Coastal Resources Division
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, City Hall is currently not accepting walk-in customer traffic.
You can submit building permit applications and code enforcement complaints online through the ePortal, https://eportal.galvestontx.gov/citizenaccess/.
The Planning and Coastal Resources Divisions will accept applications via email. For the time being, fence, swimming pool, and roof permit applications will also be accepted via email.
We are available by phone and email during regular business hours, 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday.
Please be advised that Development Services is operating with reduced staff and some employees may not have access to their phones. For immediate assistance, we encourage you to email the Planning Counter at email@example.com.
Coastal Resources Division
The Coastal Resources Division performs a variety of administrative, policy and technical work around the current and long range planning programs related to coastal resources. Duties include overseeing the implementation and management of the City of Galveston’s Coastal Management Plan; evaluate federal and state land use law and impacts on local plans and ordinances related to the relationship between private property for the equity and sustainability of natural resource use; and gathering, interpreting and preparing data for studies. Reports and recommends to City Council, Planning Commission and stakeholder groups.
Hurricane Laura/Tropical Storm Beta - Emergency Repairs
Hurricane Laura made landfall around 1:00am on August 27, 2020. Overall, Galveston Island received minimal damage, although the storm surge (estimated at around 4 feet) did remove or redistribute sand and dunes along Galveston Island's beachfront.
Tropical Storm Beta made landfall around 11:00pm on September 21, 2020, and its storm surge caused additional damage to beach and dune areas on Galveston Island.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have received many inquiries about making repairs after the storm. Please see this Frequently Asked Questions guide for more information:
(This FAQ may be periodically updated as we receive further clarification from the General Land Office, additional questions from the public, etc.)
Emergency Dune Restoration Projects
On September 1, 2020 at 3:10pm the General Land Office informed the City that they have adopted emergency rules which allow local jurisdictions such as the City of Galveston to expedite the beachfront construction and dune protection permitting process for emergency dune restoration activities. These emergency rules are effective for 120 days, or until December 30, 2020.
The GLO informed the City on October 2, 2020, in response to Tropical Storm Beta, that additional emergency rules were adopted and effect for 120 days, or until January 29, 2021. In addition to the previously adopted emergency rules regarding emergency dune restoration activities, these additional emergency rules allow the City of Galveston to authorize emergency repairs for stabilization and repair of damaged habitable structures.
The emergency rules apply to dune restoration projects to allow homeowners to restore dunes to minimize further threat or damage to coastal residents and littoral property, and to take necessary actions to make structures habitable, prevent further damage to, or protect public health, safety, and welfare.
Property owners that intend to complete an emergency dune restoration project should review, complete and fill out the following application form.
Due to email attachment size limitations, we highly recommend you submit application materials (photographs, drawings, and other documents) using a file sharing service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft One Drive.
Additional documentation on pre-hurricane condition of the dunes and the habitable structure, as well as a description of the proposed materials and a plan showing the proposed dune restoration project are also required.
The property owner will also be required to turn in photographs documenting the work once it is completed.
Any work that exceeds or is in violation of these emergency rules may be subject to additional Beachfront Construction Certificate/Dune Protection Permit requirements, or may be required to be modified or removed if it is in violation of these emergency rules or the City's Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan.
Dune restoration projects should consist of beach quality sand which has a similar grain size and mineralogy as the surrounding beach, and organic brushy materials can also be used (including seaweed).
The following materials are prohibited for use in a dune restoration project, and therefore cannot be used in an emergency dune restoration project:
- Sand that is not beach quality
- Silt Fences
- Sediments containing hazardous substances
- Sandbags, bulkheads or other erosion response structures
- Rip rap, concrete, asphalt rubble, building construction materials
- Any other non-biodegradable items
- Sand scraped from eroding beach areas or from dunes is also prohibited
Construction activities proposed within 1,000 feet of the mean high tide line of the Gulf of Mexico require a Beachfront Construction Certificate/Dune Protection Permit before the work can begin.
Contact the Coastal Resources Division Staff at CoastalResources@galvestontx.gov for questions about the application process.
City of Galveston Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan
Click here to download a copy of the Certified plan:
Erosion Response Plan (ERP)
On April 12, 2012, City Council adopted the Erosion Response Plan (ERP) as an appendix to the City’s Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan.
Purpose of ERP
- Reduce public expenditures for erosion and storm damage losses to public and private property, including public beaches;
- Ensure the health and stability of existing dune systems and dune vegetation;
- Encourage the natural recovery of dunes and beaches following storm-induced erosion;
- Provide for the establishment of new dunes through restoration projects; and
- Allow for the landward migration of beaches and dunes due to erosion.
Link to download the ERP:
Updates to the Plan (DRAFT)
At their regular meeting on January 24, 2019, City Council adopted Ordinance 19-012, which is a draft of the City of Galveston Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan.
The purpose of this draft is to:
- Consolidate and reconcile the City’s existing local ordinances that pertain to beachfront construction and dune protection regulations, definitions of terms, and the City’s Erosion Response Plan.
- Incorporate a 2015 update to state law regarding dune mitigation was also included in the draft (see 31 TAC Rule §15.4).
- Incorporate a proposed new beach user fee schedule for parking along Seawall Boulevard in Seawall Beach Urban Park.
City Council also directed staff to submit this draft to the Texas General Land Office (GLO) for their review and consideration of certification. Staff submitted the draft to the GLO on February 12, 2019 and are pending approval from the state.
Link to download:
Beach Access and Dune Protection Plan Review Ad Hoc Committee
City Council adopted Resolution 18-024 (PDF) on May 24, 2018, establishing the Beach Access and Dune Protection Plan Review Committee.
The mission of this committee is to review the City’s Beach Access and Dune Protection Plan and to provide recommendations of possible amendments to the plan to the Planning Commission and City Council.
Ad Hoc Committee Website
More information about the Ad Hoc Committee can be found here: Beach & Ad Hoc Committee
Annual Beach Surveys
The City of Galveston and Galveston Park Board of Trustees has partnered on a project to collect topographic and bathymetric data of the shoreline on Galveston Island on an annual basis.
This project provides datasets for permits required for annual beach maintenance activities along the Island’s beachfront, for mapping and maintaining a record of the City’s Dune Protection Line in accordance with the Texas Administrative Code (31 TAC Rule § 15.3), and to document pre and post-storm beach conditions for potential FEMA assistance after tropical storms.
Lessons learned from earlier years in the project have resulted in a more refined scope of services, which has resulted in a lower cost for the services to provide the same project deliverables.
This project is funded by a cost-share agreement between the City of Galveston, the Industrial Development Corporation (4B Sales Tax), and the Galveston Park Board of Trustees.
2014 Wading Depth and Depth of Closure Survey
2016 Wading Depth and Depth of Closure Survey
2017 Wading Depth Survey
2017-2018 - Hurricane Harvey - Post-Storm Survey Technical Report
2019 Wading Depth and Depth of Closure Survey
Frequently Asked Questions Guide from the Texas General Land Office (link to FAQ)
A guide from the Texas General Land Office on vehicular beach access, pedestrian beach access, accessible parking, signage & beach amenities, and other beach access topics. (Link to Guide)
A guide from the Texas General Land Office on topics such as the Texas beaches and dunes, dune construction/improvement/repair, dune walkovers, beach access and drainage. (Link to Guide)
A two-volume publication that provides a comprehensive approach to planning, siting, designing, constructing, and maintaining homes in the coastal environment.
Volume I (link) provides information about hazard identification, siting decisions, regulatory requirements, economic implications, and risk management.
Volume II (link) contains in-depth descriptions of design, construction, and maintenance practices that, when followed, will increase the durability of residential buildings in the harsh coastal environment and reduce economic losses associated with coastal natural disasters.
An interactive map prepared by the Bureau of Economic Geology that illustrates trends in shoreline change along the Texas Gulf Coast, from the 1930’s to 2012. (Link to Interactive Map)
A link to the full report of the study can be found here (link).
A handbook for property owners along the Gulf coast to increase awareness of coastal hazards and promote resiliency. Prepared by partners of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. (Link to Handbook)
An interactive map prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of wetland resources in the United States. (Link to Interactive Map)