Port files lawsuit against City of Port Aransas on marina lease agreement


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The battle over Harbor Island redevelopment is headed to court.

On Wednesday, the Port of Corpus Christi filed a lawsuit against the City of Port Aransas.

But the lawsuit centers on the city’s lease agreement with the port for the marina there.

Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan says he wasn’t surprised when he learned of the port’s lawsuit.

“I figured the Port would respond the way they did,” Bujan said.

In 2014, Harbor Island was rezoned to stop the port from building a refinery there.

According to Port A City Code Section 25-121, that amended zoning allows for among other things marine terminals, storage facilities for oil and/or gas, ship yards, offshore support services and dredge material placement areas.

Last April, the city signed a new 30-year lease agreement with the Port on the city’s marina.

That lease includes a clause which states the lease terminates if the city changes Harbor Island’s zoning or modifies 25-121 to restrict development.

“There has not been any rezoning on Harbor Island as of today,” Bujan said. “There’s no ordinances that have been changed.”’

Last month, Port A’s City Council passed ordinance 2019-09, a renewable 60-day moratorium on permits for Harbor Island.

The port believes that ordinance terminated the lease agreement and violated state law which prohibits cities from trying to regulate oil and gas operations.

Mayor Bujan disagrees.

“We disagree that the lease was terminated,” Bujan said. “We fully intend to vigorously defend our position.”

We tried to get reaction from the Port of Corpus Christi.

A port spokesperson told us it’s the port’s policy to not comment on pending litigation.

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