment authority.
In January, the redevelopment authority and reinvestment zone boards voted to approve a second amended agreement on its contract with the developer of Beachtown on the island’s East End.
The new agreement between the Galveston Island Redevelopment Authority and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 13 changes little from the 2014 plan that prompted the lawsuit.
Elizabeth Beeton, one of three residents who challenged the redevelopment authority over the agreement in a 2016 lawsuit, said the move was intended to moot the lawsuit.
Kevin Walsh, a board member of the Texas Increment Reinvestment Zone 13, in January voted against the second amended agreement, citing similar concerns.
The lawsuit claims the authority violated open meetings laws when it approved a 2014 agreement that significantly changed parts of the deal without proper public notice and input. The chairman of the redevelopment authority, Jim Ware, has denied that assertion.
The city is scheduled to vote today whether to adopt a second amended agreement the redevelopment authority approved in January.
“Now they’re taking it to council and they’re asking city council to bless that amended development,” Beeton said.
Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough could not be reached Wednesday.
Beachtown is being developed in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 13. A tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, is a special tax zone designed to spur development in an area.
In one of these zones, developers build public improvements such as streets and drainage and are reimbursed by an increase in property taxes generated by the development.
The city continues to receive the amount of tax revenue generated before the new development, while taxes on the new development values are used to pay for improvements.