SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
THE PORT ISABEL PRESS
Discussion regarding South Padre Island’s designated color palette for buildings dominated the SPI City Council meeting on Sept. 21. After lengthy discussion, Council approved motion to have the City’s Development Standards Review Task Force reexamine the Island’s designated color palette in the Form Based Code. SPI Development Director Dr. Sungman Kim provided a slide presentation showing the existing color palette adopted by the City in August of 2014. Balancing the rights of building owners to choose what color they want to paint their buildings, while promoting the use of colors that give the Island a tropical look represented the two sides of the debate.
“We actually widened the choices,” stated Dr. Kim referring to the 2014 amendment. He cited the fact that the City was getting many requests for variances related to building colors back then as a reason why it was addressed.
“We wanted businesses to have a lot of options as far as colors. We don’t want to restrict those colors, and yet being a coastal community we wanted, I believe, we wanted lighter coastal colors,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Alita Bagley. She further added that the amendment has allowed for dark colors of a business, as opposed to being limited use as accent colors.
“When it gets flipped around, and the accent color becomes the entire building, it looks a little less tropical and beachy,’ added Council Member Theresa Metty.
“The last time that we looked at this we had a workshop and I think it would be good to do that again if we’re going to change the color scheme and get some input from the community,” stated Council Member Alex Avalos. “We need the input of the people that we are going to be putting this on,” he argued.
The issue also raised as to why the Development Standards Review Task Force took no action and made no recommendation to Council after viewing Dr. Kim’s presentation regarding the color palette back in June. Kimberly Dollar responded on behalf of the Task Force. “It was brought to us as ’do we want to change the color palette?’ We were not asked to address value (for accent and body colors),” she explained. The issue will head back to the Task Force for further review.
In other action, council approved a motion to direct the Parks, Recreation, and Beautification Committee to work with the SPI Birding and Nature Center to administer the National Wildlife Federation Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. The pledge calls for cities and municipalities to commit to creating and restoring monarch butterfly habitats in their communities. Javier Gonzalez, naturalist at the Center, addressed council in support of the program. He stated that the monarch is one of the most iconic and symbolic species ibn nature and how it is important, now more than ever, to help protect their species.
“I feel that by signing the Monarch Pledge the City of SPI would be doing something very, very important,” said Gonzalez. He emphasized that the RGV serves as a major stopover in their migration. “In mid-October it’s spectacular sight out here on the dunes. You can see hundreds if not thousands of monarchs migrating through the coast,” he added. In another butterfly related item, council voted to approve a Beach-Dune permit for the construction of a gazebo structure for an Eagle Scout project in the SPI Butterfly Garden.
Council also voted to reject the lone submitted bid for the Queen Isabella Causeway boardwalk repairs, and to reissue the call for bids. In the agenda item background Shoreline Management Director Patrick Barineau stated, “the bid was determined to be too costly and Shoreline staff would like to work with the design engineers to generate a call for bids that will attract more proposals at a lower cost.”
In other action council approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 16-20 vacating and closing a portion of West Whiting Street and authorizing the transfer of the property to the abutting property owner. City Manager Darla Jones stated that the property appraised for $85,000. Later in the meeting, Jones also provided an update on the City’s customer service improvement initiative. She has appointed a Customer Service Committee of employees that meets monthly to address the issue. Said Jones, “We’re trying to impress upon our employees the need for improved internal and external customer service.”
By Kevin Rich