Dredge Spoil Site Location Causes Concerns
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has published a public notice of a draft dredged material management plan that proposes to utilize the 110 acre tract of the Bay Oaks Harbor Section 2 subdivision as a dredge spoil site.
The plan proposes perimeter containment berms as tall as 32 feet capable of holding over 2 million cubic yards of dredge spoils. The dredging project itself is routine maintenance dredging of the portion of Cedar Bayou managed by the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District, and the City is not opposed to this portion of the project.
The City of Baytown does oppose the portion of the project that includes the dredge spoil site location, based on economic development, health and safety, environmental and quality of life concerns.
The city has a substantial interest that will be affected by the tentatively selected plan, which includes the continued maintenance of the lower Cedar Bayou Navigation Channel with the proposed construction and placement of maintenance material into a new placement area located within the corporate limits ofthe City of Baytown (PA 7). The City of Baytown believes that allowing PA 7 at the proposed site has potentially grave effects on the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Baytown and the public at large.
The proposed PA 7 is situated on property that is zoned as General Commercial and is immediately adjacent to property zoned as Single-Family Estate, which is reserved for single-family detached dwellings at a density of less than one dwelling unit per acre.
The proposed site is not conducive to the placement or management of dredged materials, as the highest and best use of the site is for commercial retail development serving the neighboring and planned residential developments. To allow the proposed use would have detrimental economic impact on the City and is expected to thwart the planned development in the area.
Additionally, the proposed site is across Tri-City Beach Road from an existing recreational vehicle park and the Bay Oaks Harbor Subdivision, where citizens and visitors alike enjoy the natural amenities the City of Baytown has to offer, including its bays and wildlife.
Moreover, the clearing of vegetation for the proposed use will be injurious not only to the use and enjoyment of surrounding properties, but also to wildlife and threatened and/or endangered species, including the bald eagle, which has established its home a short distance from the proposed site.
Lastly, the dredge spoils in the ship channel area are a significant source of mosquitoes that plague the western portions of the City of Baytown. Specifically, the dredge spoils at the proposed placement area would create an environment that would allow mosquito breeding in the southeastern quadrant of the City. Without a funded plan to abate the issue with a combination of larviciding and adulticiding the entire site, the tentatively selected plan places public health at risk.