If the city council intends Thursday to reject an application for zoning variances sought by a developer wanting to build a condominium tower on the west end of Galveston’s seawall, it will need a better argument than the planning commission offered.

Commissioners voted earlier this month to recommend the council deny Houston-based Satya Inc.’s request for a planned unit development overlay for the 64-unit condominium project, 10327 Termini-San Luis Pass Road, on 2.86 acres adjacent to the Diamond Beach resort.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com​.

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(7) comments

Ron Shelby

Can a taller structure be serviced by the fire department in case of fire? Are the current ladder trucks adequate for the requested height? If not, then the developer needs to be charged an impact fee equal to the purchase of a new ladder truck to service the structure. Are there other service impacts it will have? Those need to be considered as well.

George Croix

Ron, the ladder truck we had and most others have now run about 100 to 110 feet high with ladder fully extended. Memory serving, the tallest one available right now is just short of 140.

Looking at 10 to 13 stories or so max with anything that could be bought now if the apparatus can get close enough to minimize angle.

Could make them longer reach, but then you have to be able to get around street corners, and the necessity for bigger outrigger systems increases the truck chassis size/weight and thus maneuverability and concerns about ground support under load.

The darn things flex like a stiff fishing rod when on them, and gotta be set up solid.

Susan Fennewald

Any time a "variance" is need, there doesn't need a reason to deny it, there needs to be a compelling reason to allow it. One reason to deny it - Galveston needs to start enforcing its rules. If you continually allow people to break the rules - then the rules have no meaning. There is no compelling reason to grant a "variance" - its just another condo - bigger than it should be. This particular project isn't near me, but maybe the next one that wants a big variance will be. Just say no.

Bill Broussard

Along the same line, each variance sets the expectation that the rules must be overlooked. I’ve watched developers for years shout at council that they have a right to a variance and will sue the city if not given one.

And that pure nonsense from planning insinuating that current height and density ordinances should be ignored in favor of Galveston goals determined by them…..of all the ridiculous letters accusing one group or another of fascism, I think we just had the real fascist group put it in print

Ron Shelby

Agreed. There needs to be a compelling reason, otherwise the original ordinance was a waste of time.

Bill Broussard

Btw. This building will be located at the fastest and most certain point of beach erosion anywhere on the sea wall

Chula Ross Sanchez

The current overlay for that site, the Height and Density Development Zone (HDDZ) contains built in variances for higher structures and more floor area ratio (FAR), with the stipulation that if the developer wants more, more, more then they must give, give, give back to the community. There is a list of public amenities they can choose from, ie, public parking, covered bus tops, public green space, etc etc. So. If you want a variance, within reason, the current rules provide for that, but the community gets something in return.

The developer says the waterfall in their garden is a public amenity. Not sure how that qualifies.

My point is, the current HDDZ overlay zone allows for much of what the developer wants. Why change it to A Planned Unit Development (PUD) ? Just play by the rules. Don’t send a message that Galveston is willing to give away the bank for nothing. The solution here is a hybrid compromise, not an All or Nothing Vote.

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