A little-known Texas law could keep hundreds of people from rebuilding beachfront homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Houses that are still standing could be condemned under the law.
Under the Texas Open Beaches Act of 1959, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, making it illegal to build there. The law was created when there were far fewer houses on the Texas coast.
Ike’s 110-mph winds and 26-foot waves obliterated the four- to six-foot dunes and redrew the tide lines along a broad stretch of the Texas coast.
Texas General Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he saw hundreds of houses in jeopardy of being declared on the beach unlawfully as he flew over the coastline this week.
Patterson said authorities will need at least a year to watch the ever-shifting boundaries of the beach before making a decision on whether homeowners can continue living there.
Source: Associated Press