Willacy Co. Court Extends Temporary Ban on Commercial Building Permits

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PORT MANSFIELD – A temporary ban on commercial building permits will continue in Willacy County.

On Thursday, commissioners voted to continue the action until an effective plan to control the spread of 8-liners is hammered out.

Willacy County started the measure late last year and continued it through a series of extensions.

The moratorium was always intended as a preventative measure to address the spread of 8-liners, said Aurelio Guerra, judge of Willacy County.

"The reason what we even considered to halt commercial permits is because of the amount of 8-liners that were opening up," said Guerra. "And the pace that they were opening up, and the size of the community where they were opening up."

Eight liners have popped up in small unincorporated towns like Sebastian. Some residents complained of noise and traffic. The Willacy County Sheriff’s Office said some have hosted illegal gambling.

"I wish that commercial permits would come along every day, of course, other than 8-liners," said Guerra.

The judge said he's telling staff to put him in touch with and prospective businesses during this time.

"So that I can explain to him and her that we want them in our county, that we need their business," said Guerra. "We're in dire need of jobs."

The ban could be over after two weeks, said Guerra.

"We're working really hard to lift it," he added.

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