Changes To Ordinances on South Padre Island Relating to Spring Break

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - There are changes to ordinances in the city of South Padre Island. A mass gathering ordinance and short term property rentals are changing Spring Break as we know it. KVEO’s Alfredo Cuadros goes in depth as to why change was necessary. Now more regulations are in place. What does this mean for spring breakers in the years to come and what it means for you.

2017 had a busy Spring Break Season with nearly 137,000 people on these beaches. 3 people died and police responded to 762 high level offenses and class C Misdemeanors. The statistics seem shocking, but they're very similar to previous years.

Yet this year, local property owners joined forces to demand change. Just days after Spring Break, island residents called a meeting for more regulation. The problem, Spring Breakers were going away from the beaches and tourist destinations and now going into neighborhoods. Something that prompted them to call this one of the worst spring break seasons of all time.

Long time island resident Shane Wilson said, “The amount of individuals that came down. The clientele that was drawn… it wasn't your typical college kid.”

Wilson created a petition to 'Save' South Padre Island. But not everyone was in favor of more regulation. Local Business owner Clayton Brashear started his own petition. One that asked to save spring break. His claims the season is a big part of local business. According to the city's research, Marc is the 3rd highest revenue generating month.

Clayton Brashear – SPI Business owner, “People like to target things that they don't frequent. If you don't like rap music, or you don't like EDM, you're not going to like the venue that has them.

The problem wasn't with the venues or the crowds on the beach. It's what happened after the party. Oftentimes, spring breakers staying at a house or condo would take the party home with them. That lead to more police calls in residential areas.

Chief Randy Smith – SPI Police, “Every year I hear people say, get the state police, get partners… we have those partners and there is a lot of them.”

Police conduct annual statistics. Their findings were normal complaints.

Chief Smith, “Every year they seem to be about the same. And every year I hear the same thing right after spring break, 'oh this was the worst. This was the best.' Depending on who you're talking to that is where their position was."

According to the 2017 Spring break analysis, the city's latest figures show over 200 votes asking for no change. I spoke to the City Manager to tell us about the city's view of Spring Break statistics.

Susan Guthrie – SPI City Manager said, “It was a very positive year numbers were up across the board. So economically it was really good.”

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. On July 5th, city council approved new changes coming to both ordinances.

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 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.

So what does this mean for spring breakers? And what does it mean for local residents?

Most Spring Breakers are likely to notice more security, restrooms and cleanup, as it relates to the venue ordinance. Spring Breakers seeking to profit from short term property rentals with house parties should be discouraged from doing so with hefty fines.

Some Property Owners and local residents will be slightly more at ease knowing irresponsible property owners will be held accountable for their property.

But not everyone agrees with the changes. For some, more regulation means more restrictions to do business.

If you're interested in the new ordinances or the full Spring Break analysis, you can find them on our website RGVProud.com


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