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County seeks public comment on erosion, dune protection plans

October 21, 2018 GMT

The Cameron County Commissioners Court this week approved the final drafts of its erosion response and dune protection plans, which have been submitted to the General Land Office for review. The public can read and comment on the plans via the county parks department website, and officials said a formal public hearing will be planned as the process progresses.

Cameron County created the plan to address erosion and storm risks at gulf-facing beaches and beach parks. As the South Padre Island shoreline continues to erode, the erosion response plan proposes the creation of a 200-foot building setback line, enhancement of the dune system, the relocation of Park Road 100, and future phasing out of vehicle traffic on the beach.

Juan Gonzalez, chief legal counsel for Cameron County, said the team of county administrators that worked together to update the plans is excited about reaching this state. The county’s goal is to ensure public beach access, safety, environmental protection and protection of private property, he added.

Two of the biggest issues regarding future land use are the possible relocation of Park Road 100 farther inland and the proposed second causeway, he said. They would have major impacts on private property and development, Gonzalez said, as the county continues to protect the dunes and ensure pubic beach access. The beach along Park Road 100 is eroding at a rate of 10 feet per year, according to the plan, and figures in the document illustrate how some parcels plotted in the 1960s now lie entirely on the public beach and span into the water.

Gonzalez said now that the final drafts have been sent to the GLO, the office will either approve the drafts or return them with comments for the county to address.

“ Either way, we will have a public hearing,” he said, adding that county administrators want to hear from property owners and beach goers alike.

Once accepted by the GLO, the plans will be open to further public comment, Gonzalez added, and could start being implemented in three to six months. The documents allow the county to qualify for grant funds to protect and add dune vegetation, he said.

Download the plans and submit comments on the “Events and Announcements” section of the county parks website at http://www.cameroncountyparks.com.