I agree with Bill Broussard and his commentary (“City should fine HOAs for beach-access violations,” The Daily News, May 1); however, the headline didn’t prepare me for the full scope of what he wrote.
His emphasis was on guaranteeing beach access, and I agree that’s a problem.
My focus is on what he rightly described as the arrogance of cleaning the beaches beyond the rules, and I contend beyond what’s healthy for the coastline.
My wife, Carole, and I were fortunate to have been turned on to the opportunity to be the first buyers of a reduced cost lot in the newly developed Dunes of West Beach, and our relatively modest house was the first built there.
We could afford it 30 years ago, because frankly, the lots were a steal even then, but with the rapid appreciation in Gulf-side property values all of the early fellow benefactors have taken their gains and moved out and have been replaced by the super rich, the only ones who can afford it now, and who use them only on nice weekends.
They want their lawns to be freshly cut and “their beach” to be raked and groomed without a speck on the sand when they arrive on Friday evenings. They consider dunes vegetation and dunes to be weeds and impediments to their strolling leisurely to “their beach.”
For the past three or four years, all but six of the 35 property owners voted to let the homeowners association contract regular cosmetic raking, seaweed or not, and regardless the loss of height of the beach or violating state and city raking rules.
In fact, four or five years ago, the newly elected homeowner association president and his board were urging owners to skin back the vegetation a hundred or more feet so that the beach would be as wide as possible. We blew the whistle directly to the responsible person at the Texas General Land Office, and the skinning stopped.
Since then, the vegetation has extended southward, and we have a broad and lush vegetation band with a dune steadily increasing in height at the edge of the beach and vegetation.
Unfortunately, our pleas to stop or cut back the raking were ignored by the association and reporting it to the city proved useless. We were elated when the Park Board of Trustees jerked the sub-licensing from the raking contractor.
The Dunes of West Beach Board decided not to sign on for the park board beach cleaning service and reportedly is scrambling for some way to circumvent the rules again. We’ll be the first ones in line at the park board when they do.
Regardless, the wisdom of Fredrick Neitzsche as quoted by Broussard, I don’t think that it’s “an infantile will to power.” Rather I see it as an arrogant attitude of “I paid a bundle for my house at ‘my beach,’ and I’ll do whatever I want to on ‘my beach.’”
Perhaps the city should fine homeowner associations for improperly raking also?