Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sad Day ...

Galveston's $40 million beach project canceled


Nov. 15, 2010, 2:01PM

GALVESTON — State officials canceled a $40 million Galveston beach replacement project that was scheduled to begin today because of a recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that weakens the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson canceled the project because the court's ruling in a lawsuit questioning the application of the Texas Open Beaches Act "has muddied the legal waters enough to delay the beach project indefinitely," according to a statement released by the General Land Office.

"Our hands are tied now," Patterson said. "With this much money on the bubble, the delay caused by these legal questions makes it too costly to continue this project."

The 6-mile project, from the west end of the Galveston sea wall to 13-mile Road, was intended as a defense against high erosion rates threatening the city's tax base and infrastructure.

The project would have been paid for by the General Land Office's Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act Program with local, state and federal money.

Jim Suydam, Land Office spokesman, said the Supreme Court ruling means that there is no public beach easement on the west end of Galveston Island. Without the easement, the constitutional prohibition against spending public money to improve private property makes the project impossible, Suydam said.

The ruling was a result of a lawsuit brought by the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of San Diego, Calif., resident Carol Severance, who owns several income properties on Galveston Island. The court ruled that the Open Beaches Act does not apply when erosion is caused by a storm.

One of Severance's houses ended up on the public beach as a result of storm erosion. The court said Severance could be forced to remove her house from the beach under the Open Beaches Act if it was as a consequence of natural erosion, but not storm-caused erosion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sand Project

Bill Husemann was the first one to spot the boats and the pipe being pulled up to the beach. The pipe to bring in sand is in front of the pond just east of our subdivision. It's a good sign that the project will start soon!

Monday, November 01, 2010

House Move!

We had an exciting week at Sunny Beach. On Thursday, October 28th, 2010 we had a house moving down the beach and up 8 Mile Road to Reagor Way.

11201 Bernice Drive moved from it's front row home to a new placement on 11226 Reagor Way. The house is sitting on it's temporary spot until the pilings are placed and then it will slide into it's permanent new home.

We will update when placement is done ....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buyout House Torn Down

The buyout property at 11213 Bernice Drive was

taken down last week (April 20-21, 2010).

This property will be green space for perpetuity.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Sunny Beach Neighbors: Wow! It’s been a while since the last newsletter! We have passed the anniversary of Ike and now it’s time to get our neighborhood working together for common good.
Next Meeting
Our next neighborhood meeting is 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, at Bruce and Anne Billings’ house, 11216 Bernice Drive. Those who want to will go on to dinner at a nearby restaurant afterwards. Officers will be elected, and new volunteers are needed! Anyone interested in a position, please contact Tom Empey at Let’s develop a plan and a vision for Sunny Beach Neighborhood.
Projects – Past, Present and Future
Sunny Beach Sign After the storm, Tom Empey retrieved “Sunny” on the other side of FM 3005 on 8 Mile Road. A few months later, we found “Beach” in the salt cedars in the horse field. The sign letters were sitting by the posts of the old sign, and someone came by and took “Sunny”! Anne and Bruce Billings reordered the missing letters and found us two new pottery sun faces; Tom Empey got new wood and stain; and, one afternoon last August, Kathe Giebelhaus, Robert Cox, the Billings, and the Empeys rebuilt the sign. It’s nice to have it back. Thank you to those who made it happen!
Sunny Beach Neighborhood Post-Ike Sunny Beach lost five houses to Hurricane Ike – either taken away entirely by the storm (11205 and 11207 Bernice Drive and 11215 Schwartz Drive) or so badly damaged, they were taken down later (11206 Schwartz Drive and 11222 Bernice Drive). We’re so sorry for the owners of these properties!
Clean-up of Private Property Thirty-five of the remaining houses have been repaired and are looking good. Congratulations! Six more properties still need attention. The status on these, as far as known, is as follows:
11201 Schwartz Drive – notice sent by city; pending hearing
11214 Schwartz Drive – plywood on windows; city said it is “secure”
11201 Bernice Drive – repairs pending permit; may wait for sand-placement project
11213 Bernice Drive – on city buyout list (may be long time before taken down)
11224 Garfield Way – repairs pending
11226 Garfield Way – status unknown
If there are any concerns about other properties, please e-mail
Beach Sand Renourishment The major sand renourishment project from the end of the Seawall to 13 Mile Road has been pushed back to April 2010. Jerry Mohn sent this in October 2009: “The total CEPRA VI program for all approved projects, with leveraging Federal dollars, is $146 million for the Texas coast. The West End is getting close to $68.7 million, with $46.4 million going for the massive sand nourishment and dune construction project. We are still on track for the project; it will not begin now until probably March or April, but once they do start, the project will be completed.”
Sewers and City Services We will not be getting city sewer services in the near future. This is “on hold” for another five or six years, according to inquiries to the city. Street signs lost in the storm are now back in place. In November the city added new gravel to Bernice Drive and Beard Drive, and a drainage ditch along the eastern boundary of the neighborhood. A roadblock has been put at the east end of Bernice Drive to deter driving on the beach, and a large log blocks traffic from driving or walking on Ron Binkley’s property (Please respect all our beachfront owners’ efforts to establish new dunes by not walking on them).
Beach Bollards New “Pedestrian Access” signs have been added to the bollards on both ends of the beach parking area. We can probably move the eastern bollards westward to 8 Mile Road. Strategies will be discussed at our February neighborhood meeting.

Garbage In your water bill you received guidelines for placement of garbage. Garbage is collected Monday morning; please do not put your garbage out before Sunday afternoon. If you have your house in a rental pool you need at least two cans. Call 409-741-4636 to order additional cans; it’s only an additional $3 per month. Make sure you have a system in place so that your trash cans get taken in and out at appropriate times.
Dirt Roads Please slow down, and post a sign in your rentals for cars to watch for pedestrians and to drive slowly. We have dirt roads, and when people go speeding up and down them, the people on the north side of the road have a cloud of dust drifting into their faces. There are dogs, children and adults walking to and from the beach … please, let’s keep everyone safe and dust-free.
Lock Your Cars We have a lot of people coming and going in our neighborhood. Please question people. If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If your doors are locked you shouldn’t have any problems. We also have a West End Community Crime Watch (see below).
West End Community Crime Watch E-mail Group If you are interested in signing up, let Gerri Empey know. There is a personal information form to fill out and this program should start soon.
Texas Beach Watch Program The Galveston County Health District tests bacteria levels on the West End beaches. One of the locations checked is at 8 Mile Road, and we have a sign that lets you know if the bacteria levels are high. You also can check the Web site at
West Galveston Island Property Owners Association
WGIPOA is in its ninth year, and the challenges are still significant in the areas of coastal erosion, taxes, security, drainage and evacuation. They have been successful in addressing issues and concerns of property owner associations and maintaining the quality of life we enjoy on the West End. For information, go to or contact Jerry Mohn at
Upcoming Events
Galveston ArtWalk — Saturday, January 23, 2010
Mardi Gras — February 5–16, 2010
Sunny Beach Neighborhood Meeting — 6 p.m., Saturday, February 13, at 11216 Bernice Dr. (Billings’ house)
For Galveston area events and additional information, go to
Sunny Beach Neighborhood
2010 Dues Now Being Collected Support our neighborhood. Being an active part of SBN is a great opportunity to have an impact on our community! Make your $25 check payable to “SBN/Tom Empey” and send or deliver to 11221 Bernice Drive, Galveston TX 77554, by February 15, 2010.
Sunny Beach Neighborhood is an unincorporated, nonprofit, voluntary organization. We exist to provide ways for our neighborhood to come together as a group and to make Sunny Beach a better place to live and play. Membership dues are only a nominal annual fee of $25 per household. This pays for our membership with the West Galveston Island Property Owners Association (WGIPOA), newsletters, our directory, right-to-use access and other neighborhood improvement projects that the group would like to accomplish.
President — Tom Empey, 11221 Bernice Drive, or 409-741-2455
Treasurer — Sook Miller, 11227 Bernice Drive, or 713-822-8395
Secretary — Kathe Giebelhaus, 11210 Bernice Drive, or 409-939-7112
Sunny Beach Blog
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