Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

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fl429
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Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by fl429 »

Is this the final chance to keep the "West Bay kayak access point on Sportsman's Road" available to public?

It seems that topic is on the agenda of the Galveston Planning Commission public meeting on May 16, next Tuesday, at 3pm. I was told that the city’s comprehensive plan states clearly the City should not give up public access points to the water. Still, here it goes on the agenda already!

https://www.galvestontx.gov/AgendaCente ... ission-13/
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by shoffer »

Good find by FL429.

If you want to know all the details behind the issue, they can be found below. Jennifer and Lance Wade Robertson (Homeowner 1) and Sam Grizzaffi and his LLC, Casa Di Mare Galveston, LLC (Homeowner 2) are the people who own the property on both sides of the launch point. They want the City to abandon the property so they can buy it and take away this launch point. The basis for the request is “The currently unused lot cited here for abandonment is a tract not improved or used by the city or County for its initial purpose of a north/south road. The tract contributes to consistent trespassing and theft issues for the adjacent landowners. The tract is also unimproved and often covered in trash or debris. Launching of boast and jet skis at all hours of the night contributes to material noise issues for adjacent homeowners.” The "narrative" in the application gives more details for the request.

Based on what I see in the application, they have a tough burden to meet. If I was in town on May 16, 2023 at 3 pm, I'd go to the meeting and argue against it. Specifically, the argument I'd make is: (a) as shown in the application and as set forth on page 133 of the City of Galveston's 2011 Comprehensive Plan (https://www.galvestontx.gov/DocumentCen ... PDF?bidId=), the City "has a duty to balance the desires of private individuals with the protection of the public land" and specifically, "no rights-of-way that provide public access to bodies of water should be abandoned."
Screenshot 2023-05-13 080420.jpg
To me, that is the death knell for this request. If I were counsel for the homeowners, I'd argue that public access remains right down the road and thus, there is no harm in abandoning this right of way. [Of course, there's no parking down there either, and people get towed, but I suppose that's beside the point].

My second argument would be that even if Galveston votes to allow the abandonment, the Land Development Regulations require the applicants after the abandonment to "maintain pedestrian access through the development along the original right-of-way" and also prohibit the applicants from building any structures on the property after abandonment. Thus, kayaker access must remain in existence as pedestrians, perhaps over the required 20-foot drainage easement that will remain down the center line of the property.

Also, note that the Galveston City Council has the final decision regarding the request for abandonment. Council will hear this request on June 22, 2023, so I'd watch the public meeting notices so you can make it a point to attend and have your voices heard.

The state statute that governs a municipality's sale of public land can be reviewed here: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs ... LG.272.htm

If you guys want the lot to remain open to access, I'd email or call this City of Galveston guy on the staff report:

Tim Tietjens; Director of Development Services
409-797-3668
ttietjens@galvestontx.gov

For more information on the applicants, Casa Di Mare Galveston, LLC is owned by:
Screenshot 2023-05-13 064811.jpg
You can download the application using the link FL found, or you can review every page below:
Image

As the Beastie Boys once said, "you gotta fight -- for your right -- to kayak!"
Attachments
Screenshot 2023-05-13 063617.jpg
Screenshot 2023-05-13 063223.jpg
Last edited by shoffer on Thu May 18, 2023 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by OldTownYakBoi »

Thank you for this thread. It hit the press this morning in the Galveston Daily News. I’m starting to feel optimistic, for now…
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by saltykat »

The problems all started when the schmuck to the east side of the ramp built his house there. He shouldn't have built it if he didn't like the ramp next door that's been there for decades. It's not good for a boat ramp because it's been neglected for all these years. It can easily be improved as a kayak launch for a small investment. We have been launching there for many years and never saw it covered in trash like the homeowner states. Occasionally there might be a couple pieces of trash on the ground that we would always pick up and put in the trash can on the lot. I'm sure a couple issues he has are true but most are lies. Having spent 6 months in Galveston the last two winters I think I saw him one time. He must only spend summers there. Hopefully Galveston makes the right decision and not give in to a rich homeowner.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by fl429 »

Is there an not-for-profit organization which has its goal set to protect the public interests in such matters?

Some say this is a political matter not a legal one. The fact is the petitioners in this case has already had their legal representation. They clearly signaled their intention for legal pressures. I think it is time to drum up preparation for a legal challenge. Yes, it is political in that there should be an organization that is prepared to challenge the city in a big way in case the city makes decisions that is unfavorable to public interests. It is time to collect some donations.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by creekstone »

Does anybody know what happened at the 5/16 Planning Commission hearing or 6/22 Council meeting?
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Dandydon »

I'd like to help, men, but my co-counsel Shoffer hit most nails squarely in his legal analysis above.

In other threads I've explained why there's little we can do to keep the Sportsman Rd. ramp open given the City of Galveston's absolute authority over the property (along w/ the conspiratorial conduct of the two adjacent property owners.) Yeah, it pisses me off, too. Saltykat and I used to limit out over there in our Hobie kayaks.

I haven't any info on how the City meeting went, but can guarantee our former launch rights are history.

On top of that I go into Methodist Hospital next week for stomach surgery and don't have the stomach to fight this crap anymore. All prayers are welcomed.

Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk

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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Kayak Kid »

Dandydon, you are going into one of the best hospitals in Texas. You can be assured that they will have your wellbeing foremost in their actions. I'm sure you detest hospitals as much as I do, but they sure beat the alternative. Be well.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Neumie »

Deleted posts which were not relevant to the topic.

Keep the conversation on topic gentlemen.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Neumie »

On May 16th, the Planning Commission recommended denying the request: Link
ABANDONMENT
23P-033 (Adjacent to 11628 and 11622 Sportsman Road) Request for an Abandonment of approximately 6,556 square feet of street right of way between West Bay and Sportsman Road. Adjacent properties are legally described as the East Part of Lot 176 (176-7), and the Northwest Part of Lot 157 (157-3), Trimble and Lindsey, Section 2, in the City and County of Galveston, Texas.
Applicant: Lance and Jennifer Robertson and Sam Grizzaffi
Adjacent Property Owners: Lance and Jennifer Robertson and Casa Di Mare Galveston, LLC
Easement Holder: City of Galveston

Staff presented the staff report and noted that of 12 public hearing notices sent, three were returned in opposition.
Chairperson David Finklea opened the public hearing on the case., The applicant’s representative, Gus Knebel, gave a presentation to the commission. See attached list for the list of presentations. The public hearing was closed and the Chairperson called for a motion.

Commissioner Hill made a motion to recommend denial of the request.

Vice-Chair Peña seconded.

The Chairperson called for questions or comments from the Commission. The following votes were cast:
In favor: Finklea, Hill, Lantz, Peña, Walla
Opposed: None
Absent: Edwards, Humphrey
Non-voting participant: Councilmember John Paul Listowski

The motion passed.
Ordinance No. 23 (non-dated) claims the City Council deems it in the public interest to abandon the property: Link
WHEREAS, after conducting a public hearing, the City Council of the City of Galveston, Texas, deems it in the public interest to abandon this property, subject to the conditions listed in Section 3 below

SECTION 3. This abandonment is subject to the following conditions:
Specific Conditions for Abandonment:
1. Upon payment of the property and execution of the Deed without Warranty, a replat of the properties shall be completed within six months of the approval of the abandonment request (December 22, 2023);
a. The replat shall dedicate a 20-foot wide drainage easement to the City between Sportsman Road and the Bay, centered on the common line between the two parcels with 10 feet on both sides of the newly created common lot line;

Standard conditions for an abandonment:
2. No structure shall be erected within the original right-of-way;
3. The applicant shall pay for an opinion letter by an appraiser, regarding the market value of the subject property. The appraiser shall be appointed by the City;
4. The applicant shall pay the value of the right-of-way, as determined by an appraiser, after it is reviewed and approved by the City Manager;
5. The applicant shall adhere to all comments/conditions received from City departments. Should conformance with the comments/conditions require alterations to the project, as approved, the case must be returned to the Planning Commission for additional review and approval; and;
According to the June 22, 2023 Minutes the motion to abandon the property failed: Link
8.C. Consider For Approval An Ordinance Of The City Of Galveston, Texas, Abandonment Of Approximately 6,556 Square Feet Right-Of-Way; Adjacent To 11628 And 11622 Sportsman Road And Adjacent Properties Are Legally Described As The East Part Of Lot 176 (176-7), And The Northwest
Part Of Lot 157 (157-3), Trimble And Lindsey, Section 2; In The City And County Of Galveston, Texas; Planning Case Number 23P-033; Making Various Findings And Provisions Related To The Subject. (T. Tietjens)

The Ordinance was read by caption. Tim Tietjens provided staff comments. The public hearing was opened. Lance Robertson, Kenneth Braeden, Luke Carrabba, Anthony Grissaffi, Jenny Robertson, Harry Isensee, Lydia Braeden, and Gus Knabel spoke in favor of the abandonment. Scott Henderson requested deferral of the item. Kimberly Gaido, Heather Hunter, Chula Ross Sanchez, Susan Fennewald, Elizabeth Beeton, Richard Crumholtz, Heidi
Henderson, and Jeff Seinseimer spoke in opposition of the abandonment. Motion was made by CM Robb, second by CM Listowski, to approve the abandonment. In favor: Brown, Listowski, and Robb. In opposition: Collins, Lewis, Finklea, and Bouvier. Motion fails
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by peteqb »

Went down there 10/29 thinking perhaps barrier was removed since the abandonment failed but NOPE, all blocked off and even have stupid large boulders placed at parking area on side of road. The end of 8 mile road fenced off as well. What a shame and a sham, no other close access point for the Deer Islands. Interesting to see it was suddenly and quietly approved and only adjacent owners given option on the land? Does the Galveston Daily News have an investigative arm?
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Neumie »

peteqb wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 10:55 am Went down there 10/29 thinking perhaps barrier was removed since the abandonment failed but NOPE, all blocked off and even have stupid large boulders placed at parking area on side of road. The end of 8 mile road fenced off as well. What a shame and a sham, no other close access point for the Deer Islands. Interesting to see it was suddenly and quietly approved and only adjacent owners given option on the land? Does the Galveston Daily News have an investigative arm?
That's a shame to read.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by karstopo »

Where are the kayak access points on Galveston Island these days? What’s still open? How can there be so few public kayak access points to such a relatively large expanse of water?

Seems like the county and/or municipalities there need to step up their game and get the public more access to public water.

Are there at least pay to play ramps or access points? Launch for a fee access areas?
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by OldTownYakBoi »

It's an absolute disgrace that everything has been privatized out here. Now days there are a handful of launches for 32 miles of Galveston's coastline. On the South Shoreline you have 1 single public launch on Offats bayou off of 61st st which is an actual boat ramp, There is also an area on 103rd st you can slide a yak into, and also the end of Sportsman Rd. The launch at the end of Sportsman rd is the most popular but i foresee that being closed as well; Since all the other launches have been shut down it concentrates everyone to this area where its a dead end cul-de-sac so small you can't turn around in it unless you reverse. I've often seen a kayak rental company that parks in the middle of this turnaround and just sits there with a truck full of kayaks and blocks everyone off. I've pretty much given up launching there because no one has common sense to unload quick and pull up the road for others to launch, they'll sit there 30 mins loading and unloading. For paid access points there is Galveston Island State park and Watermans grill, so basically the entire lower portion of West bay has 0 access, Jamaica beach and Sea Aisle both privatized in 2020 which were good access points to get to these areas. The North shoreline you have Louis bait camp which is paid and 1 other public boat launch on the NE side of Tiki Island... That's the extent of it and it makes me sick. I have to break the law these days to fish anywhere worth a shit and I'll continue to do so, it's public water and it shouldn't be exclusive to wealthy homeowners who are only there 10% of the year. I have some secret launches I'm not willing to disclose at this point out of fear of them being shut down like everything else, people suck
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Ron Mc »

This tale of woe is not unlike the hill country.
On a favorite western river, there Were 2 crossings where it was worth wading and portaging your kayak to get to our version of a natural lake -
- floodwaters lift the flagstone strata, forming a hole and a natural dam at the same time.

Image

Image

Access to one of these of these was blocked 15 years ago when the landowner ran a barbed wire fence across the river channel.
When I checked with the state about enforcing our navigation rights, they said it was a county issue.
Of course a JP will side with the landowner for political expedience.

On Tuesday, the 2nd of these (above, photographed 2 years ago) had been fenced off by the landowner - 6 strands of barbed wire across a navigable river channel.

Image
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by karstopo »

Public water, but unfortunately with a catch which is it is all surrounded by private property.

We have a vast amount of public water on the coast that is difficult or next to impossible to access by kayak. It seems like it could be relatively inexpensive and straightforward for Texas Parks and Wildlife to acquire and develop shoreline access points specifically for kayaks and similar vessels. Not a whole state park type of investment, just an easement in with an unpaved road, some sort of parking lot, and a beach launch. Maybe getting something like that actually accomplished is harder than it seems, but what a shame that in many places like West Galveston Bay, there are so few publicly accessible kayak launches for public water.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by TexasJim »

karst: TPWD has been buying land adjacent or near parks or other areas for a few years I read they got the funds from the BP oil spill fines. But, they aren't spending the cash on boat ramps, or public use facilities. Boat ramps and launches have two big troublemakers: Parking, and trash. If you have a launch or ramp in a useful, popular spot, pretty soon you can't find a place to park, and by Sunday afternoon, there's a huge accumulation of trash and other debris, left by the two-legged pigs. City and county governments don't want the hassle.

Most of the coast is becoming privatized, much like the Hill Country. It's almost impossible to find a place to launch a kayak in Port Isabel, or South Padre Island. SPI had five free ramps, but they gave or sold three of them to private entities. The Cameron County Parks are nice, but $10 or $12 a day, if you don't buy a monthly or year pass. The Zapata ramp on 48, at San Martin Lake is nice and free. Post Mansfeld built a small ramp south of town which is great for kayaks, but far from the good fishing.

The Coastal Bend seems to be the only kayak-friendly area on the coast, from my limited travels. Nueces County has about five free launches, San Patricio, about five and Aransas County has sixteen(!), maintained by Aransas Pathways. Lamar had a super handicap-accessible launch for two months before Hurricane Harvey blew it away. I've hammered on the politicians for years about replacing it, with no success. Corpus Christi has plans for one, but no funding.

Oh, well. We best enjoy what coast we can access, while we can. TexasJim
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by shoffer »

UPDATE: I don't know where this stands from a government standpoint, but I took this picture when I was out on my boat about a month ago:
Sportsman launch.jpg
As you can see, the parking barriers have been removed, and the parking area appears clear. A trash can exists (so please use it so that we don't piss off the neighbors), but someone filled in rock along the shoreline (presumably to prevent boats from launching). However, it is still doable with a kayak.

I don't know if one may still park there or if they will be towed, but it appears to be a usable site for launching a yak.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Neumie »

This looks like a positive sign.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by OldTownYakBoi »

This is definitely a positive sign. Glad they put a trashcan and filled it in with rocks. Maybe that will keep it a bit nicer. It’s unfortunate a few bad apples can ruin it for everyone, but that’s life I guess.
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by TexasJim »

OTYB: Hopefully, the two-legged pigs won't ruin this spot like all the others in their past. I helped in a Coastal Bend clean-up, and was amazed to find an automotive A/C compressor and a small carburetor in the ankle-deep water. Knowing that they drove by at least four dumpsters, going there. Geez! TexasJim
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Re: Galveston considering to abandon the west bay access point on Sportsman's Road

Post by Ron Mc »

Hi Jim,
Yeah, at last fall's rodeo, launching for Dagger, we noticed bad litter at the road-end access.
With the impending storm, our window didn't give us much time to grab more than a bit.

Image
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