A Galveston County judge has sided with the county in a long-running dispute over its attempts to seize Rollover Pass, a popular fishing spot on a 22-acre tract of land owned by the Gulf Coast Rod, Reel and Gun Club since the 1950s.

Rollover Pass is a 1,600-foot-long low-level piece of land on the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County. In 2009 the Texas Legislature appropriated nearly $6 million to the Texas General Land Office to close the pass; however, they couldn’t close it because it was privately owned. The dispute has been ongoing since 2009.

The GLO, which is now headed by George P. Bush, and Galveston County teamed up to seize the land because the GLO doesn’t have authority to take private property – but the county does. The county has said that it needs to close the pass because it is responsible for erosion in the area and impacts the wildlife. Supporters of the Pass say it is a world-class fishing spot and the government shouldn’t take private land through eminent domain.

The court ruling from County Court at Law Judge Barbara E. Roberts says, “Petitioner is authorized to take immediate possession of the property subject of this condemnation described as a parcel or parcels of land containing a total of 15.87 acres…”

As a consolation, the state says it plans to build a fishing pier and park since they are closing the pass. The court has given the club seven days to vacate the land, but the club can appeal the ruling.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.

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