I’m flabbergasted. After 71 years in this town, it takes a lot to get that reaction.
In August 2018, the Pirates Property Owners Association replaced the dunes lost in Hurricane Harvey on Buccaneer Boulevard. That’s normal, except they replaced them in such a way as to block all beach access on a road that’s frequently used by other property owners and the public. The city of Galveston responded diligently, and made them take the new dunes down. Beach access was restored at the end of Buccaneer.
Since that time, I’ve requested beach access be made for the disabled on Buccaneer. Because the owners association said “no way,” I requested the same from the city of Galveston and the Texas General Land Office, and the land office ordered it to be done.
The reason of why there and not another access point is simple. Slow golf carts carrying the disabled can cross FM 3005 at 12-mile Road under functional traffic lights safely. Absent that, the disabled must drive down one of two major traffic routes, crossing at 13-mile Road with no traffic management. FM 3005 mimics Seawall Boulevard in traffic count and such a crossing could be lethal. The city seems to think that reasonable as does the land office.
Since August of 2018, the owners association has ordered this disability access closed on three separate occasions and taken the shuttering into their own hands. Once with sand dunes. Once with bollards that just aren’t wide enough and most recently, by driving a second row of bollards behind the first row at any gap where a disabled cart can pass.
In the first two incidents, the city intervened and opened up the disabled access. I suspect they will again this time, but each time it takes manpower and money from our operating funds without compensation to my knowledge.
The owners association thinks it’s acceptable to ban the most vulnerable segment of our population from “their” beach while deliberately defying both the state and the city.
Such defiance is just stupid. Here’s why: The West End can no longer clean seaweed from their beaches. When they had a sub-license from the Park Board, a couple of West-End homeowner association’s exhibited the same kind of arrogance seen here and cleaned their beaches well beyond the rules. The Park Board was wise not to sub-license any longer. The liability to our city was large.
Every few years, the land office donates large amounts of money (in the multi-millions) to beach building through the Park Board. If they continue to have to put up with what Fredrick Neitzsche called “an infantile will to power” on our West End, the land office would be justified in getting out of the Galveston business.
I’m sure the city will clean this latest tantrum up again, but the city should start fining the homeowner associations that simply will not obey the law. At least then, people like the Pirates Property Owners Association will have to start reporting the fines at homeowner meetings. I’m pretty sure the reaction will not be gracious.