GALVESTON

West End residents awoke Tuesday morning to less beach.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(8) comments

Susan Fennewald

The front row houses are investment property. The owners knew the risks when they bought.

The west end could've had replenishment years ago but the homeowners refused to legally acknowledge a rolling easement. If they legally agreed to a rolling easement, then the state would pay for sand. But if they won't, then its just their private property and they have to take care of it themselves. The beach replenishment that had been planned would've cost $100K/house - that's more than they'll pay in taxes during the entire life of the sand replenishment.

The Park Board is already doing as much (or more) than they can.

These houses are just too close to the water. These houses were built quite a while ago, but houses are still being built too close to the water. The property owners say its their right. Maybe so, but its not their right to use my tax dollars to support their investment.

Karen Lauer

I don't disagree with the notion that public funds shouldn't be used to maintain private property when that property is only used for private purposes. However, if the property, like many on the West End, is being used as a public resource, such as a public beach, then it certainly makes sense for public funds to be used to maintain it. If those individual properties were roped off, and the public was denied access, then sure - no reason for public funds to be used for that, but it makes no sense whatsoever for a private property owner who no longer has private use of his/her land to have to pay thousands of dollars a year to provide and maintain a public resource. If the public is using it, the public needs to pay for it.

With regard to rolling easements, there is no reason why a homeowner who loses his/her home in a hurricane/ tropical storm should be required to immediately relinquish ownership of his/her property to the State. That's like saying if someone loses his/her home to a tornado or a massive fire caused by lightning that the State can just swoop in and take ownership, property rights be damned. You don't lose the right to your property just because of a natural disaster, and the Texas Supreme Court acknowledged that, including with respect to beaches. "As we acknowledge continuous and natural physical changes in the West Galveston shoreline, we must also recognize ages-old private property rights that are protected by law. Private property ownership pre-existed the Republic of Texas and the constitutions of both the United States and Texas. Both constitutions protect these rights in private property as essential and fundamental rights of the individual in a free society... in 1840 the Republic of Texas, as later confirmed by the State of Texas, granted private title to West Galveston Island without reservation by the State of either title to beachfront property or any public right to use the privately owned beaches. Public rights to use of privately owned property on West Beach in Galveston Island, if such rights existed at that time, were extinguished in the land patents by the Republic of Texas to private parties... Because we find no right of public use in historic grants to private owners on West Beach or inherent limitations on their property rights, the State must establish under principles of property law encumbrances on privately owned realty along the West Beach of Galveston Island. For an easement to roll, there must first be an easement."

Ron Binkley

Susan...you have to understand that when I purchased my home, there were two streets and three rows of houses seaward of my property so, please don't make it sound like everything has to be the "now" front row property owners responsibility.

Susan Fennewald

Those that live behind you are probably fighting for sand to be put in front of your house also.

Susan Fennewald

Were there significant dunes?

John Merritt

Thank you Susan. After IKE, a law suit filed by a west end resident, annulled our open beaches law. Sorry Babe.

Susan Fennewald

Just don't use tax dollars to build sand dunes. If they want sand dunes to protect their property, they can pay for them. I think the govt should wait until the front row washes away, and then buy, at a discount, what's left. and then do the renourishment for the sake of the now-public land.

Jarvis Buckley

As usual Susan doesn’t talk with concern & compassion . About the evil folks on the WestEnd.

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