Special to the PRESS
I am surprised at several events lately under the control of the Port Isabel City Council.
First, the apparent disregard of either the Planning and Zoning Committee and the council, or both, in common and ordinary requirements in the building of multiple units on the same property.
The two developments on the west edge of the city, one containing what appear to be apartments and the other a series of small cracker jax box-type homes or town homes, are the point of my concerns.
The apartment buildings are built extraordinarily close together with the windows from one building looking out on the wall of the next building, just a few feet away. Certainly, from the standpoint of fire prevention and fighting, the buildings are too close. The poor tenants have only one window to look out and they see only a block wall.
In the example of the cracker boxes, they, too, are far too close for fire prevention and fighting. There is simply no air around the homes. Neighbors are right on top of the owners or tenants.
Both properties should have been required to provide playgrounds for children as well as some walk and park areas. If they could not do that, they should have been required to provide mitigating funds for the building of park-like facilities somewhere nearby. Maybe, that was required, but we have not heard about it.
Second, what in the world is going on with the “sidewalk to nowhere”? With a sidewalk on the south side of Highway 100 between the high school and the Highways 100 and 48 corner, that is seldom used except by the high school gym and track teams, why build an even longer sidewalk on the north side that will be virtually empty 98 percent of the time?
I realize the previous administration secured a grant for the sidewalk, so it didn’t cost us much of our money, right? It was “free money”, right? Well, no, not exactly. Taxpayers somewhere had their money removed from their pockets to pay for the “mile-long stretch”.
While all this nonsense is going on, we have streets, important streets, in Port Isabel that are not being re-built and re-paved. We have a very important alley in the Historical District (yes, I am involved in that area) that should be graded to proper elevation and paved to facilitate the movement of folks around the district.
Finally, we have the constant threat of the possibility that one of our Port Isabel Museum buildings will be sold off to reduce expenses the city should be happy to pay.
There is no community of Port Isabel’s size that I have ever seen that has a better museum with its three venues (two buildings and the lighthouse). Why destroy that image? It reminds me of the community in which I lived in Minnesota that had three connected lakes with a total circumference of 17 miles within its confine. Some in the city pushed for taking away the boat ramps so that “outsiders” could not gain access to “their” lake.
City council, city manager and the museum volunteers should move heaven and earth to keep what they have and to expand on it. Get busy on it, folks.
I realize most of these problems have had their beginning in prior administrations, but let’s not keep the city going down the wrong track. An immediate adjustment in the direction the city is going is required, if not demanded by the taxpayers.
Duane A. Rasmussen
Port Isabel property owner
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