A change in policy coming to South Padre Island.
Only a few days after spring break residents gathered demanding change in the form of petitions to the city. From those meetings two petitions were born, Save our Island and Save Spring Break. One led by Property Owners Who Care, a homeowner association, the other led by local business owners.
I had an opportunity to meet with South Padre’s City manager to discuss what complaints the city had received.
City Manager Susan Guthrie tells News Center 23, “I think some of the issue was that a lot of the calls for service were from the neighborhoods versus at the venues.”
According to the city manager, Spring break is one of the top 3 generators for the city.
For 12 weeks the City of South Padre Island formed committees to oversee problems and concerns of the people. That resulted in 2 committees, one for short term property rentals and another to regulate mass gathering . After twelve weeks city council approved new changes coming to both ordinances.
Mass gathering gatherings of a 1000 people will require more regulations such as Emergency Medical Service plans, Food Proposals, Sanitation Facilities, and a litter plan among other restrictions.
The Short Term Property Rental Ordinance will see changes to specific wording. Property owners should have a local contact person responding to police on site in case a a large residential party break out. This was done because police cannot enter unless a situation is extreme. Oftentimes house parties may promote illicit activities such as underage drinking and drug sale/consumption.
South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith tells us, “It seems like every year we fix a few problems and then some new ones pop up.”
These ordinances are made to alleviate police resources. With these modifications, law enforcement may be able to respond quicker.
The fines for the proposed changes may be a deterrent for potential violators. Failure to comply with short term property rules will set back property owners up to 500 dollars per hour of noncompliance. Mass gathering sites could lose the right renew permits for an entire year.
These changes can be amended in the future. They may change as times, events, or even unforeseen technology may change.
In short, Spring Break is not going away, but more regulation is in place.
Here is a copy of the ordinances.