The dust still hasn’t settled over the ongoing problem of sand blowing from a piece of property on Padre Island.
A municipal court hearing was held Thursday for 79 code violations against owner Paul Schexnailder. It was called after he missed a deadline that was part of a plea bargain agreement with the city.
During the hearing, KRIS 6 News learned that ten of the cases are currently on deferral, meaning Schexnailder still had time to meet the terms set by the city. Judge Patrick O’Hare decided to extend those ten cases until September 18. If he doesn’t comply and the city decides to proceed to trial on all charges, Judge O’Hare set that trial date for October 4.
Business on Padre Island had mixed reaction to today’s decision. Johanna Wooten, who works at the Dragonfly restaurant right across the road from the site of the Lake Padre Development, says the sand had been an irritant for more than two years now and it’s virtually possible to ignore when the winds are high.
“When all of the sand is blowing over here, especially since we’re directly across the street from it, people don’t want to sit outside. So it affects our business a little bit,” Wooten tells KRIS 6 News.
Matt Werkhoven is the general manager of Island Cycle Plaza next door. He recalls when the problems first started, saying many people in the Island would joke that the swirling sand was the “Great Sahara.” However, he says the issues with blowing sand have lessened over the past year. He says the occasional sand residue at his business will be worth it in the long run, if the Lake Padre project is actually completed.
“We already have a great amount of tourism but if we develop that marina, and if it actually comes to fruition, I think we can all stand to benefit from it,” Werkhoven explains. “I’m looking five years down the road.”
Wooton is hoping a solution comes sooner, saying, “Either let it overgrow again and just call it quits or get moving with the development.”
Schexnailder was not at Thursday’s hearing. Neither his lawyer nor the city’s attorney had a comment.
City council member Greg Smith, who represents Padre Island, says this issue continues to be concerning for the residents in the area. He adds that he hopes for a “prompt resolution” to the blowing sand problem.