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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Open Beaches Act’

Another setback for open beaches

At this rate, the concept of “open beaches” is on its way to becoming an anachronism. The Texas Supreme Court dealt another blow Friday to the Texas Open Beaches Act in a case pitting beachfront property owners against the city of Surfside. The court overturned an appeals court ruling upholding Surfside’s refusal to permit repairs […]

Making open beaches a campaign issue

This is great. The Texas Supreme Court’s decision weakening the state Open Beaches Act has become a key issue in the race for one of the two contested Supreme Court seats in the Nov. 6 election. San Antonio attorney Michele Petty stood in front of a battered beach home in Surfside last weekend to criticize […]

Fifth Circuit sends open beaches lawsuit back to district court

Unfortunately, the headline makes it sound like better news than it is. A federal appeals court Monday ruled that the Texas Open Beaches Act is unconstitutional in the case of a Galveston Island property, a ruling that puts the fate of Texas public beaches in doubt. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the […]

Patterson wants to vote out anti-open beach Supreme Court justices

Fine by me. Voters should replace the five members of the Texas Supreme Court who issued an opinion weakening the state Open Beaches Act, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said Monday. “We now have private beaches in Texas where the public can be excluded,” Patterson said. “I think folks should remember this when it’s time to […]

Supreme Court keeps beaches closed

Phooey. Affirming the private-property rights of shoreline landowners, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the public’s right of access to state beaches cannot be guaranteed when hurricanes or storms reshape the coast. The sharply divided ruling will limit the state’s ability to enforce the Open Beaches Act, a 53-year-old law that had been used […]

Federal court refuses to throw out Open Beaches lawsuit

I hadn’t realized that there was federal court action on the Galveston open beaches case. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the General Land office that it throw out the case because the beachfront house at the heart of the lawsuit had been sold. The three-judge panel’s decision keeps alive […]

State asks Supreme Court to vacate Open Beaches ruling

Apparently, the original litigant no longer owns the house in question. San Diego, Calif., attorney Carol Severance, who brought the lawsuit challenging the Open Beaches Act, sold the storm-battered property last week to the city of Galveston. Money for the purchase came from a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout program for homes in areas prone […]

Supreme Court rehears Open Beaches case

Not sure it’ll be any different this time around, but at least there’s a chance. The Texas Supreme Court appeared closely divided Tuesday during a second round of arguments in a turf battle over who controls the beach after a storm moves the vegetation line landward. The hearing came five months after the court ruled […]

Supreme Court will review Open Beaches ruling

This is encouraging. Faced with a tidal wave of legal protests, the Texas Supreme Court Friday agreed to reconsider a California woman’s lawsuit that ended in a controversial ruling last November that left public access to some beaches in question. The court’s decision to reopen the Carole Severance case — oral arguments will begin April […]

Amicus briefs filed in Galveston beach case

Good for you, Vince Ryan. Harris County today joined other public agencies and activists in urging the Texas Supreme Court to reconsider a recent opinion that critics contend blocks public access to most beaches on Galveston island. County Attorney Vince Ryan filed a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of the county and the Texas Conference […]

Patterson on the Open Beaches ruling

I must say, I enjoyed Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s op-ed on the recent Open Beaches ruling by the State Supreme Court. The man can bring the snark, I’ll give him that. Two points of interest besides that: Texans, you see, can be such a hard-headed lot. Most of us ignorantly thought passing the Texas Open […]

State Supreme Court asked to reconsider open beaches verdict

Good luck with that. Galveston has joined key state agencies in pleading with the court to reconsider a ruling that favors private property rights over public access to Texas shores. “I think the Supreme Court really needs to understand the impact of its ruling. It’s not just a theoretical question — they just changed Galveston […]

The cost of closing the beaches

The recent Supreme Court ruling predictably leads to the enrichment of a lucky few. Although Carol Severance’s lawsuit killed the largest beach resanding project in Texas history, her four Galveston beach properties won’t suffer. Instead, she could walk away with more than $2 million from the sale of her hurricane-damaged houses at pre-storm prices. The […]

Is this the end for truly open beaches?

From last week: The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday the state cannot take private property for a public beach when a storm moves the vegetation line landward — a decision that may lead to restricted access along the coast. Texas law allows anyone to place a blanket on the beach, right up to the vegetation […]

The Chron on Prop 9

Proposition 9 on the ballot would make Texas’ Open Beaches Act of 1959 and add it to the state constitution. This Chron story is an overview of it. “People who use the beach think of it as a public park,” said Ellis Pickett of the Texas Surfrider Foundation, which is campaigning in favor of the […]

Endorsement watch: Takings

The Chron endorses Prop 11, which is the constitutional amendment to limit eminent domain takings that were allowed by the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo ruling. [It] would prohibit “the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property” for purposes of economic development. The Houston Chronicle urges a vote for Proposition 11. It was for good reason […]

Endorsement watch: The Chron goes Green

In their first endorsement for an elected office on the ballot this November, the Chronicle endorsed Council Member Ronald Green for Controller. A practicing attorney with a master’s in business administration from the University of Houston, Green chaired the Council Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee, and says the biggest challenge for the next controller will […]

New beach boundaries

We have a new vegetation line, which determines where the public beach ends and private property begins, courtesy of Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. The line will determine whether beachfront property owners whose buildings were destroyed by Ike on Sept. 13 will be able to rebuild or possibly lose their houses to the public beach. Patterson […]

More on Perry’s vetoes

Governor Perry’s veto of SB2468, the “revolving door” restrictions bill for Harris County, has puzzled its sponsor. In his veto message, Perry said he rejected the ethics bill, authored by Sen. Mario Gallegos, because it addressed lobbying matters and related criminal penalties only in Harris County, not statewide, and thus characterized it unconstitutional. Gallegos, a […]

Planting vegetation against the tide

I suppose there’s more than one way to try to save your beachfront property. In Texas, a thin green line in the sand separates private property from public beach. And that line of vegetation is drawn by Mother Nature. Some property owners, however, are taking a more proactive approach by planting grass and shrubs along […]

Editorialists urge veto of HB770

HB770, the originally obscure bill to grant homestead exemptions to folks who lost their house in Hurricane Ike that has generated a big stink thanks to the self-serving provision inserted on behalf of State Rep. Wayne Christian, is getting panned by editorialists around the state. Here’s a sampling. From the Chron: Rep. Christian should be […]

Still bitching about the beach

Who would have thought that an otherwise-obscure bill about granting homestead exemptions to people who lost houses in Galveston to Hurricane Ike would become the most controversial bill of the first week post-sine die? Open beaches advocacy groups sent out e-mails and posted Web messages Thursday asking voters to call Gov. Rick Perry’s office and […]

Open beaches

Got the following email from a colleague and thought it was worth mentioning: Very late Sunday night a “deal” was made in the Texas legislature to make an exemption in the Texas Open Beaches Act – the law that guarantees public access to our beaches. Rep. Wayne Christian of Center, Texas use to have a […]