While they didn’t take a vote, city council members Wednesday revised their comments on a proposed coastal barrier plan to emphasize a need for more bayside protection and different surge protection options for the West End.
Concluding a lengthy workshop session, the council requested more information and more options from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a proposed plan to protect the upper Gulf Coast from coastal surge.
The council objected to the idea of a barrier running north of FM 3005, citing wide opposition to that plan among West End residents.
“They absolutely do not want it on 3005 or north of 3005,” District 6 Councilwoman Jackie Cole, who represents the West End, said. “Nobody wants it there.”
The city council also discussed at length the necessity of bayside protection, while rejecting the corps’ proposed levee system.
The corps needs to look at what’s best for Galveston, in addition to what protects the region, District 5 Councilman John Paul Listowski said.
“An 18-foot wall going down the middle of the town might not be the best thing for the town,” Listowski said.
All council members, however, agreed protection from flooding on the island’s north side couldn’t be ignored.
“I don’t want to let them off the hook for bayside surge protection,” District 3 Councilman David Collins, who represents the downtown area, said.
The council backed away from proposing specific changes or recommendations, and instead advocated for more studies and more cost-benefit analyses.
“We need to get away from specific recommendations,” Cole said. “That’s not our business.”
Mayor Jim Yarbrough left the meeting before discussion of the coastal barrier began.
The comments discussed Wednesday took into account a Jan. 3 public meeting during which islanders voiced concern that the plan would compromise the integrity of neighborhoods.
The council decided to take advantage of an extended public comment period to review and vote on final recommendations Jan. 24.
The Texas General Land Office and the corps on Tuesday confirmed the public comment period had been extended to Feb. 8.