The Harborwalk in Hitchcock is a well known Galveston hot spot. Home to a marina, boat launch, restaurant, and even a swimming pool, it should be a bustling location. Instead, the entire area has been boarded up amidst a dispute among the location’s owner, the Flamingo Isles Municipal Utility District, and the Harborwalk Property Owners Association.
In total, the property consists of a 150-slip marina, yacht club, swimming pool, restaurant, ship store/welcome center, and extra real estate opposite the marina for expansion. The property was bought after previous owners went bankrupt; and, significant repairs were needed to get the property functional again. After pouring money into repairs, Harborwalk ran into a huge problem. The Harborwalk Property Owners Association has refused to vacate commercial properties and the Flamingo Isles Municipal Utility District has refused to properly dredge the marina. Although the utility district is responsible for dredging activities, it hasn’t dredged the Harborwalk, causing serious financial consequences. Without being dredged, the marina water is unsafe for boats. Last year, many boats were unable to dock at Harborwalk and many that tried were damaged. Harborwalk’s owner alleges the property owners association and the utility district are refusing to acknowledge and enforce the terms of the sale.
The dispute is a complicated one. Firstly, the utility district is a government agency, which means it has certain legal requirements and responsibilities to meet. Determining whether or not the agency has met these requirements and responsibilities is not always straightforward. Secondly, Harborwalk will have to contend with a property owners association, which also poses legal challenges. Property owners associations usually have their own bylaws and requirements for all members.
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