Disregard for the moment any particular project proposed in Galveston. It is worth noting that statements by city staff related to beaches or adjacent public easements anywhere on Galveston Island, to the effect that “staff is unaware of any municipal purpose or contemplated municipal use” of these resources, are either hopelessly uninformed or deliberately misleading.

There are at least five public planning documents adopted by the city in which such municipal purposes and uses are explicitly contemplated. A complete inventory of the elements and proposed actions recommending municipal purposes and uses of beaches, dunes, and adjacent public easements included in those planning documents would be too long to include here.

Before taking any action supported by such an ill-considered statement, Galveston City Council members should request and review that inventory. It would necessarily include substantial portions of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Erosion Response Plan, Beach Access Plan (i.e., Chapter 29 of the city’s Code of Ordinances), Hazard Mitigation Plan, Drainage Plan (i.e., both the 2003 Master Drainage Plan and Chapter 14 of the city’s Code of Ordinances), and Hurricane Ike Long-Term Community Recovery Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan and the current effort by a city contractor to consolidate the Beach Access and Erosion Response Plans provide an easy place to start. Potential city acquisitions of privately held beach front properties for hazard mitigation and improved public access are particularly noteworthy aspects of several of those documents, as noted in Elizabeth Beeton’s recent column (“City council should reconsider vote on Porretto Beach,” The Daily News, Jan. 23).

Despite the limited understanding or appreciation reflected in public statements from city staff members and even from planning commissioners for the current and contemplated municipal purposes and uses of beaches and adjacent public easements, those purposes and uses have been adopted and endorsed in official city planning documents many times over and should not be neglected in city council deliberations.

Kristopher Benson is a former member of the planning commission.

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(9) comments

Kelly Naschke

Why write the 500 word essay when you could have just as easily said, “it’s ok for a municipality to trample private property rights”. The equivalent of which is trampling our constitution.

Jim Forsythe

Does your statement include ,Before taking any action supported by such an ill-considered statement, Galveston City Council members should request and review that inventory. It would necessarily include substantial portions of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Erosion Response Plan, Beach Access Plan (i.e., Chapter 29 of the city’s Code of Ordinances), Hazard Mitigation Plan, Drainage Plan (i.e., both the 2003 Master Drainage Plan and Chapter 14 of the city’s Code of Ordinances), and Hurricane Ike Long-Term Community Recovery Plan. .

Jeff Patterson

"Protecting property rights" is important, but remember that mantra is what has gotten the National Flood Insurance Program $20+ billion in debt...........building anything anywhere is not necessarily good public policy.

Don Schlessinger

Thank you Mr. Benson for your information. I wonder if the Mayor and City Manager would like to let the voting residents know if all the points of your inventory points were considered.

Kristopher Benson

The type of acquisitions that are contemplated in city planning documents and to which my column referred are all voluntary and subject to participation by willing sellers. Private property rights are not affected by such arms-length transactions.

Bill Broussard

Thank you Khris. Of course, Kelly (Frank Maceo) Nashke is about as ignorant as God made and is likely to turn anything into an affront on the Constitution while pretending he's even read it.

You are correct and you politely speak to the abject corruption in our City Staff. They pretty much find a way- each issue- to re-word what Mayor Jim asks them to say and not much they do is actually in the resident’s interest. I am really getting disgusted with the City: Not because the receive incredible salaries or have proliferated like Rabbits but because they lie publicly all the time and generally do not consider the residents in their decisions. This debacle is just the most recent of many. I refer you to the collusion the City gave HOA’s in my editorial of last week.

This is not over yet. As you well remember, the tax gluttons and City hall also passed Marquette a few years back. Immediately, Marquette started taking them to the cleaners on taxes. When we sued the Corps of engineers, the ACOE refused to permit Marquette on the Bay side even though they submitted plans at least three times. Fortunately for us, Marquette realized their mistake and after bankruptcy, paid a grant writer to write the grants that ended up in Artist Boat preserving that land for the use of children so young folks will always have use of what the Island looked like when we grew up.

The fact that Marquette got enough off the sale to retire their entire debt and the children got the wildlife and fishing they deserve should be enough justice to satisfy even Nashke ( Maceo). But the humorous part of the entire saga is that the City got NOTHING from that land. In my view, the City got exactly what they deserved.

This has still to go to the ACOE and recall, the ACOE is the group that will be responsible for spending and building whatever high water mitigation device connection to the seawall that they decide to build with the over 90 Billion soon to be passed through Congress for mitigation after Harvey. I would say that the entire responsibly for tidal surge protection put the ACOE permit of this structure in a very vulnerable position. Just one law suite……….and the City gets nothing again.

Kristopher Benson

Bill, a couple of clarifications: Marquette never went into bankruptcy, but they came close to foreclosure and entered into partnership with the GLO to avoid it. They also never paid for Artist Boat’s grant-writers, those costs have been borne entirely by Artist Boat and its supporters. They have participated as a willing seller in several transactions to preserve (so far) about half of the land included in their original planned development. I don’t believe either Marquette or Artist Boat consider the work to be done there; Marquette originally invested over $30M, which has not been recouped, and Artist Boat is interested in seeing the remainder over the land conserved. I disagree that the city gets nothing from its conservation. The city benefits more from the hazard mitigation, improved access, and increased proximate property values provided by the conservation of the site than it would from the planned development.

Bill Broussard

Kris: Thanks for the fact check. I didn't know AB funded the grant writers. Wonderful and good for them!
I am in total agreement with you about the City's benefit. When I said what I said about the City getting nothing, I was referencing what the City Administration said what was of value, not what is of real value to most of us who live here.

Kelly Naschke

When Bill has to resort to insults and personal attacks, it pretty clear that he can’t articulate a substantive reply. That’s all he had....an insult. Fact of the matter is that him and his boy Ralphy are consistentently on the losing side of most issues. Ralph’s failed reelection must really be driving you crazy, huh Bill? I would also expect more decorum and civility from both Bill and the GDN.

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