Among coastal states Texas is unique. The 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act, as well as time-honored common law and tradition in existence since long before 1959, provides that Texas beaches are open to the public. In 2009, Texans voted by a 77 percent to 23 percent margin to enshrine the Open Beaches Act into the Texas Constitution.
Unfortunately, public access to Texas beaches may soon end if legislation filed in Austin passes into law.
Senate Bill 434, by Sen. Mayes Middleton of Galveston, would strip the authority of the Texas General Land Office to define the boundaries of the public beach and would allow the upland beachfront property owner to make that determination.
The property owner could then deny access to the public beach easement that existed between the line of vegetation and the mean high tide mark. That would then limit Texas beachgoers’ access to only what is known as the “wet beach” — the area between the low tide and the high tide lines. When that area is washed by waves during periods of high tide, SB 434 would result in there being no beach at all for Texans to use.
If SB 434 passes, don’t be surprised if you show up at your favorite beach spot and you’re confronted with a fenced off beach or no trespassing signs. The only remedy available to you then would be a suit against the adjacent upland landowner.
Yes, on your next trip to the beach you should consider bringing along your lawyer. You should also be prepared to drag your kids, your cooler and your beach gear through the shallow tidal waters in order to enjoy the beach.
Beachfront property owners can’t claim ignorance of the public beach easement. Since 1986, they have received notice of the public beach easement in the documents they signed at closing.
Ironically, SB 434 doesn’t just hurt Texas beachgoers, it hurts beachfront property owners as well. Public money must be spent for a public purpose. The land office and local governments will be unable to spend money on improving property with no public access.
There will be no beach renourishment projects, no beach cleanup and no beach maintenance in areas where property owners claim the beach has no public access easement.
There is currently an expansive beach renourishment project ready to go at Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island that will be canceled. In addition, developers of coastal property will be handicapped if the land office is no longer able to determine survey data needed to designate set back lines for coastal construction.
Please join us in opposing SB 434. Contact your State Senators and State Representatives.
Those 3 know what they are talking about. I wonder what or rather, who is behind our State Senator's proposed legislation. Who does this help ? There is something not right here.
Those wealthy enough to own property on the west end...thats who benefits. No rubbing elbows with riff raff
“I’ve been contacted by a number of private property owners that are primarily on the west end of Galveston Island, that when the state is claiming it’s their property, it’s really not a fair fight,” Middleton said. “When the state is presumed to own it and you have to rebut it, that’s really not fair. If the state is claiming it’s theirs, then they need to prove it.”
"The Facts" [Clute, Texas Newspaper] Feb 24, 2023 By Valery Rodriguez
If this is what Middleton thinks is important he is an idiot. A few clueless rich people may support it but I have never met anyone who does. However, this is the sort of crap that gets snuck in and people really need to contact their legislators and state their opposition.
What happened to liberty and justice for all ? This is just one more attempt of the rich traitor Republicans attempting to destroy the rights of the lower classes of Americans. The idea of the open beaches act was to insure that all Americans can have access to the beaches, not only the rich. This is a fine example as to how the traitor Republicans want everything good only for them selves
There is a lot in an alley just behind Broadway between 35th and 36th street. I’m thinking about leasing it for parking and shuttling people to the Seawall. Only problem is there is no access straight to Broadway, so people will have to cut through a private residence (light blue house) where the shuttle will park in front of. Hours of operation will be from sun up to 11pm. Anyone opposed? Mr Laiacona…any thoughts???
Take notice that the service alley has been there since the 1800s and even though it neglected by city services, it has never been effected by the Open Beaches Act.
The three are opponents of Mayes Middelton. Like all progressives they resort to creating lies for political power. If Mayes' bill passes and improves things for the public and property owners these three will try to overturn it. The liberal media got the opposition started, proof Mayes has a good idea.
Garry. I would like to be there the day you call Patterson a progressive. It would be enjoyable but as a tip to you “ never bring a knife to a gun fight”
Mayes is just putting into Law what I have been claiming for years, West End Private Beaches. Remove the bollards !!
It is hilarious that so many who vote for the liberals agenda, that the "village will raise your children," equity through government mandates, and thought the "Great Society" taking control of their health, education and welfare are now bemoaning big government (state legislators) dictating beach rights. Reflect on how much freedom you have over your personal life and property since the Democratic Party liberals have taken over the government. You may own it but the way you use it will encounter all the bureaucratic regulations. You water faucets have flow restriction, commodes must meet regulations, You want to be known as a perception of gender that is contrary to you biological genitalia is okay. You kill a illegal immigrant that trespasses and threaten you and you get charged with a crime and the trespasser gets a lawyer to sue you. The convolutions that the BIG TENT of the Democratic Party has inflicted on society has putrefied and segmented society.
What is a beach has no definition in the lexicon of a law or statute when the lawyer/president Clinton said "it depends on what the meaning of is, is",
Define a word, a persons gender or a beach today is legislative bodies activity for determination and will produce a Court's review where all the lawyers can perform obfuscation, prevarication and justification for persuasion of the judge, the appealing and on up the line of courts.
Washington D.C, State's and Districts are bastions of convolutions. Locals and citizens are the pawns they pander to for power.
Want a change back to local and citizen freedom, then quit swallowing the pandering and vote the lawyers and career politicians out and proven patriots into the positions of leadership.
Despite their personality traits of egotism and audacity Trump, Musk, and others that have identified/exposed the swamp creatures are the salvation of the "best hope of humanity."
Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with the article!
Ronald, look beyond box. This subject of BEACHES access, property owners and all the on books passed and still relevant statues/legislation cannot be ignored. This specific legislation is effectively an add on and as we can see from the comments will make the mess even more difficult and convoluted.
The history of the government's acts - convolutions - has turned beaches into a mess of intertwined statutes and legalities has a long chronology that needs to be understood before more convoluting legislation is proposed. Lawyers are feasting on the convolutions and courts are continuously inundated with adjudication efforts.
A rational legislative action would eradicate some of the past legislation that is causing problems and completely produce a new set of statues that will establish with specificity - what is a beach - what the tides and other natural events cause as its property lines change - can it be privately owned or obstructed - and layout the potential jeopardy that a PRIVATE structure built in its proximity. Only then will the public and private right be known and the constant ongoing arguing and legislative manipulations will cease.
The State of Texas has a landowners bill of rights which prevents government from just taking property without just compensation. And it has to be for the public common good and not for private benefit or governments (like Park Board) gain.
Unfortunately, land by beaches are treated differently. I see the Senator as trying to help in this area.
Galveston was sold by the Republic through Spanish and English land grants …. Then along came the government messing with projects that impact sand on a sand bar (seawall and jetties) and the Submerged Lands Act and the Open Beach’s Act, and you get a convoluted mess.
While I support open beaches, I keep thinking there must be a better way to protect property rights as well as access to the beach. Is this it? 🤔 still pondering.
The landowners KNEW what they were signing when they bought beachfront.
Now? They want to take away the rights of others and why? They don’t want the masses in their back yard. They should have thought of that before they signed on the dotted line.
No sympathy for beach front homeowners.
Mr. Hardee….you not only hit that nail on the head…but drove it in in one stroke. Well played sir!
It a single person who’ve commented thus far have any idea of what’s driving this and I’m reasonably sure Middleton has only gotten a very biased update. For those still contemplating, the open beaches law, dune setback rules and erosion property lines all preceded the west end development by years. In fact standard policy for home sales is the buyer signs a paper in recognition of the facts of law
For years, folks haven’t liked what they signed up for. As a matter of fact, the last professional in our city in charge of beach setbacks and dune lines ( a state requirement) had a homeowner pull a pistol in him when told he was planning to breach the covenants. You need to study this —and it’s consequences to Galveston - a bit more than the congressman has
I think I might have accidentally hit the "report" button on this or another post. I apologize if I did, it was by accident.
I very much appreciate that my comments are being noticed. Maybe my thoughts will change the way the Traitor Republicans think and consider that there are American citizens that are not rich . This beach grabbing is just one example of how they don’t want the average American to enjoy our beaches
"Traitor Republicans" - Since no Republican has been legally charged or convicted as a "traitor" you have what would be shown on Kamala's Venn Diagram as an EMPTY SET. Have a good day Lalacona.[beam]
“Gobble Gobble “ I t would appear that you are in denial of the hundreds of traitor Republicans that have been sent to jail for their crimes in attacking our republic on January 6th
And when the majority are exonerated, Lalacona will have to gobble his words. They are prepping Gitmo for Democrats.
George….you might want to watch the recently released actual footage of Jan 6…… once again, imagine my surprise, Dems were caught lying.
These three former Land Commissioners, including one that is a democrat have stood strong in protecting our beaches for all Texans to enjoy. Babe Schwartz, another democrat,( may he rest in peace) and these men understood that if there were no strong rules and laws for the Texas citizens' continued access (since time immemorial ) that one day there might be no beaches for the public, nothing but houses on stilts or falling down. I guarantee you they know more than Middleton ever thought about knowing about the Texas Open Beaches Act, our right to use the dry sand along the beach and up to the vegetation line. They also understand how the money works for beach projects and how it would not work anymore. Lorraine Brown
“I’ve been contacted by a number of private property owners…..” or in other words “People are saying “.
But the real question is...Has anyone taken the time to contact Mayes Middleton?
Actually, I did contact his office about the bill and they had nothing to say. They said I should just read the bill.
Joseph, That sounds like an answer that Carlos would give.
Here’s to MAY MIDDLETON having another form of income. My wife & I will work to see he is not re-elected. He’s a disgrace.
Jerry Patterson was on the Michael Berry Show this morning - KTRH. He said the bill had no chance of passing but he added the caveat "in its present form".
And NO, Ted, that's not an answer I would give.
So Jerry Patterson weights in, huh! This is the man that stole $23 million from the west end of Galveston. Yep this is the guy that took all the Hurricane Ike Federal monies that were given to him by the communities with the PROMISE that he would rebuild the beaches and dunes. Remember those beaches and dunes serve everyone. Well he Jerry decided to that this money was best served being put behind the seawall. His argument was that our Supreme Court of Texas found for a land owner when the state was trying to take their property. With that, he redirected pipelines of sand that were about to start on the west end and moved them. Did he ask, nope he just did. SO for this group, yes Mr. Patterson I am looking at you, to say that beachfront owners also are at risk because of the new rules, he forgets that he already made that decision. Further the idea that local governments could stop using funds for the beach front, well wake up Boys, the City of Galveston stopped cleaning the beaches many years ago, so there is already no money going to these "Public Beaches". This means the folks going to the beach are enjoying the smell smell of seaweed, OR as is happening, each subdivision is cleaning the beach for its own community, BUT the public gets to enjoy the private monies being spent on things. Does anyone re call that our Texas Supreme Court, now twice, has already up held findings for property owners.
The net of this is that the law has changed due to the Supreme Court and that this has never been updated into current regulations. But the gall of Jerry Patterson to say anything after what he has done. Has anyone looked at the beaches on the west end? They are a shambles, they lack dunes and the only people paying to fix these are PRIVATE communities, not public. I support the Texas open beaches act, I don't support the fact that our public officials, to date have done little to save and protect our beaches for both the public and private landowners
Just an observation regarding this Bill by Senator Middleton. With so many other profound and significant issues we face as Texans, this "issue" should not be of "principal" concern. Just my thoughts. (32)
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