Plans for expansion in Kemah

November 16, 2009 5:24:28 PM PST
Kemah took the brunt of Hurricane Ike last September. A year later, the Kemah Boardwalk is back, and so are the patrons. Now business owners want it bigger and better than before and the city has just taken steps to make that happen. Bill Bowman and his wife Vickie traveled to Kemah to commit the big three -- stopping, shopping and eating.

"If we couldn't park, we wouldn't stop and spend money, that's my opinion," he said. "If we couldn't find a place to park, we'd drive on to someplace else."

To keep tourists in Kemah, the city council voted to expand its entertainment district by making parking easier for tourists. The expansion now includes Bradford Street, where the majority of structures are businesses on small lots. These businesses will be able to provide public parking by using the city's right of way.

"We have agreements with the property owners that need the parking," explained Kemah City Administrator Bill Kerber. "If they will develop it and maintain it, then they can use it ... but at the same time it still stays public. You can't post it as private."

Business owners on Bradford Street say the ordinance will help their businesses. But some of the people who live outside Bradford Street don't like it.

"It's a residential street," said resident Ellen Stott. "It's always supposed to be residential. That's not residential to me."

Many of the long-time neighbors wanted to keep the street residential. However, there is no zoning in Kemah.


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