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Judge declines to rule in Port's suit against Port Aransas

Posted at 6:35 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 19:41:53-05

The Port of Corpus Christi and the City of Port Aransas are both claiming victory after appearing before Judge Deanne Galvan on Friday.

Galvan. the presiding judge in Nueces County Court at Law 3, declined to grant the port a temporary restraining order against the city's 60-day emergency ordinance barring development on Harbor Island. She ruled that since the ordinance has expired -- it was put into place in August -- the port's position was no longer applicable.

Galvan also ruled that the City of Port Aransas should not attempt to pass further similar ordinances.

"We are pleased with Judge Galvan’s order that the City of Port Aransas will not interfere with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority’s work on Harbor Island," said Port of Corpus Christi Chairman Charles Zahn in a statement. "With the court’s order confirming an agreement between the City of Port Aransas and the Port Authority, the Port can continue unobstructed its efforts to assure the responsible redevelopment of Harbor Island."

Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan interpreted the ruling differently, saying Zahn "has chosen to engage in disinformation and misrepresentation concerning today’s outcome of the frivolous and baseless lawsuit the Port filed against the City of Port Aransas in September 2019."

Bujan said in a separate statement that Galvan "summarily dismissed" the port's lawsuit.

"Let me be blunt," he said. "As my dad would have said, 'the Port of Corpus Christi was taken behind the woodshed today and their butts were spanked!' ”

The two sides last met earlier this month, a meeting that ended in Galvan issuing a continuance.

The Port of Corpus Christi vs. The City of Port Aransas, a timeline

The lawsuit the Port of Corpus Christi filed against the City of Port Aransas in September centers on the city's lease agreement with the port for the marina.

That lease agreement, signed in April 2018, includes a clause which says Port Aransas wouldn't try to re-zone Harbor Island or restrict its development.

But when the city passed a moratorium on permits and approvals for Harbor Island in August, the port's stance was that it not only violated the lease, it also violated state law.

Specifically, that ordinance terminated the lease agreement and violated state law which prohibits cities from trying to regulate oil and gas operations.