GALVESTON, Texas (June 24, 2013) –
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District will host three public meetings in July to seek input on the proposed changes to its permit setback policy along the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway.
The first meeting is scheduled for July 1 at 4 p.m., at the Freeport Community House located at 1300 West Second Street, Freeport, TX 77541. The second meeting will be hosted July 2 at 4 p.m., at the Port O'Connor Community Center located at 3674 W. Adams Avenue, Port O'Connor, TX 77982, while the third meeting is scheduled to be held in Port Isabel in mid July (time, date and location are still being coordinated).
“We encourage the public to attend these meetings,” said Capt. Derek Thornton, an operations manager in the Navigation Branch for the USACE Galveston District. “We will specifically be addressing the oversight of construction of structures and /or fill permits along the GIWW to increase safety and preserve the ability to maintain the waterway and are seeking public feedback and input on this proposed policy change.”
A setback is the distance that a structure must be “set back” from the edge of the channel to ensure there are no encroachments in the navigable channel to support safe transportation and maintain sufficient clearance for dredging the channel. Working with federal and state partner agencies as well as the commercial towing industry, the district identified five areas of navigation concern to include bends, bridges, mooring facilities, waterfront structural congestion/encroachment areas and land encroachments, which will be discussed at these public meetings.
“With increased development along the GIWW, it is imperative that we develop a predictable and repeatable policy for authorizing structures along the GIWW to maintain the compatibility of these important functions,” said Col. Christopher Sallese, USACE Galveston District commander. “To do this, we established setbacks from the GIWW channel where structures could be placed without interfering with navigation on the GIWW and identified areas of concern where a heightened permit evaluation was necessary.”
Sallese stated that the proposed policy is not designed with the intent to dissuade or impede construction along the GIWW outside of the established setbacks and that the district will not be issuing letters of non-compliance to any structure constructed inside the setback that are in compliance with an authorized permit (permitted prior to these proposed changes).
The public is encouraged to participate in the public comment process to provide feedback regarding the proposed policy changes. The proposed Commander's Policy Memorandum provides general policy and guidance for Department of the Army permits along the GIWW and can be viewed in its entirety at www.swg.usace.army.mil
For more information about the district’s permitting process, visit http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/Missions/Permits.aspx
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