PART 1. GENERAL LAND OFFICE
CHAPTER 15. COASTAL AREA PLANNING
SUBCHAPTER A. MANAGEMENT OF THE BEACH/DUNE SYSTEM
31 TAC §15.32
The General Land Office (GLO) proposes amendments to §15.32 relating to Certification Status of Cameron County Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan (Plan). The amendment to §15.32 proposes to add a new subsection (d) to certify an amendment to Cameron County's (the County) Plan as consistent with state law.
Copies of the County's Plan can be obtained by contacting the Cameron County Parks and Recreation Department, 33174 State Park Road 100, South Padre Island, Texas 78597, phone number (956) 761-3700, and GLO's Archives Division, Texas General Land Office, P.O. Box 12873, Austin, Texas 78711-2873, phone number (512) 475-1859.
Pursuant to the Open Beaches Act (Texas Natural Resources Code, Chapter 61) and the Beach/Dune Rules (31 TAC §§15.1 - 15.12 and §§15.21 - 15.37), a local government with jurisdiction over Gulf Coast Beaches must submit its dune protection and beach access plan and any amendments to the plan to the GLO for certification pursuant to 31 TAC §15.3(o). The GLO reviews a local beach access and dune protection plan and amendments to the plan and, if appropriate, certifies that the plan is consistent with state law by amendment of a rule as authorized in Texas Natural Resources Code §61.011(d)(5) and §61.015(b). The certification by rule reflects the state's certification of the plan, but the text of the plan is not adopted by the GLO as provided in 31 TAC §15.3(o)(4).
Cameron County is a coastal county consisting of areas bordering Willacy County to the north, Hidalgo County to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Mexican State of Tamaulipas to the south. The areas governed by the Plan include those beaches and adjacent areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico located in unincorporated areas within the County.
ANALYSIS OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
The County adopted the current amendment to the Plan on August 15, 2013 in Order No. 201308020 and submitted the change to the GLO with a request for certification of the amendment as consistent with state law. The amendment proposes changes to the Plan to authorize Cameron County's closure of a beach and associated access points during space flight activities on a primary or backup launch date. Specifically, the amendment prohibits the County from closing the beach on a primary launch date without prior approval from the General Land Office on the Saturday or Sunday preceding Memorial Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and a Saturday or Sunday that falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The amendment also provides that Cameron County will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the General Land Office to address beach closures for space launch activities. The amendment to §15.32 relating to Certification Status of Cameron County Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan proposes to add subsection (d) to certify the County's proposed amendment to the Plan as consistent with state law.
FISCAL AND EMPLOYMENT IMPACTS
Ms. Helen Young, Deputy Commissioner for the GLO's Coastal Resources Program Area, has determined that for each year of the first five years the amended section as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for the state government as a result of enforcing or administering the amended section. However, Mrs. Young has determined that there will be a fiscal impact on the local government as a result of enforcing or administering the amended section. The GLO, however, cannot estimate the costs to Cameron County because the costs of closing of a beach and associated access points will be dependent upon numerous factors unique to each flight.
Ms. Young has determined that there will be no additional costs of compliance for large and small businesses resulting from implementation of the amendment to the Plan.
Ms. Young has determined that for each year of the first five years the amended section, as proposed, is in effect, there will be impacts to the local economy. Cameron County expects that the amendment will serve the public interest in the County by encouraging development and diversification of the economy, the elimination of unemployment or underemployment, and the development or expansion of transportation and commerce by facilitating the operation of space launches in the County.
Ms. Young has determined that for the first five years the public will benefit from the proposed amendments because they are tailored to protect the unique natural features of County beaches. The Plan authorizes the utilization of the unique virtues of the area for purposes of space flight while ensuring the public's health and safety and preserving the right of the public to access County beaches. Ms. Young has determined that the probable economic costs to persons required to comply with the amended rule will be the costs associated with visiting County beaches that are not closed, which may result in increased transportation costs and the payment of beach user fees by beach goers.
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY ANALYSIS
The GLO has evaluated the proposed rulemaking action in light of the regulatory analysis requirements of Texas Government Code §2001.0225 and determined that the action is not subject to §2001.0225 because it does not meet the definition of a "major environmental rule" as defined in the statute. "Major environmental rule" means a rule the specific intent of which is to protect the environment or reduce risks to human health from environmental exposure and that may adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, or the public health and safety of the state or a sector of the state. The proposed amendments to §15.32 are not anticipated to adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, or the public health and safety of the state or a sector of the state because the proposed rulemaking implements legislative requirements in Texas Natural Resources Code §§61.011 - 61.015 relating to the protection and preservation of the public's free and unrestricted right of ingress and egress to the public beach.
TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The GLO has evaluated the proposed rulemaking in accordance with Texas Government Code §2007.043(b) and §2.18 of the Attorney General's Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act Guidelines to determine whether a detailed takings impact assessment is required. GLO has determined that the proposed rulemaking to certify the County's Plan as consistent with state law does not affect private real property in a manner that requires real property owners to be compensated as provided by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution or Article I, §17 and §19 of the Texas Constitution. Furthermore, GLO has determined that the proposed rulemaking would not affect any private real property in a manner that restricts or limits any owner's right to property that would otherwise exist in the absence of the rule amendment.
CONSISTENCY WITH COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
The proposed rulemaking is subject to the Coastal Management Program (CMP) as provided for in the Texas Natural Resources Code §33.2053 and 31 TAC §505.11(a)(1)(J) and §505.11(c), relating to the Actions and Rules Subject to the CMP. GLO has reviewed this proposed action for consistency with the CMP goals and policies in accordance with the regulations and has determined that the proposed action is consistent with the applicable CMP goals and policies. The applicable goals and policies are found at 31 TAC §501.12 (relating to Goals) and §501.26 (relating to Policies for Construction in the Beach/Dune System).
The amended rule provides certification that the County's adoption of the amendment to the Plan is consistent with the CMP goals outlined in 31 TAC §501.12(2), (5) and (6). These goals seek to ensure compatible economic development and multiple uses of the coastal zone, balance the benefits of human use of the coastal zone and the benefits of protecting and preserving Coastal Natural Resource Areas (CNRAs), and ensure coordination of GLO and local government decision-making through the establishment of clear, effective policies for the management of CNRAs. The amendment is tailored to the unique natural features of County beaches, seeks to authorize the utilization of the unique virtues of the area for purposes of space flight while ensuring the public's health and safety and preserving the right of the public to access County beaches.
PUBLIC COMMENT REQUEST
To comment on the proposed rulemaking or its consistency with the CMP goals and policies, please send a written comment to Mr. Walter Talley, Texas Register Liaison, Texas General Land Office, P.O. Box 12873, Austin, Texas 78711, facsimile number (512) 475-1859 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this proposal.
The amendment is proposed under Texas Natural Resources Code §61.011, relating to GLO's authority to adopt rules for the contents and certification of beach access and use plans and the closure of beaches for space flight activities.
Texas Natural Resources Code §§61.011 - 61.026 are affected by the proposed amendments.
§15.32.Certification Status of Cameron County Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan.
(a) - (c) (No change.)
(d) The General Land Office certifies Cameron County's Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan, as amended, to provide for the closure of a beach and associated access points during space flight activities as consistent with state law. The amendment was adopted by Cameron County on August 15, 2013 in Order No. 201308020.
The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.
Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 22, 2013.
Chief Clerk, Deputy Land Commissioner
General Land Office
Earliest possible date of adoption: January 5, 2014
For further information, please call: (512) 475-1859