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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bye, bye SLP.

Texas' Oldest Newspaper
Copyright © 2004 Galveston County Daily News

Judge dismisses TOBA lawsuit on beach access

By Carter Thompson and Sarah Viren
The Daily News

Published June 15, 2004

AUSTIN â€" A judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the city’s proposed beach access plan.

State district Judge Paul Davis ruled that his court did not have jurisdiction over the claims in the lawsuit filed by the Texas Open Beach Advocates in March.

The group sued the city, county and state general land office, alleging the city’s proposed beach access plan and its oversight of its beaches violated the state’s open beaches act. It alleged the county violated the law by lining miles of beachfront with giant sand-filled tubes to protect adjacent property from storms.

City officials applauded Davis’ decision. Those who filled the lawsuit said they probably would appeal the ruling.

“We are greatly disappointed that the private citizens of the state of Texas cannot protect their public beaches when GLO refused to uphold the clear letter of the law,” said Lisa Martinez, TOBA’s secretary-treasurer. “Therefore, we plan to examine our options to appeal this ruling as well as continue to work with the city of Galveston to finally get a fully compliant beach access plan, one that preserves and enhances beach access for all the citizens of the state.”

Defense attorneys argued that TOBA had no legal standing in the lawsuit. Chris Rasco, assistant city attorney, said Monday’s order indicates that the judge agreed with them.

“If the plaintiffs don’t have standing, then the court doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Rasco. “This court is completely powerless to act at this point and the judge recognized this.”

Rasco said he felt any appeal would go in the city’s favor as well.

The Park Board of Trustees and Centex Destinations both intervened in the case, saying the lawsuit implicated their operations as well.

The park board oversees Galveston’s beach parks. Centex is planning a $500 million housing development on the West End. Under the city’s recently submitted access plan, beaches adjacent to this planned development will be closed to vehicular traffic once construction on the subdivisions begins.

Galveston has been operating under a provisional beach access plan since 1993. The city submitted a final plan to the GLO earlier this year. That plan is currently under review.

“Obviously I am pleased with the court’s decisions today in dismissing the claims against the city and I am looking forward to the GLO certifying the city’s beach access plan,” said City Attorney Susie Green.

Wendy O’Donohoe, director of planning for the city, said she expects to receive certification for all but one part of the plan “anytime now.”

The city will need to amend a portion of the plan dealing with access points between Apffel Park and Stewart Beach, she said.

Officials at the land office said the lawsuit had not stymied their process of evaluating and approving the city’s plan.

“We are still going ahead with final rules and we hope to get them shortly,” land office spokesman Jim Suydam said.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I commented to Tom that Centex knew something Saturday when I came by the site and all the erosion control fencing was already in place. That costs big bucks to do and requires a surveyor to lay it all out.

Ernest, I don't know the answer to your question, but I bet Lisa would.
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