Friday, October 12, 2007

Right of Public Access to the Beach vs. Right to Keep Beach Home

Here's an interesting story from Texas.  Several owners of beach houses in Surfside Beach, Texas face the possibility of having their homes destroyed in order to ensure that the public has access to the beach.  The 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act (information found here) established a public easement on all beaches such that Texas beaches must be accessible to the public.

Apparently, hurricanes have led to the erosion of lands on which the houses are located and the state wants to replenish the beach.  In order to do that, the government says that the private beach houses have to be destroyed or moved.  The state told homeowners that they can apply for reimbursement of up to $50,000 for the cost of destroying or moving their homes.

Homeowners have argued that the government has exercised its eminent domain powers and must offer them with fair market value for their homes. The state countered that, "The government is not taking anyone's house. Mother Nature is." 

Click here for the rest of the story.

Rose Cuison Villazor

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