(Orange, Texas)

Local News

February 7, 2013

OC commissioners nix permit fees waiver for Neches River ship docking facility

ORANGE — Orange County will not waive permit fees on the MARAD Beaumont Layberth docking facility for large ships that will be built in Orange County on the east side of the Neches River across from Beaumont.

After noting that the county never waived permit fees in the past, county commissioners unanimously voted down the request during Monday's meeting.

The fee waiver request originally was presented during the Jan. 28 Commissioners Court meeting, but discussion that day quickly digressed to road maintenance issues.

The item was tabled after Pct. 3 commissioner John Banken asked for more time to research questions about road bonds.

This week, County Judge Carl Thibodeaux opened discussion about the permit fee waiver by reminding commissioners that the agenda item had nothing to do with road maintenance.

“We got off track last week,” Thibodeaux said. “This is not an issue about whether or not they are going to build this facility. It is going to be built. This is totally about a permit fee waiver.”

Thibodeaux said potential damage to county roads related to construction of the facility is another issue that will have to be addressed in the future.

In spite of Thibodeaux's comments, Monday's discussion also focused on the county's responsibility for repairing and maintaining the county roads that lead to a 3.6-mile road that will provide access from Church House Road to the new docking facility.

The Federal government is leasing the land for the project from private landowners. The new road will be accessible only to the landowners and the government.

Thibodeaux said construction of the new facility will require trucks to bring in lots of heavy machinery and supplies, which could cause damage to county roads.

Pct. 4 commissioner Jody Crump asked a representative of McCarthy Building Companies Inc., the general contractor on the project, if it would be possible for the access road to come off FM 105, which is a state road, rather than Mansfield Ferry Road and Church House Road, county roads that already have maintenance issues.

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