Planning Commission nixes Porretto Beach abandonments

Galveston Planning Commission Vice Chairman John Dreiss, from left, Chairman Bruce Reinhart and Commissioner Lisa Blair vote in favor of abandoning the rights of way on Porretto Beach on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, during a meeting at City Hall. The three were outvoted 4-3 and the issue will go to Galveston City Council at the end of the month.

As a Galveston planning commissioner, I take issue with the notion that I ignored the rules ("The Galveston Planning Commission ignored the rules," The Daily News, Jan. 11).

Rather, I feel that I followed both the letter and spirit of the rules. As stated by City Attorney Don Glywasky, the test for abandonment is two-pronged. Both parts must be answered appropriately for approval of abandonment. Part one, does the abandonment impede the traveling public and does the public have use for the land?

The Planning Department did their job thoroughly in reaching a conclusion on this part. The public is not impeded, nor do they have a current use for the land. Part one goes for abandonment. Part two, does abandonment have a community benefit?

My judgment here did not consider the proposed development, which the applicant chose to include as a 24-page attachment to his application and the focus of his public comments. It is his strategy to make this a referendum on development. Galveston is tourist-driven in revenue. Selling a beach asset, 5.5 acres worth an estimated $3 million, requires thoughtful deliberation. I feel that our beach-dependent community should retain ownership of beach interests. Therefore, part two of the test is answered no. The test for abandonment fails.

Jeffrey Hill

Galveston

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(1) comment

Don Schlessinger

Well said Mr. Hill. Thank you for your comments, and thank you for your vote to save our beaches.

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