Parking and safety issues related to White Sands Street dominated the discussions at the Aug 17 South Padre Island City Council meeting.
SPI Mayor Berry Patel put forth an agenda item to approve the first reading of Ordinance 16-17, establishing a no parking zone on the south side of White Sands Street east of padre Boulevard. Patel cited previous discussions with residents of the Tiki Condominiums in which concerns were voiced about the parking situation on that street. “We need to come to some kind of plan to make that street indeed a good beach access,” stated Patel.
Stormy Wall, Island resident and General Manager of the Tiki, spoke on behalf of the condominiums owners. He described the issues faced by residents there each weekend. “It’s turned into a parking lot from beach to boulevard,” stated Wall. He emphasized that the street is used by residents and guests of the 144 Tiki Condominiums, as well as the guests at the Holiday Inn, as their access to walk to the beach, creating a dangerous situation with families carrying beach supplies, with children in tow, having to navigate down the middle of the street, through the sea of cars trying to park on the street.
Wall went on to describe the parking problems his guests and owners encounter. “I tow people on my side of the street every weekend because I have limited parking for my guests and owners and they get bumped out of their parking spots by people going to the beach.” Additionally, several White Sands Street residents stepped forward to voice their concerns to Council to reiterate the dangerous situation that exists there to related to parking, traffic, and problems created by beach goers. The Council responded to their call for action by proving the first reading of the ordinance establishing the no parking zone on the south side of White Sands Street.
In a spate agenda item related to White Sands Street, Council approved a motion to direct City staff to come up with a conceptual drawing and estimates for engineering for making improvements to White Sands Street by adding landscaping and a wide walking /bike lane on the south side of the street. “I think it’s a good idea to have an organized way where people can actually walk to the beach,” stated Patel. He mentioned adding a walking path, a shower, and a gate restricting vehicle access to the beach at that location. He further stated that the plan would need to please the Shoreline Task Force as well as property owners on White Sands.
Next up on the agenda, Mayor Patel initiated public hearings to discuss the proposed 2016/2017 Fiscal Year Budget, the proposed 2016-2017 Property Tax rate, and the proposed 2016-2017 Capital Improvement Plan for the City of South Padre Island. No one stepped forward to speak for or against the proposals and the hearings were closed.
Council Member Dennis Stahl brought forth an agenda item that included presentation, discussion, and action on the South Padre Island Museum renovation, which is currently housed at the SPI Visitor Center. Dennis Franke, chair of the SPI Museum Board made a presentation of the proposed transformation of the current Visitor Center location into the new SPI Museum. “I searched the Texas coast and I found what I considered the most handsome light station, and we fashioned the museum after that,” Franke said. “We want to create something that is historical, that has meaning, that I think will be very attractive, and it will be a special piece of architecture for the Island.” The Council agreed and approved the plan.
Council also discussed and approved the content, material, and location of a permanent sign to be placed at the John L. Tompkins Park. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) requires the City to post such a sign in recognition of the TPWD and its funding program upon completion of the first phase of park construction. The members opted for a copper sign to be placed on a pole near the park entrance.
During the presentations and proclamations portion of the meeting, Mayor Patel recognized Victor Baldivinos, City of SPI Environmental Health Director. Patel proclaimed the month of September 2016 in the city of SPI as National Food Safety Month and urged all citizens to promote safe food handling by practicing food safety both now and throughout the year.
In further action, the Council voted to approve an allocation of Gulf Boulevard Tax Note proceeds in the amount of $64,538 for a final payment of the Gulf Boulevard Phase III renovation. They also voted to approve payment to Peter A. Ravella Consulting in the amount of $4,950 to work on and submit grants on behalf of the Friends of RGV reef for offshore reef placement. They further moved that the City’s lobbyists, Clint Smith of Hill Co. Partners begin lobbying for aid in the Reef Restore Grant application process.
In its final agenda item, the Council approved the nomination of Pat Rasmussen to the SPI Parks, Recreation, and Beautification Committee.
– Kevin Rich