The Shoreline Task Force Commission met Monday afternoon for its regular meeting on South Padre Island.
Major points of discussion were ongoing issues for providing restroom facilities to beachgoers as well as options for improvement at the Polaris Street Boat Ramp.
Coastal Resources Manager Reuben Trevino recently attended Galveston District’s annual Dredging Meeting where contractors and partners discuss the work they are planning for the upcoming fiscal year. He is working with the Corps of Engineers to renew the Beach Placement Permit which allows the city to do work on the beach during the turtle nesting season. Trevino also reminded the Task Force that the first dune planning of the year will take place Saturday, Nov. 22.
Trevino introduced a new city intern, Shelby Bessette, who began work at the beginning of October. She came to the city through an internship with the University of Texas Brownsville and will work with staff to develop and carry out a procedure for taking beach measurements to evaluate the impact of projects affecting the recreational beach, which varies in width seasonally. Bessette also began collecting survey data in a variety of areas that will be used to better guide decision making in the future.
Bessette’s survey information will be helpful in determining the best way to address the ongoing issue of providing restroom facilities to beachgoers. One option would be wooden framed portable restrooms while another is a rental trailer containing four units that can be air-conditioned, power washed, and hooked up to sewer for running water. Task Force members were concerned that trailer units would only be stationed in paved areas at beach access points rather than on the beach. Maintenance of restroom facilities on the beach has been a big area of concern and a major reason why the city has not found a solution. Public Works has a meeting scheduled with the Laguna Madre Water District next week. City Staff will future explore both options and is hoping to have a recommendation for the City Council next month.
Improvements to the Polaris Street Boat Ramp and Parking Area Project were also discussed at the meeting. The ground washes out at the end of the concrete boat ramp and has caused damage to boats and trailers attempting to remove them from the water. Public Works Director Armando Gutierrez suggested a Marine Mattress System, which uses stone filled marine mattresses at the bottom of the ramp to combat the erosion problem.
Cost for this solution is just under $9,000 which is inexpensive when compared with other options. With a proposal of $86,805.75, the city is considering leasing six lots across from the ramp for paid parking. However, estimated revenue from paid parking spots comes to about a quarter of the proposed cost. Repair of the boat will be the first priority.
The Task Force reviewed a proposed permit application for the remodel of amenities at 3504 Gulf Blvd. The application is requiring access to the beach side of the condominiums to remove a portion of debris. Staff has informed them that any damage has to be mitigated on a one to one basis, and the applicant has agreed to apply. The Task Force will pass a recommendation for approval to the City Council.
Because no representative was present, Chairman Munarriz motioned to table the discussion and action on designation the Palms Beach Access a totally handicapped access to make it a perpetual memorial to Guy Blatnik and all veterans with a plaque dedication.
In other announcements, Beach Foreman Joe Vela, who has worked with the city for over 25 years, introduced himself to the Task Force. He will report to Coastal Resources Administration and will be in charge of revamping beach access points. Vela will attend meetings at least once a month to give a report on progress. Resident Virginia Sanders Guillot, owner of Parrot Eyes Watersports, also introduced herself and expressed interest in serving on the Task Force. Last week, Guillot filed an application to serve and is awaiting consideration and action by the City Council.

Abbey Kunkle