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in Gulf-side property values all of the early fellow benefactors have taken their gains and moved out and have been replaced by the super rich, the only ones who can afford it now, and who use them only on nice weekends.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?

Frank Bowser lives in Galveston.

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(5) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

I recently saw an episode of buying beach homes on HGTV, where a Galveston realtor (no point in mentioning her name; she is on TV) was showing Gulf side West End beach houses to potential buyers. At a house at Sunny Beach, the buyer was stating the advantages to his wife, including the fact that the house came with a "private beach". The beach in front of the house was in camera frame when this was said and the Galveston realtor said nothing to correct his impression. So, TV viewers all over the country (probably worldwide) are now informed that they can buy a house with a private beach on Galveston Island. Fait Accompli.

Jarvis Buckley

Because it was said doesn't mean it's true. You know that. Just trying to stir the pot.

Miceal O'Laochdha

People from other parts of the country show up and spend $750k-$1.5m for a house in the firm belief that they have a private beach, and the realtor will say nothing to tell them otherwise. That establishes the mind-set of the property owners and defeating their beliefs is a challenge that does not seem to be getting overcome. Perception = reality. Fait Accompli.

Bill Broussard

What is moronically termed a “private beach” in my reading of the court judgement means that small lots that once belonged to home owners and destroyed by a hurricane still belongs to the home owners who purchased them back when. The letter of that law means no HOA can do anything without the expressed written permission of every lot owner of that beach: no raking; no dunes; no privatizing of any kind. Simple math tells you that when no one can do anything with private property but some special groups have been doing everything they want for years absent owner consent, it’s no longer private

Like myself, the author has to listen to HOA’s throw around “private beach “ at homeowner meetings but NEVER say it in public meetings because the consequences of that kind of hype are grim

Perhaps it would be hopeful to note that the Supreme Court finding refers only to Galveston ‘a West End and the consequences have been so grim that beach areas tike Corpus and Aransas do not press the Supreme Court to get their beaches privatized also. They know what will happen

I used “infantile will to power” because just like any infant, these children Yelp and cry until some government gives them their Passy. And then they suck away with a conceit that’s disgusting If we invoke a law on their behavior they just come back with a new defiance the next week

Bill Broussard

You are a brave man, Frank. Great job!

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