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The QueQue: TPWD burro killings roiling West Texas, Preservation fights continue to percolate River Road

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For TPWD’s part, public protest is expected to exact no change in policy. David Riskind, director of natural resources for the parks agency, told the AP recently they were not “re-evaluating” their policies.

 

Preservation fights continue to percolate River Road

River Road-ers love to pack meetings. With months of pushing, they talked the city into giving them Historic District status in February 2010. By last spring, another fight emerged and the River Road crowd, along with the Headwaters Coalition, took the city to court for straying too far from a bond-funded voter-approved drainage project along Broadway (State District Judge David Berchelmann blocked the city from moving forward on the project in May, setting a jury trial for the end of this month).

And River Road scored another victory last week at a lengthy city Zoning Board of Adjustments meeting, saving the neighborhood’s 1940s era “little tile house” from demolition. Naturally, it’s a victory that’ll likely put them back in court.

In July, the city’s Historic Design and Review Commission denied a request by developer Five Acres/SA Ltd. to tear down the small house at 112 Lindell Place to make way for a six-unit apartment complex in the neighborhood. Like most preservation fights, the one surrounding the tile house turned into a broader battle over development versus conservation. Many from other historical districts packed July’s hearing, claiming the demolition would set a dangerous trend putting other historic neighborhoods at risk. After hours of lawyering and community members pleading for the city to save the house, the review commission agreed the house may hold cultural value in the neighborhood and blocked the demo.

A long stream of River Road-ers were on hand to plead with the board to keep the house standing. Donna Martin, who lives near the house, decried “that monolith they wish to place next to me. … This little tile house deserves to be saved.” The developer will decide within the next week whether to appeal the city’s decision to block demolition to the district court. Daniel Ortiz, a lawyer with the development firm, said his client would actively consider it.

 

Corpus refinery row exacts grumbles, little progress

When state regulators, local leaders, and industry representatives sat down to commune with neighbors who say they’ve been poisoned in the shadow of Corpus Christi’s Refinery Row for an EPA-prompted environmental summit last Friday, they did so in the midst of a growing GOP war on the federal regulator, one fueled by the Texas political establishment.

Friday’s summit at Del Mar College aimed to mark a turning point for environmental justice in the Sparkling City by the Sea, a time for all parties to sit down and hash out tangible, but voluntary, steps to fix Refinery Row, said Al Armendariz, the EPA’s top regulator in Texas.

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