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This is why Galveston can’t grow - The Galveston County Daily News : Guest Columns

November 27, 2014

This is why Galveston can’t grow

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Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:00 am

Galveston District 3 Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton, in the article “Beachtown developer pleads for payment” (The Daily News, Jan. 18), in one sentence captures what is wrong with Galveston’s development climate and what continues to hamper capital investment and growth.

Here, the developer of a very significant project stands before the Island Redevelopment Authority, the body authorized to advance growth, support Galveston’s commitments and attract investment, and “pleads” for reimbursement.

According to the article, the investor is owed some $11.8 million for infrastructure outlays, and like many others, the progress of the project was impacted by Hurricane Ike and U.S. housing markets.

The article says the developer made the “zone improvements” but didn’t construct the project “simultaneously” with them.

And Beeton, who has been “ousted” from the authority but weighs in from her perch, says that the authority should withhold the money it apparently owes the developer until a new development plan is presented or the timeline is changed.

“That would give the developer an incentive to develop, which is lacking now,” Beeton is quoted as saying.

There is so much wrong with that simple statement that it would be laughable were it not so skewed.

Give the developer an incentive to develop?

He is a developer with an ongoing project on the books.

This is lacking now?

His attorney represents him before the authority pleading his case, and he has reasonable plans to move ahead given market conditions for 2014.

Is the developer owed $11.8 million for public improvements?

If he is, Galveston should begin forking it over, stimulating the further investment and growth the authority is meant to achieve, while Beeton and her anti-growth ideology remain on the sideline, where she belongs.

Only Galveston can turn an “economic tool used by cities to spur development” into an anti-growth weapon against a developer.