Local News

Nov 18, 2013 12:01 PM

Nueces County Commissioner Has Plan to Keep Beach Open to Public

NUECES COUNTY - Buying about 4,000 acres, including about five miles of open beach, only makes sense to Nueces County Commissioner Joe McComb.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the region that this property come under the oversight of the county because it gives us consistency along the beach all the way for the public -- from the National Seashore to Port Aransas," McComb said.

Both federal and state officials reacted angrily to suggestions that deeding the beach to the Padre Island National Seashore -- the key to a plan uncovered by KRIS 6 News last month -- would have restricted access.

But McComb said the old plan most certainly would've closed the beach behind federal bollards.

"It may not have happened immediately but indications from cahtters that was coming from the National Seashore people and other people they'd talked to. I don't think there's any doubt that would've happened."

Now, McComb is working with the Ed Rachal Foundation on a multi-layered plan that would allow the foundation to loan Nueces County the money to buy the property from the Texas General Land Office.

Kleberg County appraisals have the value of the property at about $3 million. It's almost 3,900 acres.

The GLO has said selling the beach -- which cannot be developed and, therefore, generates no tax revenue -- makes sense for them because they can take the money and deposit it in the permanent school fund maintained by the office.

For McComb, the plan represents a chance to keep Texas beaches under Texas control.

"We need something that gives us some stability, some consistency and some protection that that property and the access is going to be available to us in perpetuity, and I think this is the way to go on it."

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