Island construction approved despite state's opposition

Construction on South Padre Island

Despite several South Padre Island residents and other beachgoers speaking out in opposition to the Seabreeze Estates construction project, on the north side of the Island, Cameron County Commissioners approved a variance permit to allow construction.

Judge Carlos Cascos said the permit was granted, subject to the General Land Office TMs approval of the county TMs dune protection plan. They submitted the plan last fall.

Just past Beach Access 6, those opposed to the project by landowner Larry Polosky violates state regulations.

State law does not allow construction within 200 feet from the point of vegetation on a beach, in order to preserve public beaches.

Rob Nixon, president of the Surf Rider Foundation South Texas Chapter, said the decision should TMve been easy for commissioners, and they shouldn TMt have approved the variance permit.

The beaches within the city limits of South Padre Island vary greatly from the Cameron County beaches, Nixon said. The plain disparity is that Cameron County beaches are eroding approximately 12 feet a year, which is up to four times more rapidly than city beaches."

However, Polosky's team argues that construction within city limits on the Island has not followed state guidelines when it comes to the line of vegetation on many occasions, and the state has still granted permits for construction.

They said not allowing developers on county property to do the same, is discrimination. They add that putting the restrictions the state wants would devalue the construction projects, which would translate to the loss of millions of property taxes for the county.

Furthermore, they claim second causeway will not be a success without commercial development. "Those tolls have to be collected, but before people are willing to pay the tolls they have to have a reason to get (to the Island), Herb Houston said.

They're not building that second causeway for just what's there in the City of South Padre Island and I can tell you David Allex and Pete Sepulveda are selling the idea to potential investors, that you TMre going to see the same development north as you do in the south."

But according to Mary Helen Flores with Friends of Isla Blanca. The county is constantly getting caught-up in lawsuits due to poor decision making. She notes the three year lawsuit involving over the debate of private development on Isla Blanca Park. Flores said allowing this construction is a mistake.

"Please don TMt resort to illegal beach development in order to make a quick buck, Flores said. Instead, demand the county's beach park system be managed as the treasure that it is, stop turning a blind eye to the chronic mismanagement."

The state has filed an injunction suit on Polosky.