The city is bulldozing piles of sand into low areas behind the dune lines on the beach since it has permission from the Texas General Land Office, but an attempt to push the excess sand down to the water line has been thwarted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - the city has sought a permit to move the sand, but it likely won't receive one until the summertime.
"We're trying to work within parameters, but we've got more sand than we've got room," said Douglas Box, public works director.
"Spring Break will be a disaster if nothing is done about the sand, our businesses will pay for it," said Councilman Charles Bujan during a special meeting that was convened this week to discuss the situation.
Spring Break occurs from Friday, March 9, through Sunday, March 22.
The council discussed various solutions, from bulldozing the sand without permission to filing a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers and one area citizen who blew the whistle on the city when it tried to bulldoze sand to the water after Hurricane Ike piled sand on Mustang Island in September.
"Let's just go ahead and move the sand and see what happens," Bujan said.
Mayor Claude Brown agreed.
"They will have to try us in front of a jury of peers," Brown said.
The mayor also said that piling sand in the depressions behind the dune line could cause the dunes to "march" inland and cover up private property and roadways.
"Stacking sand in those low areas behind the dunes will cause them to crawl and they will move onto people's property," Brown said.
City Manager Michael Kovacs said he met with a representative of the Corps on Tuesday, Feb. 10, and learned that individual entrants in SandFest, which will occur in Port Aransas April 17- 19, will not be required to obtain individual sand permits from the federal agency.
City Planner and Projects Manager David Parsons had told the council during the meeting that requiring the permits had been part of the Corps plan to regulate where sand goes on the beach.
"Requiring individual permits for building sandcastles is beyond logic," said Councilman Keith McMullin.
"We need to play by the rules, but we need to be open for business," he said.
Councilman Keith Donley acknowledged the problem with the excessive sand that could threaten the drivability on the beach during Spring Break, but he urged caution.
"We're all aware of the problem. But we need to make sure about what we're getting into. They can get us now or they can get us later," Donley said.