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After a discussion Thursday, city council members and a committee of residents are no less certain about what role specific-use permits should play in the future of island development.

The permits give the council the ability to grant exceptions to developers on a case-by-case basis when a project would otherwise violate rules defined in the city's height and density ordinance.

The permits were brought up during a workshop discussion about the latest draft of Land Development Regulations, which are intended to streamline the city's permitting process.

The document includes a comprehensive plan and six specialized plans for parks, recreation and open space, historic preservation, erosion response, thoroughfare and mobility, disaster recovery and sustainability.

The process is part of an initiative called Progress Galveston.

Island residents are concerned the council and planning commission, the two entities that must approve any specific-use permits, have been approving too many permits. Businesses on the other hand, said that loosening requirements for obtaining the permits would foster development.

Mayor Lewis Rosen questioned how future councils that might not be pro-development could use the regulations. Committee members, many of whom sit on the planning commission, agreed they wanted to protect business interests.

"This council is much different from the last," committee member and planning Commissioner Dominic Sasser said.