Cameron County is continuing this morning to pave the way forward for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, to come to Boca Chica Beach, as commissioners will consider the closing and abandonment of four areas of right-of-way near the company’s proposed launch pad construction site. Meike Place Road, Rio Grande Boulevard, Joanna Street and Remedios Avenue — all dedicated roads within the Rio Grande Beach and Spanish Dagger subdivisions — are being considered for closing in whole or in part to make way for SpaceX, the new owner of the property.
Officials have said a groundbreaking at the site is expected soon, and the City of Brownsville announced on Wednesday a special event Sept. 22 at the Brownsville Sports Park to celebrate the coming of SpaceX. County Administrator Pete Sepulveda Jr. said it’s standard procedure to hold a public hearing ahead of the closure of any roads. Following public hearings today, the commission is expected to approve the closures, which Sepulveda said are all in the general vicinity of SpaceX. However, the roads don’t necessarily exist in the form of pavement and striping.
“Those roads are not actually in place,” Sepulveda said. “They were dedicated, but they never got built.” When a new property owner takes over a plot of land and the dedicated roads that exist aren’t necessary for development, the county’s procedure is to abandon the right-of-way, he said.
Generally there is no opposition to road closures of this kind, he explained, since most similar closure requests concern private property and won’t affect other property owners. “From a county standpoint, if it’s not going to have a negative impact, it’s pretty much a done deal,” Sepulveda said. In addition to the road closures, the county will hold its final public hearing on the budget before a scheduled vote on approving it and the tax rate. The proposed tax rate represents a penny and a half increase from the current rate. Officials have said the additional revenue is needed to cover last year’s bond issue and to authorize new positions.