Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.
Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.
It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Municipal Government Transportation Method of Electing CCISD Trustees Nueces County Road System Charter Rev-1st Phase: Annexation Method of Electing City Council Members Emergency Ambulance Service City Charter Revision
NATURAL RESOURCES: Tourism and Conventions Parks and Recreation Sand Dunes Development of Corpus Christi Beach Bayfront Master Development Plan
Explanation In 1974 the League adopted a position statement supporting the Council/Manager form of city government with members elected at large. This position was reached after an extensive five-month study of various forms of city government by the League membership. In 1974-75 a petition was circulated to amend the city charter to change the form of city government to a Mayor/Council form. The election was January 18, 1975. League members acting under consensus fought the issue with publications, debates, and speeches to civic groups. The amendment failed 3 to 1. In April 1977 the League re-evaluated its position on whether Council members should be elected from single member districts or the at-large place system should be retained. Members continued to support the at-large place system because the councils from 1955 to 1977 had minority representation, principally through the forming of slates and parties to run for the council positions. These slates were generally balanced along ethnic and racial lines.
In 2002 a petition was presented to the City Council to place a proposal on the November ballot changing the form of municipal government from the current Mayor-Council form of government. Members of the local League of Women Voters discussed this proposal at their Septembeer and October 2002 meetings and made a decision, based on the above position, not to support this change. The change waas subsequently defeated in the November election.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Transportation + July 1975
The League of Women Voters supports a public transportation system for Corpus Christi, Texas. League members believe a public transit system should
1. Provide service to all areas of the city
2. Have special services for the elderly, handicapped, and school children
3. Include proper vehicles, trained operators, good maintenance and adequate routes, schedules, and bus shelters The League believes the City should continue to operate and subsidize the transit system.
Explanation League members adopted the transportation study at the Annual Meeting, 1973, as a nonrecommended item on the local program. Interest in the local bus system was high in the community, since the City had taken over the system after private interests could no longer make a profit. League members rode buses to meetings (some never arrived), interviewed riders, and passed out questionnaires to riders. Many questionnaires were returned with complaints about the system. Members reached consensus in 1975 and urged the Council to make improvements in the system. League members have continued to monitor the system and support the City's efforts to improve the service.
In 1983 at the annual meeting, members approved a re-evaluation of the League Transit Consensus. This re-evaluation was delayed, since the City Council has appointed a Transit Advisory Committee to consider
1. The need for a transit system
2. How to finance a transit system
3. Whether the system needs to be expanded beyond the city limits The Transit Advisory Committee completed its study May 16, 1984, with a recommendation for the creation of a Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The City Council adopted the report and recommendations and has appointed an Interim Board of Five, which is the first step in creating the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Three League members served on the Transit Advisory Committee, with one of the members being appointed to the Interim Board.
Update (June 13, 1985) The League of Women Voters believes a public transportation system is vitally necessary to promote economic growth and development, provide access to employment opportunities, and enhance the quality of life for all citizens. After evaluating the transportation needs of the Corpus Christi area and considering methods available for meeting these needs, League members conclude that a Regional Transit Authority financed by levy of a sales tax as provided by state law is a viable solution for providing an effective public transportation system. The League of Women Voters therefore supports confirmation of the Regional Transit Authority created by action of the Corpus Christi City Council on June 12, 1984.
The League also supports the levy of a sales tax to finance the Transit Authority's operations as a public transit system for Corpus Christi, Nueces County, and adjoining counties. League members believe a public transit system should provide
1. Service to all areas within the system
2. Special services and reduced fares for the elderly, the handicapped, and school children
3. Vehicles of suitable size and type for the purpose used
4. Clearly marked bus stops, well-designed shelters, and widely disseminated information about bus routes, schedules, services, etc.
5. Services such as shuttles, neighborhood circulators, transit centers, park & rides, etc., to meet particular transportation needs
6. Extended hours of operation, expanded service frequency, and weekend service where indicated League members further believe a public transit system should maintain a method for monitoring and evaluating services, develop an ability for flexible operations when necessary, and institute a method for periodic accounting to the public concerning the system's finances and management.
Explanation In 1983 members approved a re-evaluation of our Transportation Consensus. However, the study was delayed since the City appointed a Transit Advisory Committee to study the issue and recommendations. The results of the committee's study were that the city of Corpus Christi needed a transit system and a means of funding it. League members evaluated the Transit Advisory Committee's study and agreed with its proposals to put it on the ballot of August 10, 1985, for voter approval. Our League supported the ballot proposals. The Transit Authority proposal with funding was adopted by the voters and is now in operation.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Method of Electing Corpus Christi I.S.D. Trustees -February 21, 1977
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes that no electoral system will automatically guarantee a more representative or responsive governing body unless there is citizen interest and participation from all segments of the community. We believe, however, a modified single-member electoral system would increase representation of minority groups on the School Board and, at the same time, allow representation of the majority of the voters in the school district. Furthermore, school board members elected by a modified system would develop school policy that would balance the needs of the school district as a whole.
Specifically, we support
1. A modified single-member electoral system. The school district would be divided into four single-member districts. Four trustees would reside in and be elected by voters from each of these four single-member districts. The other three trustees would be elected at large by all qualified voters in the district. These districts should be as equal in population as is feasible. In drawing lines, current or projected population figures should be used.
2. The term of office for trustees is four years. No trustee should serve more than three terms.
3. Trustees should receive compensation per meeting in order to enable more people to participate.
4. Boundaries should be set by the School Board Trustees, allowing all citizens in the district an opportunity to have input in the drawing of these boundaries.
5. The Corpus Christi School Board of Trustees Election should not be combined with the City Council Election. When legislation affects only the local area, it was also the consensus of our members that public hearings should be held before a bill is introduced, in order to allow citizens to have input into that legislation.
Explanation In 1977 the League adopted a study of methods of electing School Board Trustees, terms of office, and number of members. Several meetings were held, with speakers giving the pros and cons on the different methods: at-large, single-member, or modified plans. Consensus was reached in late April of 1977, and since a local bill to create single-member districts had been introduced in the legislature by our local legislative delegation, a press conference was held to announce League support for a modified single-member electoral system (3-4 plan).
Letters were sent to members of the legislative education committee asking them to not pass the local bill. The bill failed, and later in 1979, the United States Federal Court ruled that the district's method of electing School Trustees at large was unconstitutional. The League again made a consensus statement to the School Board. Corpus Christi Independent School District now has a modified 3-4 method of electing school trustees and a school board comprised of men, women, and minorities.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Nueces County Road System - October 1979
After months of study, the League reached agreement in these areas:
1. The present system of administering County Road Tax Funds does not provide for the most efficient use of the funds.
2. An alternative method of administering the funds is needed.
3. Placing the issue on the ballot would provide an opportunity for public information and allow the voters to decide whether they want to change to a unit road system or retain the present system.
Explanation In 1979 the League adopted a study of the present Nueces County Road System. The purpose was to determine how the present system operates and if Nueces County should change to a unit road system (Optional Road Law of 1947) Method of Administering Road and Bridge Funds. The Program Committee went to each of the precinct warehouses and yards, looked at equipment, interviewed personnel, and looked closely at the budgets for each Commissioner's precinct. Reams of material appeared in the Voter for member information. Several for member information. Several meetings were held with speakers giving pros and cons of the present system versus the unit road system. Efforts to call an election to change to a unit road system were unsuccessful in 1979. However, in 1984 petitions were circulated, an election was held, and the Optional Road Law of 1947 (Unit Road System) was adopted for Nueces County.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Charter Review + First Phase: Annexation -September 11, 1980
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes the City of Corpus Christi should have the authority to annex additional geographic territory to protect its economic base. Specifcally, we support
1. A charter amendment to give the City Council authority to annex, without voter approval, additional territory adjacent to the city limits
2. Annexation of all developed areas adjacent to the city limits, including commercial and industrial development
3. Creation of an industrial district on a limited basis in the immediate port area only We further believe the City of Corpus Christi should exercise the power of annexation within the following guidelines:
1. Annexation of an area should take place when developed to the level that it is financially advantageous to the city.
2. Annexation should occur to protect the city's economic base and/or for reasons of public health and safety.
3. Checkerboard patterns should be avoided.
4. Annexation should be planned in advance in order to ensure needed services will be available to the newly annexed areas.
5. Services related to public health and safety should be provided immediately upon annexation, and there should be a schedule set to provide other services within a reasonable time.
6. Residents of an area to be annexed should be involved in the planning of how services will be provided. As an orderly process leading to annexation, we believe the City should continue its policy of exercising control of development in its extra-territorial jurisdiction by requiring voluntary (by contract) annexation before allowing water taps. Using platting ordinances, subdivision ordinances, building codes, etc., as well as a comprehensive master plan, planning for open spaces and capital investments will be assured.
Explanation League study of the City Charter (adopted at annual meeting, March 1980) began with the city's authority to annex. The City Charter requires voter approval of annexation, except for contractual annexation and annexation by ordinance of property adjacent to the city for roads, bridges, highways or dedicated to public use. State law (The Municipal Annexation Act) of 1963 allows a city to create industrial districts by ordinance, to negotiate contracts with each industry, and to accept payments to the city in lieu of taxes. The contracts are for seven years and guarantee the industry will not be annexed. It has been the policy of the Corpus Christi councils not to annex port-related industries or take advantage of the 1963 state law to create industrial districts. Annexation has been a highly emotional issue for years. Any proposal to annex territory--even though port-related industries were not included--has brought out heavy opposition, and the proposals were defeated. Meanwhile, industrial and commercial development was expanding rapidly in the areas adjacent to the city limits. Therefore, with the passage of Proposition 14 (a Tax Limitation Charter Amendment) on April 5, 1980, the issue of annexing developed areas around the city, particularly the age-old question of port-related industry, became a matter of concern for city hall and citizens. The City Council began to consider the creation of industrial districts and held public hearings for public comment, The League had reached consensus in September 1980 and opposed the industrial districts because they were not limited to the port area. Further League action has been to speak for a charter amendment to allow the City to annex without approval to protect its economic base.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Method of Electing City Council Members - November 1981 The League of Women Voters believes that no electoral system automatically guarantees a more representative or responsive governing body. Citizen interest and participation by all segments of the community are essential in bringing about such results.
In reviewing past city elections, we find that the current system has worked well and provided balanced representation. We believe, however, that the city's population growth in number and structure, the shifts in housing patterns, and the changing political and economic conditions are all factors in mandating a revision of the city's electoral method.
We further believe that a modified single-member system for Corpus Christi would increase minority representation on the City Council and, at the same time, allow representation for a majority of the city's voters. This type of system would serve to promote the city's best interests by encouraging community unity and individual civic response.
Specifically, we support
1. A nine-member City Council composed of eight council members and the mayor.
2. A modified single-member electoral system consisting of five single-member districts, with three places and the mayor elected at-large
3. Division of the city into five geographical single-member districts, as nearly equal in population as is feasible. Five council members reside in and are elected by voters from each of these districts; three council members and the mayor are elected by all the city's voters and are not required to reside in specific districts.
4. A two-year term of office for the City Council with no staggered terms but with a limited number of consecutive terms
5. The present level of compensation allowed council members and the mayor by the city charter
6. The presently authorized date for City Council elections
Explanation In 1981, because of changes in the political arena and the proliferation of independent candidates (no slates were formed for the 1981 election), minority representation on the City Council declined. This was becoming an issue of concern for many citizens, including League members.
The City Council, in the summer of 1981, appointed a Committee of Sixteen and charged them with finding methods to improve the representation of all segments of the community. No recommendations came from that committee. In May 1981 the League board called a general membership meeting to adopt an emergency study, "Methods of Electing Council Members." In November of 1981, the membership reached consensus supporting the expansion of the council to nine members with a modified single-member electoral system. The League became active in the community, urging the council, which supported the at-large system, to adopt a modified plan. Meanwhile, a lawsuit had been filed to change the electoral system. The council and plaintiffs held meetings and agreed to a modified plan that was approved by the United States Department of Justice in April 1983. The first election under the new plan was held August 13, 1983, resulting in a nine-member council composed of two Anglo women, one black, three Mexican-Americans, and four Anglo males. The plan adopted was the plan supported by the League.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Emergency Ambulance Service Updated Consensus - May 1, 1986
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi supports a public lifesaving emergency ambulance service. League members believe that an effective and efficient ambulance service should include
1. Vehicles properly designed and equipped for rescue and emergency care at the scene and transportation of the patient with continuing emergency care in route
2. Emergency medical personnel who meet and maintain professional standards of training, conduct, and job proficiency
3. Continuing education provided in accordance with acceptable medical standards
4. Supervision and documentation of job proficiency provided by persons with emergency health care expertise
5. An adequate level of staffing in accordance with acceptable medical standards
6. Attractive opportunities for career advancement in the emergency ambulance service in order to recruit and keep qualified paramedics
7. Utilization of qualified part-time personnel
8. Utilization of qualified volunteers (reserves)
9. A fast and accurate dispatch system. All equipment necessary to communicate between medical facility, ambulance, and police department
10. Flexible staffing and deployment of vehicles to provide the best use of equipment and personnel for optimum care
11. Planning to provide ambulances for newly developing population centers in the community
12. A diversified ambulance advisory council with citizen representation
13. An annual performance evaluation report submitted by the emergency ambulance service to the ambulance advisory council
14. An adequate, enforceable ambulance ordinance covering both public and private ambulance services
15. Organizational changes that will promote the goals listed above
Explanation The League began a study of the Corpus Christi/Nueces County public emergency ambulance service in the fall of 1985. The purposes of the study were to provide the members with current information on the ambulance service and to update the 1972 consensus position.
The League's ambulance study committee traced the development of the ambulance service from 1973 to the present time, examining both the advances made by the service and the problems facing it. Among the issues addressed were the need to keep pace with technological changes in emergency medicine, the need to ensure an adequate number of trained paramedics, the need for career advancement opportunities for paramedics, the need for continuing education, and the need for supervision by persons with medical expertise. A key question was whether the ambulance service should remain in the fire department or whether a separate emergency medical services department should be created. Some segments of the community favored establishment of a separate department whereas others thought needed reforms could be implemented within the fire department.
In conducting its research, the ambulance study committee consulted the 1985 report of the city-appointed Ambulance Ad Hoc Committee. The ad hoc committee had recommended a number of changes, including removal of the ambulance service from the fire department. News clippings and records of the Ambulance Advisory Council were also reviewed. League members with special knowledge provided additional information. To gain further insight, the study committee interviewed several persons with expert knowledge of the ambulance service, including doctors, paramedics, and government officials. The League's research resulted in a report entitled `Facts and Issues: Emergency Ambulance Service." The report was published as an insert in the Voter in March 1986. in March 1986. League members arrived at an updated consensus position on the emergency ambulance service in March 1986. The Board formally adopted the updated consensus position in May 1986.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - City Charter Revision - 1986 Members of the League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi concur with the following statement: "The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi supports the proposed revised City Charter as presented by the Charter Revision Committee."
Explanation. Although study and evaluation of the City Charter has remained an active study item on League Program for several years, the final phases of the study have been delayed because of two factors. The first factor, creation of Corpus Christi '90, made it advisable to place the League Charter Study on hold, awaiting recommendations of the CC '90 LOCAL GOVERNMENT Committee that would be studying the City Charter. The League's subsequent study of the CC '90 proposals led to League support for appointment of a Charter Review Commission to perform a comprehensive review of the City Charter.
The second factor was the Charter Review Commission that was appointed by the City Council in late 1985. Commission members met for over a year in open public meetings while working on the Charter. After the first draft of the recommendations for charter revision was compiled, the commission held two public hearings for citizen input and comment. Then, taking these comments into consideration, a final version of the revised charter was prepared and submitted to the City Council, along with a request that the proposed amendments be included on the April 1987 City Election Ballot for voter consideration. League members actively participated in both Corpus Christi '90 and the Charter Review Commission, providing valuable input about League positions on the issues being studied. League members also attended many Council meetings, public hearings, and various Board and Commission Meetings as observers.
Two unit meetings were held in February for League members to discuss the Charter Revision proposals. A joint meeting of the Thursday and Saturday units was held March 7 for the purpose of arriving at consensus on this subject. Members agreed with the proposed amendments to revise the City Charter and lobbied for their passage. All City Charter amendments placed on the ballot of April 4, 1987, passed.
NATURAL RESOURCES - Sand Dunes - August 1, 1973
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes the barrier islands sand dunes provide a vital natural system of protection for the inland areas along the Gulf Coast. Since these areas contain a significant portion of our state's human, natural, and recreational resources, we believe it is the responsibility of government at all levels to take the necessary steps for the stabilization and preservation of the sand dunes.
Therefore we recommend the following:
1. Vigorous support of programs to protect and increase the vegetation on the dunes
2. Prohibiting vehicular traffic on the dunes
3. Confining pedestrian traffic to specific areas
4. Restricting private property owners from removing or altering dunes on their property
5. Presenting public information programs
6. Conveniently locating information booths
7. Continuing public access to the beaches
8. Enforcing speed limits and all public safety regulations
9. Providing adequate litter barrels and fining violators
Explanation The League became concerned with the protection of the dunes on the barrier islands during the period of our Park and Recreation studies that began in the middle 1960s. In early 1970 the League began an in-depth study of the dunes. Many meetings were held, with speakers who presented results of studies done on the preservation of the dunes. We also had go-see tours to the islands. Meanwhile, controversy was developing in our area over recreational vehicles' destruction of the dunes, plus the citizens' right to use the beaches. League study was interrupted by Hurricane Celia, but members reached consensus in 1973. In 1978 the League did a re-evaluation of our consensus because new state laws had been passed and increased development was occurring on the islands.
Updated Consensus-October 1978
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes the barrier islands sand dunes provide a vital natural system of protection for the inland areas along the Gulf Coast. Since these areas contain a significant portion of our state's human, natural, and recreational resources, we believe it is the responsibility of government at all levels to take the necessary steps for stabilization and preservation of the sand dunes. The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes that existing laws, regulations, and guidelines do not provide adequate protection of the barrier islands; therefore, the League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi will support measures that include: 1. A Master Plan for the development on the barrier islands; 2. Formulation of guidelines for issuance of permits for development on the barrier islands by the State Land Commissioner, with enforcement of guidelines in the hands of local authorities, including the guidelines provision for compliance bonds guaranteeing revegetation of the sand dunes. Once established, there should be no deviation from these guidelines. 3. More stringent penalties for violations of the Dunes Protection Act and clearly stated procedures for prosecution of violators. The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi believes citizen input is a necessity in establishing guidelines for issuance of permits and the molding of a Master Plan. The League also believes it is vital for citizens to be given adequate notice (30 days) before issuance of a permit, using all news media available. Believing that the barrier islands should continue as a significant portion of our state's human, natural, and recreational resources, the League of Women Voters will support
1. Programs to protect and increase the vegetation on the sand dunes, including prohibition of vehicular traffic on the dunes; 2. Continued public access to the beaches 3. Public safety regulations with vigorous enforcement Explanation With our original consensus and 1978 update, the League began to speak out and sponsor programs to inform the public about the importance of the barrier islands. In 1973, under authority of the Dunes Protection Act, the Nueces County Commissioners Court adopted a resolution establishing a dunes protection line on Mustang and Padre islands. The line extends from the south jetty of the Corpus Christi-Port Aransas Ship Channel southward to the Nueces/ Kleberg County line. The line extends a distance of 1000 feet landward of mean high tide of the Gulf of Mexico. As provided by the act, the resolution ordered that permit applications for any changes in dune structure within the protected area should be made to the Commissioners Court for review and further prohibited operation of recreational vehicles on any dune within the protected line.
As permit applications for development began to escalate in 1978, the Commissioners Court appointed an advisory committee to review each application and make on-site inspections to provide the Court (and the public) with information about projects prior to the date the permit application would be on the agenda. A League member was appointed to this Nueces County Dunes Protection Committee and continues to make the field trips and take part in the evaluation. The importance of protecting the barrier islands prompted the League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi to join the Nueces County Commissioners Court and League of Women Voters of Texas in a request that the General Land Office designate critical dunes areas in Nueces County that are "essential to the protection of state-owned lands, shores and submerged land." Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong responded to the request and made such designation effective July 7, 1978. The designated area corresponds to the area established by the Nueces County Commissioners Court resolution.
In December 1980 a League member accepted Commissioner Armstrong's appointment to serve on the Critical Dunes Identification Committee. The criteria adopted would act as the basis for evaluation. The procedure for permit applications is that each one is made to the Commissioners Court and the General Land Office. A date is set for a meeting with the applicants; usually at least two or three are processed at one meeting for convenience. A staff person from the Coastal Division of the General Land Office attends and asks the applicants to make their presentations. Then on-site inspections are made. Negotiations are frequently necessary to make proposed plans conform to the guidelines, and monitoring is necessary to ensure compliance. The dunes committee acts in an advisory capacity only.
The latest step in protection of the barrier islands has been the formation of the Coastal Bend Beach Task Force. This group is the middle segment of a Beach Task Force concept that will include the Galveston and South Padre Island areas as proposed by Garry Mauro, Commissioner of the General Land Office. The stated objectives for the Coastal Bend Task Force are, in brief, to increase public awareness as to the importance of our coastal beaches, sand dunes and attendant economic assets; to produce a comprehensive document on each asset and sand dune management; and to encourage other eligible coastal counties to participate with the Texas General Land Office in implementing the Dunes Protection Act. A League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi member was appointed to the Coastal Bend Task Force. The total group was broken into six subcommittees whose tasks are to address a number of listed issues and report back to the full body. Senator Babe Swartz has agreed to chair the task force. The plan is that after the three task forces have done their work, three or four members from each force will meet to evaluate and develop proposals for new regulations/laws for better ways to manage our valuable coastal resources. Working under our consensus, the League continues to monitor all actions that affect the barrier islands in our area.
NATURAL RESOURCES - Development of Corpus Christi Beach -November 11, 1982
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi supports a Master Plan for the development of Corpus Christi Beach.
Specifically, we support
1. An overall Master Development Plan for the entire Beach Peninsula
2. Strict adherence, with no variances, to all City Building Codes
3. Restrictions on the height and residential density of buildings on the Beach Peninsula
4. Provision of public transportation to assure full access to the area To provide public assess to the restored beach, the League will continue to support
1. Using the provisions of the Corpus Christi Beach Master Plan of May 11, 1966, which designates at least six access roads leading to large parking areas adjacent to the west side of the sandy beach
2. Providing a buffer zone between the sandy beach and private property to emphasize public ownership of the restored beach
3. Keeping open all existing public streets leading to the Corpus Christi Bay waterfront
For recreational development, the League supports
1. A detailed development plan for the beach public land, parks and the sandy beach
2. Prohibition of the sale, lease, or exchange of Beach public park lands to individuals or developers
3. Banning of glass bottles and containers on the beach and in the parks
4. Construction of restrooms, showers, and recreational facilities to be located conveniently near all parts of the sandy beach, as well as in the Beach parks, and construction of a fishing pier at the north end of the beach
5. Placing a high priority on the development of the beach public areas, particularly beach access areas and public parks
Explanation The League's interest in the Corpus Christi Beach Restoration project began in the early 1960s as the members were studying Parks and Recreation. At that time plans were evolving for restoring the eroded beach to provide a major recreational facility for this region. In 1966 the City Council adopted the Beach Master Plan, which designated a large north-end park, six parking areas parallel to the sandy beach, and other public conveniences. This plan was incorporated into the Corps of Engineers Plan of Improvement that was submitted to Congress. Congress approved and funded the project. Local voters approved their local share in a 1972 bond issue. The League had studied this plan and supported the 1966 Master Plan and also supported the 1972 bond issue.
The project was completed and turned over to the City in 1978. Nothing was done to develop the beach until 1982, when some parking and restrooms were built on the north and south ends. In 1982 the League again studied the beach, this time with emphasis on access to the beach and recreational facilities.
During this study the city staff had proposed a Bayfront Development Plan that included the Beach. The League opposed the new development plan regarding parking and access to the beach. The Bayfront Development Plan that replaces the 1966 Master Plan was adopted by the Council in December 1982. The League continued to oppose these beach development plans for parking areas. In 1984 a new proposal was adopted for beach parking which the League supports except for one portion calling for on-street parking. No funds have yet been provided for these new parking plans.
NATURAL RESOURCES - Bayfront Master Development Plan + July 1983
The League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi recognizes the value of tourism and conventions as major industries necessary for diversification of the economy of our area. We further consider the bayfront area to be our most unique asset and, therefore, feel it should be developed in a manner that will provide quality facilities for the benefit of the total community. Because this asset--the bayfront --is nonrenewable, we feel there is a vital need for procedures to assure a balance between development and protection of this valuable resource. Specifically, we support a Master Bayfront Plan for the development of the bayfront area. The plan should include
1. Creation of a special zoning district for the Bayfront area
2. Demolition of public buildings on the Shoreline Boulevard median, as the buildings are no longer needed for city use, and dedication of the median as a parkway
3. Creation of a detailed plan for security protection of the public in its use of public facilities such as beaches, parks, and marina areas Since the Bayfront Project Plan which is being considered for adoption by the Corpus Christi City Council on July 27, 1983, has numerous proposals and covers a twenty-year time span, the League of Women Voters of Corpus Christi will study each project as details of specific designs and financing are proposed. We will then support or oppose each project based on its merits. However, at this time we recommend that the Project Plan amending process be changed to provide review by the various boards, commissions, and committees, with public hearings to ensure citizen input.
We further recommend that the City Council establish a Bayfront Commission. This commission should have power to pass on the acceptability of any project proposed for the bayfront in order to preserve this unique asset. The commission should be charged with deciding acceptable building height and architecture, landscaping, density of use, and the impact on the environment or ecology. To ensure the committee's credibility with the community, members should be chosen to represent various segments of the community and different viewpoints. The commission should have broad enough representation to include citizens whose concerns are primarily esthetics and environment, as well as those whose interest is primarily economic.
Explanation The League's concern began in 1964 when members adopted a study of area parks and recreation facilities. In 1965 the League reached its first positions and began action to improve parks through Support of bond issues; Establishing a bay drilling committee; Control of erosion in Cole Park; A master plan for park development During 1966-67 the study continued with emphasis on development of parks and facilities for tourists and conventions, and the League supported bond issues to build the present convention center and a multipurpose arena.
In 1968-69 members reevaluated our consensus to formulate more specific guidelines and to expand the study areas to include the restoration of Corpus Christi (North) Beach; conservation of the barrier island sand dunes; public beaches to remain open to all citizens In 1982, when the city officially designated a portion of the city "Corpus Christi Reinvestment Zone No. 1," it became necessary to adopt a Bayfront project plan. The Zone generally includes the Bayfront from Corpus Christi (North) Beach to Agnes Street. This plan was only the second plan adopted by the Council for the Bayfront area (Corpus Christi Beach plan of 1966 was the first plan) and was the first comprehensive plan. The plan covered seventy projects proposed to be accomplished over a twenty-year period. League consensus was to support the master Bayfront plan for development of the Bayfront areas, and + since the plan covered a twenty-year span + to study each project as details of specific designs and financing are proposed, supporting or opposing each project based on its merits.
At the Annual Meeting of the Corpus Christi League of Women Voters in March 1983, the League members voted to expand the Beach Study to include the Bayfront Project Plan as adopted by the Corpus Christi City Council in December 1982. On that date the City Council of Corpus Christi designated a portion of the city as a reinvestment zone pursuant to the Tax Increment Financing Act of 1981. This area was officially designated as Corpus Christi Reinvestment Zone No. 1 and includes the Corpus Christi Beach Area and an area in and along the central business district south to approximately Ayers Street. The plan, which draws from a number of planning and engineering studies done in the past, is only the second plan adopted by the Council for the bayfront area (Corpus Christi Beach 1966) and is the first comprehensive one. The plan gives an overview of the "opportunities and constraints" of four sub-units of the Bayfront Area identified as 1) The Central Business District, 2) Shoreline Boulevard and Ocean Drive, 3) The Marina Area, 4) Corpus Christi Beach. The plan covers seventy projects proposed to be accomplished over a twenty- year period (1982+2002) using various financing techniques, including private sector capital, General Obligation Bonds, Industrial Revenue Bonds, Multi-family Tax Exempt Financing, and Tax Increment Financing. The Tax Increment Financing Act of 1981 was/is supported by the Texas Leagues as a tool to assist cities to develop or redevelop their downtown areas or other blighted areas.
In July 1983 our League reached consensus in support of a Master Plan as quoted on pages 26+27. Action under this consensus has been taken to lobby for demolition of all city buildings on the Shoreline Median and to support the building of a new city hall on the bluff. Also we have supported the creation of a Bayfront Activities Committee to recommend plans for use of the median on Shoreline Boulevard.
In 1987, acting under our consensus, the League began a study of the city staff's recommendations for a "people-friendly" Bayfront plan that recommended the creation of a permanent Bayfront Festival Park in the Shoreline median in the area between Furman Avenue and Laguna Street and a change in the traffic pattern.* The League supported this proposal, but it failed. *(Rerouting the existing East Shoreline Boulevard to adjoin West Shoreline Boulevard between Furman Avenue and Laguna Street, beginning at Furman Street on the south and combining both north and southbound Shoreline Boulevard traffic onto a six-lane boulevard aligned with East Shoreline Boulevard, transitioning back to the existing East Shoreline Boulevard between Coopers Alley and Laguna Street.)
In 2002 the League began re-studying this position in response to the City's July 2001 Request for Proposal. On April 23, 2002, questions and a statement resulting from this re-study were presented to the City Council. On August 21, 2003, the members requested that a letter be sent to the City Council and Mayor stating that, based on the information provided in the Memorandum of Understanding Redevelopment of the Corpus Christi Marina, Draft 7/22/03 (the Landry's proposal), the League of Women Voters + Corpus Christi cannot support the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan as proposed in the current document. Members' major concerns included, but were not limited to, the length of the lease, financial arrangements, lack of "uniqueness," and parking. The City stopped negotiations in early September.