Harbor Island is zoned, "HI," which is different zoning from everything else in the Port Aransas city limits. This is important because this specific Port Aransas city code -- section 25-121 -- allows for the Port to develop that land under rules retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. It was zoned as such in 2014, when the Port wanted to build a refinery on Harbor Island and is now what would allow the Port to build a VLCC terminal on the land. The VLCC terminal would allow the transfer of crude oil into oversized crude-oil carriers.KRIS file photo.
The lease contains a clause that says the lease agreement automatically terminates if the city rezones Harbor Island or modifies 25-121 to restrict development.KRIS file photo
On Aug. 29, 2019, the city of Port Aransas issued a 60-day moratorium on development permits and/or approvals, which would block the Port from proceeding with enlisting engineering design services on Harbor Island. Port Aransas said it felt the step necessary because its ability to effectively provide firefighting services to Harbor Island was crippled by Hurricane Harvey. KRIS file photo
The Port filed a lawsuit on Sept. 4, 2019, stating the City of Port Aransas violated the terms of the lease agreement by issuing the moratorium, because the agreement clearly outlined its ability to develop Harbor Island for "marine terminals, storage facilities for oil and/or gas support services, dredge material placement areas or other non-residential uses," and its planned a VLCC terminal qualifies. KRIS file photo