Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pave paradise and put up a highrise

With land values steadily rising, the town will soon need to build upward in the B and C Districts to accommodate future growth, Island developer Clayton Brashear said.

“What we see is that the town is headed in the direction of more retirees moving here,” Brashear said. “And as more retirees move here, they’re going to want places to live. With the amount of property we have that’s built on, how do we provide them with places to live?”


Um.... when did it become our responsibility to provide the world with cheap island dwellings? Especially when the town is expanding northward. Why fuck up existing residential neighborhoods by throwing up sun-eating high-rises on the few remaining undeveloped lots? These condos will sit empty for much of the year like most of the existing condos. At least, we best hope they do because we already know what it is like when those units are all occupied -- we see it every year at Texas Week and the 4th of July.

Clearly this is all about money and the developers getting nervous about running out of land to exploit.

Their plan to cover up this island with skyscrapers is utterly insane and I can't believe that our Board of Aldermen would want anything to do with it.

Link

13 Comments:

Anonymous beerman said...

I was awaiting your comments :) He acts like the town is land-locked. Just last week the LMWD annexed more land north of town. Before we purchased our little sand-lot we studied the plats which broke up the land in the 60's and it's clear that some tracts were left undivided to host condo's and planned communities. We chose a tract who's cross street ends at the beach. The land is out there to build as many high density dwellings as we will ever need, it's just more costly until the infrastructure gets there. These guys want to get richer now!

Relax, Have a Homebrew!

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

First Clayton stole the view on Gulf Blvd building wall to wall town homes. Then he "built too close to the street" (oops) and had to go get a variance so he could steal our right of way and cover it with pavers. Then he managed to steal some of the public beach where the Capri used to be for "safety" reasons. Now he wants to steal our sunlight and any remaining green areas in the name of retirees.

Who elected him as spokesperson?

Who believes he has anyone's interest at heart other than his own pocket?

Affordable housing? If the developers/builders are allowed to build highrises in any area you can be sure they are looking to maximize their return on their investment. They will sell them for what the market will bear to anyone with the money to buy them.

At this point in the Island's development the growth needs to be controlled - this requires a plan. The plan should be directed by those who we (the residents) have elected to be our representatives.

If we don't start paying attention we may one day find ourselves sitting in the dark of highrise buildings, gridlocked in traffic because our growth was not planned or controlled other than by greed.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous other nancy m said...

Interesting that when attacking the BOA it is partly on the basis that resident retirees are anti business and a drag on the community; then when you want more building, retirees become an asset to the community.
Hmm.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Sheesh, what a mess. But I've always been a big fan of affordable living units! How about reserving 10 percent of these new condo units and sell them to seniors for less than, say, $100,000?

For background, check out the situation in coastal areas of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Mass. The locals were all priced out of the housing market (median price maybe $300,000). Plain and simple, if you make $40,000 a year, you're outta there. So some states and comunities wrote rules to require "affordable housing."

Works for me!

11:06 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Sam, I agree that affordable housing is a worthy goal but cynical sandy sez that Clayton doesn't give a rat's ass about providing affordable housing to anyone. Flooding the market with cheap condos benefits only the people who are building them.

This is such a beautiful spot we have been granted temporary custody of. Covering it up with ugly, empty skyscrapers would be nothing less than a travesty and will undoubtedly hurt tourism. We must apply the brakes to those who would sell their birthright for a bowl of soup. In a world where everyone is equal, the wolves are always going to be more equal than the sheep, which is why we need a strong government to make rules to keep the wolves from running amok.

(I know - block that metaphor!!! ;-)

6:39 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

OK, can we get powers of "initiative and referendum" on the Island so us citizens who vote can actually do something here? I am losing patience with the current system.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Brian Mikiten said...

Affordable housing? Ha! No one will come to the island without the infrastructure. My parents are retired and they care about reasonable cost of living (not on SPI), comprehensive medical care (not on SPI) and a quiet environment (sometimes on SPI).

Why can't everyone get their act in gear and realize that a target population shoujld be identifed and attracted to the island. Families, baby boomers and others are the ones who will support the businesses and therefore the island itself.

Once again, the real estate guys are pushing too hard too quickly.

B

8:05 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey Brian, I asked Sandy Feet's ex-BF and he laughed too. "Those new 4-plexes are $200,000 and that's as affordable as you can get." Indeed, at that price level you basically get a richy-boy ghetto.

What is rather galling and I wanted to ask you about is there is plenty of people buying houses ... but nobody is living in them. Now I just don't know what can be done about that, other than they're rich as heck and can afford to pay cash for a second home.

We have the same 2,000 people we had five years ago, although some have died, moved on, or recently moved in like us. Something is, well, weird.

Any thoughts?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't remember my password so I'm the anonymous Nancy. I wrote a letter to the Breeze that has not been sent yet, but the jist was that rather than disrupting the well-established "b" and "c" zones of "Old Town", the frustrated developers should look north to the undeveloped land of the Shores, for example. I'm sure that amending those zones will be alot less controversial than facing an unhappy mob of modest dwelling owners. Furthermore, up north the skyscrapers and large homes can rise triumphantly together in a congruous and aesthetic way that will be pleasing and harmonious to the eye rather than the frightening eye-sore of high rises torturously squeezed in between small two-story beach homes and little apartment complexes. Another plus for the north is that if a 2nd bridge is added it will most likely be up there. The high volume of new residents living in these high rises will need a way to quickly evacuate the island and will not want to get caught up in the "Old Town" traffic nightmare that will result from all the medians.
So please go north young man(like maybe Corpus) and let me keep my place in the sun.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Gulfless said...

In my home town, we had a string of Mayors who in various ways had ties with real estate. All except the last Mayor happened to turn very lucrative deals now and then, nothing illegal, all within the rules, and all for the greater good of the city. What is the motive behind an elected official to push an unwanted project upon the county residents? Is it really nothing more than wanting a recreation center, or casino named after him?

9:02 PM  
Blogger Brian Mikiten said...

Sam noted:

"We have the same 2,000 people we had five years ago"

Ever so true. I think that the SPI demographics are some of the MOST interesting reading you can find anywhere. They project less than a 10% per year resident increase. That certainly doesn't reflect housing does it!

Let me know if you don't have it and I'll post it.

As the stock market started falling, many people looked at real estate - not only here in Texas but everywhere. The investment side makes complete sense. If you have some money to put out and can qualify for the mortgage, you rent the house enough times so that you have not only an investment that could break even but also a vacation home that goes up in value 10-30% per year. What a deal.

Yes, the same (good) core is still there. What you guys in the core don't seem to realize is that you control every vote that can make dramatic changes for those of us who are absentee owners! What a deal! But, for some reason, no one can get their act in gear and support the government in a way that allows it to work efficiently.

It really is a dream situation if you think about it - revenue from tens of thousands with the need to support around 2500! Use the money to make the island nicer, attract more tax money and use it for more improvements.

Brian

9:44 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Wow, you make it sound so good! True, there are few registered voters and there seems to be some confusion about how many there really are - some say less than 2,000 but the Census says more.

Anyway, most of the tax money goes to the County and schools and such and very little goes to the Town. The Town seems to run a very tight budget and while I think they do an OK job, there certainly aren't huge pots of money hanging around like giant grapefruits.

In fact, some folks even wanted lower Town taxes (mill rate) because property values have skyrocketed. I think they were fiddling with a hundredth of a cent ... but with 5 billion dollars in SPI property, I suppose it's a big deal.

But at the end of the day, we export about 90 percent of our tax money over the Causeway and get very little back. Basically we balance the budget for the County and schools and get very little in return.

And, back to the original thread, one of the difficulties with weakening the development code (P&Z) is that essentially end up funding the builders to take up (read, seize, a takings) the right of way, which is public property.

In hindsight, if I were a millionaire benefactor, I would have bought as many empty lots as I could (back when it was cheap) and reserve them as dedicated open space. And yes, I'd let you park in the first 15 feet of it in the right of way!

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Bill Richardson said...

You might be more effective with your comments, if you attend the P & Z Meeting currently scheduled for March 23, 2006, 9AM, in the Public Works Conference Room. The subject of, "Highrise Construction,in B & C Districts" will be on the agenda.

The P & Z Commission will make some recommendation to the BOA for consideration and action.

7:06 AM  

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