The relaxation of state regulations after Hurricane Harvey has allowed Texas coastal communities to undertake nearly a dozen dune reconstruction projects.
Galveston can authorize emergency beach-front repairs until at least Jan. 3 2018
- The Texas General Land Office usually makes the final decision on applications collected by the city, but it issued an emergency rule in September suspending its own oversight to speed up post-hurricane repairs.
- The emergency rules don’t allow for new dune construction, but instead allows groups to restore dunes to the state they were in before the hurricane, said Brittany Eck, spokeswoman for the land office.
- “The homeowners must still get the permit through the local entity, but the GLO does not have to review it for approval to be granted,” she said. “The rules regulating these improvements are still in place.”
Galveston was largely spared from major destruction, but several groups in the city’s West End said the dunes in their neighborhoods were almost wiped out by Harvey’s storm surge and runoff. They said the lack of adequate dune structures puts public and private structures at risk. Galveston has approved less than a dozen applicants for dune repairs so far.
Download the Galveston Beach-front Construction PDF https://www.galvestontx.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/150
Port Aransas hurricane recovery speeds ahead, the beach is in great shape and the fishing is excellent in Port Aransas, said Mayor Charles Bujan, who is encouraging tourists to return to one of the Coastal Bend’s most popular seaside towns.
- He warns, however, that along with sunscreen, bathing suits and towels, visitors should also pack a lot of patience to recovery from a Category 4 hurricane takes time.
- “We want you to come back,” he said when asked if he had a message for tentative tourists, “but please recognize that we have to rebuild a lot of what we had, and it’s a long process.”
“FEMA is a tough nut to crack,” Bujan said. “We have over 100 people looking for a place to live. We are waiting for FEMA trailers or for FEMA to decide if people are eligible for help.” Every elected official in the area has been working with FEMA to speed the process, but with three major hurricanes and horrendous wildfires in the span of two months, the emergency management agency might have met its match.
The city’s biggest problem, debris removal, paints a more positive if grungy picture. “We’ve already removed 200,000 cubic yards of construction debris,” Bujan continued. “We are not even to the greenery yet. We still have half to go.”
Port Aransas Debris removal as a three-step process:
- Clean out the house and put the debris on the street.
- Remove furniture and household goods affected and put them on the curb.
- Pull out the sheetrock and pile it up for removal.
A third problem the city faces, especially when it comes to bringing tourists back to town, is the marina, which was totally destroyed. “When tourism makes up your town economy, you can’t be without a harbor,” Bujan said.
- The City Council started the process of solving the problem by approving a Certificate of Obligation bond last month. These bonds do not require a tax increase to fund.
- Most of the road blocks to recovery are being dealt with swiftly, according to Bujan, who has nothing but praise for the community and the volunteers who have come to help.
Bujan believes the city will be ready for Spring Break, which is coming up in five months on March 10-18, 2018.
- – The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com
- – https://www.101corpuschristi.com/news/port-aransas-hurricane-recovery-speeds-ahead
- – https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/texas/articles/2017-11-15/texas-coastal-cities-undertake-post-harvey-dune-restoration
Author: Mike Stuart