2011-07-28 / Front Page
Bujan files petition paperwork
Petition would call for referendum to possibly overturn council vote
Port Aransas City Councilman Charles Bujan filed legal paperwork today, Monday, Aug. 1, to start a petition process to possibly trigger a referendum vote that could overturn a recent council decision on the kinds of commercial activity that might be allowed on the beach in the future.
The petition isn’t ready for signatures yet, however, according to Bujan and City Secretary Esther Arzola. More legal paperwork must be filed before people can sign the petition, they said.
And it’s possible that the petition won’t be circulated at all. If the council holds a vote to reverse its previous decision on the beach matter, the petition likely won’t be distributed, because the matter will be resolved, Bujan said.
The council voted 4-3 on Thursday, July 21, to change the wording of the city’s Coastal Management Plan (CMP) in a way that would give the city the power to later enact an ordinance that would provide for a greater variety of commercial activity than currently is allowed on the city beach.
New kinds of activity could include food and drink sales and beach-related services such as surf lessons or volleyball clinics and other business activities. (Surf lessons currently do take place on the beach, but they are held in a portion of the beach controlled by Nueces County, not the city.)
Currently, the CMP permits the city to allow only one vendor on the beach, and the document states that it must be the kind that provides beach rentals like umbrellas and beach chairs. No food or drink is allowed.
Even if the council doesn’t reverse itself, and even if a petition drive fails to gather enough signatures for a referendum, the city isn’t expected to see additional kinds of beach vending anytime in the near future. A majority of council members have said they’re not interested in passing any ordinance of the kind that would be required to set up a permitting process for more businesses to set up shop on the beach.
In addition, the change in the CMP still must pass a review by the Texas General Land Office.