Monday, April 16, 2012

Open Beaches

It looks like the treasured Texas right to open beaches is being chipped away at most nefariously.   Until March 30th, the law of the land was that beaches are public and no one can own them or keep the public from them.  For these purposes, it counts as "beach" if it falls between the vegetation/dune line and the water. 

The problem comes in with the fact that the vegetation/dune line is not static.  Beach erosion is an unfortunate reality and, gradually, over the years, that line changes.  Sometimes, due to a storm, it changes quite suddenly and dramatically.  This is a risk you take if you buy land close to the beach and you know you are taking it -  the right of the public to the beach access wins every time.  If you gamble on Mother Nature and lose, you are out of your property. 

At least that is the way it was.

Now, the Texas Supreme Court has sided with gambling property owners over the public and has decided that if the line changes suddenly, you get to keep your property.  The public is out of luck.

I think this is a travesty.  All developers have to do is buy up land that abuts the vegetation line and wait for weather, and soon they will own the beaches.  This is not cool.

What can we do to protect our Texas heritage of open beaches?

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