Thursday, July 19, 2007
Regular readers will know that we like to talk about property signs here at PropertyProf. Earlier this week I took a couple of pictures of signs on the beaches here in Orleans, MA, where we've been coming for vacation for a few years. Al and Carl will be amused to know that I was humming "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band to myself while I was taking some of the pictures. There are two main beaches in Orleans, Skaket on the Bay side and Nauset on the Ocean side. We spend most of our days on Skaket, where the water is warm and the tide goes out a long way (over a mile), leaving behind tide pools that are lots of fun for kids to splash around in. Skaket isn't a long beach, and at high tide things can get a little tight. There are three private houses at one end that have a small strip of private beach, leading to this sign:
What I like about this example is the combination of the "End of Protected Beach" sign and the private beach sign -- the "this is private property, keep off" message comes through, but the overall vibe is more "if you come over here and drown, don't blame us." Of course, people on the Cape tend to be polite and bourgeois, so there is no need to make the sign too pointed.
Over at Nauset, where we often go in the evening, there is this sign:
The dunes are prone to erosion and are habitat for the endangered piping plover. I think the two signs together make an interesting pair. They both are all about the right to exclude, but the right is being used for different purposes in each situation. Maybe I'll use the signs when I'm teaching the right to exclude this year. Is the use of the right to exclude in one situation better in some way than the other? Discuss.
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