Beach goers say construction violates state law

Just past Beach Access 6 on South Padre Island, are giant billboards advertising land for sale.

Cameron County Parks Director Javier Mendez said the county is hoping the land sells and is developed.

He said it would benefit the county TMs general fund, due to the additional ad-valorem taxes.

I think we're going to see a big boom in development because of the second causeway, whether it's private or commercial," Mendez said.

The county issued a permit for construction of a fence for Seabreeze Estates to begin, Mendez said. The developer TMs plan is to build his home, plus five others to sell, and a retaining wall to protect the development.

However, Rob Nixon, president of the Surf Rider's Foundation South Texas Chapter, said this development is in violation of Texas General Land Office regulations.

"We believe as the state does, that the retaining wall that Seabreeze Estates is building is illegal, Nixon said.You're not supposed to have a retaining wall within 200 feet of the line of vegetation and that wall is well within that - about 20 feet back from the line of vegetation."

The GLO sets rules about how far developers can build from the ocean, in order to protect public beaches. The rule is 200 feet from the point of high tide, or the line of vegetation - is to be left undeveloped.

Mendez said the project has been put on hold after the GLO informed the developer he couldn TMt build a road out of asphalt or concrete and could not build a retaining wall or pools.

Mendez said county commissioners will have to decide next week if they will abide by the GLO ruling or let the developer continue, and face the consequences.

Nixon said beachgoers and the county stand to lose too much, including decertification of their beach and dune protection plan.

"(That) would mean that they would no longer be able to take beach user fees at the county parks, which would hurt the county parks quite a bit, Nixon said, and they would no longer be able to grant dune construction."

Commissioners will decide on this issue, during a meeting Feb. 14.