(17) comments Back to story

Ron Binkley

I feel sorry for the Appraiser that is assigned this appraisal. Where do you find comparable sales for a private beach in a state that has very little private beaches? How do you make the adjustments?

Kelly Naschke

Congrats to the council members that voted with legal ethic. Shame on everyone else that voted with emotion and tried to stop this initiative based solely on their own ideology that was contrary to ethic legality.

Steve Fouga

Leroy, I doubt ethics had anything to do with the vote. This is a pro-development Council, and I think they want to see Poretto developed. That's my take.

Kelly Naschke

Regardless of your "take" Steve, they followed the letter of the law. That's what I expect out of council. And what's wrong with development? The entire island was elevated and a seawall built over 100 years ago. Galveston wouldn't even be here without forward thInking "developers". This island is rooted in development from its very inception. Had Elizabeth Beeton been alive in those days....there wouldn't even be a a Galveston. If these preservationist are so enthralled by undeveloped beaches...why did they move to Galveston and not some deserted outpost on the Texas coast where you don't see development for literally hundreds of miles????

Steve Fouga

Are you lecturing me, Leroy? I think the Council used the "letter of the law" as an excuse to vote for what they wanted anyway.

I'm not anti-development or pro. Development should be addressed case-by-case. I hope the developer puts something I can use on Poretto Beach. 😎

Jarvis Buckley

Very emotional issue. Council voted correctly I believe. Time will tell .

Bill Cochrane

Ron, determining the value of the rights of ways that were abandoned by the city should be a simple, easy and quick deduction. The appraiser should use the criteria used by the city to decide if it should be abandoned.
The rights of way appear to be worthless to the City as stated by the City Manager.-
"The city owns the rights of way but has never intended to use them. The city’s position that it has no intention to use the rights away is usually enough reason to agree to abandon them”, City Manager Brian Maxwell said.
If the rights of way are worthless, and the City Council voted, and the majority agreed that they are worthless, the answer is they should be abandoned. At no cost to anyone. No value = no charge.

Ron Shelby

Another property taxed at a value of $6 million would be nice for the roles.

Charlotte O'rourke

No one should be embarrassed by their vote or accused of impropriety.

Galveston citizens love beaches, and is one of the reasons we live here.

I would have voted for abandonment even though I personally prefer a natural looking beach. I would have voted that way because I don’t own the property, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the property was private property, and the city has no intention of using the rights of ways.

I also believe the rights of way were abandoned previously and the city was most likely at fault for not filing the paperwork as even the ORDINANCE was not filed appropriately in the records.

A preference for a natural looking beach does not mean a neglected beach, eyesore or place for junk. A natural beach is not a world class beach if it is a giant parking lot with cars dripping stuff on the sand.

Anyone interested in collecting funds to help the public beaches we already own ... I would volunteer to help with time and/or money. My time is more plentiful than my money, but I am still willing to give what I can.

Stewart Beach currently has a drainage issue with an estimated price tag of $6 million dollars. It also needs a new Pavilion. Beach maintenance is costly but worth the price.

Erosion and subsidence are real problems, but it is a greater issue on the west end and shouldn’t be used as an excuse to stop development on private property on the east end where the beach is actually growing.

I think the city made the right legal call, and each council member regardless of their vote did an admirable job of listening to the public and then voting on a complex and controversial issue.

Kelly Naschke

Well stated Charlotte.

Bill Broussard

She was talking to you and your comment, Leroy.

Bill Broussard

"I think the city made the right legal call, and each council member regardless of their vote did an admirable job of listening to the public and then voting on a complex and controversial issue." I watched this and I would say that the Council sat through the public comment but most did not listen. When a council member says they cannot see anything that was in the public interest with the public sitting right in front of them and having spoken for an hour, there is something just a bit off in that comment. not that his vote would have changed I'm sure but the comment was twenty degrees off of the reality in the Chamber and signaled that the council member might have kept quite but did not listen.

My bet: This is not over. I would not be surprised if the buyer canceled the contract at this point. Comments by the trustee suggests they are expecting the same. It will then go to auction and folks who don't want a dollar store there will have the chance to buy. We shall see as this plays out in the free market.

Wylie Evans

In real estate their is the rule of Highest and Best Use. With the City owning the ROW makes the property remainder useless for future development. ...Let the ROW go and then the City and widen the tax base and Gods only knows the Planning and Zoning Board can ramp up on the new property owner being OCD control freaks as they are.

Bill Broussard

I have to say I've listened to all of this about property rights, windfall taxes, beach private property for weeks now.

Here is a Historical Fact: Exactly the same thing was done with Marquette. A slimey developer came down from Chicago and pitched a tax windfall to the Council. The Council was warned by over 200 citizens that night that this was destructive to Galveston and to the West End in particular but all Steve and Lyda Ann could see were tax dollar signs. The decision that night joined a long list of council decisions where residents were treated as children that didn't know enough to be on the Mayors council or have any substance to their conversation. Council knew best.

Within three weeks of the vote, Marquette let Steve announce the $1MM dollar windfall in taxes due to the City and ran to Galveston County and filed an Ag. Exemption on the land giving Galveston essentially nothing and never telling their "partner" the City it was happening until it was a done deal with the County. Steve looked baffled and just a bit stupid when it hit the press.

Marquette then tried to float three different proposals past the ACOE and was turned down on each and every one. Finally, they bought a grant writer and placed them in Artis Boat to get Federal and State money to buy the land back from them...after declaring bankruptcy. Much to Artist boats credit they pulled it off and the land will be used for children's education and never pay the taxes the city promised.

The only part of the Marquette windfall that might be realized is in itself a disgrace. After five years and having the SUP granted by the City run out of time, they went back to the Planning Commission to secure an extension on what remained of their grand scheme. Then, a few months later, they spun the beach side property not to a hotel like they promised but to the Chairman of the Planning Commission who had just voted for an SUP extension. You could not have a more public display of council stupidity plus good old Galveston graph. In the end, the Planning Commissioner will get a little bit more wealthy but Galveston has never gotten--never will get-- the boost our City Manager said we would, residents proved to be not that stupid after all and everyone on this Council has not learned a single thing about anything it would seem. Next move: Developer cancels the contract that drove this whole mess and goes to auction for a lower price.

Paul Sivon

A perverse view of property rights emerged from the Council meeting. The City Council's vote to cede the City's assets and rights did not protect the current owner's right to develop; they have no plans to develop, just to sell. Instead, the process was a mechanism to increase and imply an increased market value of the land for the seller and to leverage the release of the easements under the guise of avoiding a "take". Until a development by the actual property owner (not the straw-man hypothetical owner) and development is defined, how does a City Manager know the easements will not be needed?

Bill Broussard

I have to stand with Paul on this. I don't have trouble accepting the decision because I don't think this is the last we've heard of it. I have trouble with the way the decision was pitched, the conduct of City Council and of City Management getting to the decision and the way in which council members demeaned the actual functional intelligence of residents once again while betraying their own lack of study or thought to the issue.

Council commentary is supposed to be thoughtful, educated and well thought through. instead we get our elected officials using the chair as a pulpit to talk down to the very people that voted for them with obvious irrelevant information and disregard for the people who "brung em". Long before Galveston was awash in sales tax money or Park Board fees and city officials were bringing in excess of $150,000.00 a year in salary, some of us paid our taxes throughout the down times and I would think council members might remember that. Their bonds are on our credit card and not just this recent bond, but the one Lyda Ann took on without a public vote to pay off the Sullivan's for Evia.

What about a Mayor who gave his wife $250,000.00 of IDC funds so she could take State Representatives and wealthy citizens on a boondoggle to The Netherlands so they could come back and tell tales of the wondrous whore houses they saw while there.

Never mind future windfalls for a moment, how bout the people who have lived and provided sustenance to this Island years before any Beachtown debacle or slimey developers came to extract Houston wealth. One would think those who paid the real bills-- and have for years-- might be extended some courtesy other than deception, false theories of the law and a glaring disrespect for us. One would think.....

Charlotte O'rourke

I think Council did listen to the public, but the public had differing views. We don’t live in a democracy where everything is by ballot or referendum. We live in a republic or representational democracy if you prefer .... which is impossible to tell the actual percentage of people for or against an idea without going to the ballot box. Many people are silent or don’t express their views in public and they may in actuality be the majority.

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