Some Ike victims may not be allowed to rebuild
By MICHAEL GRACZYK and CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writers Thu Sep 18, 6:46 PM ET
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GALVESTON, Texas – Hundreds of people whose beachfront homes were wrecked by Hurricane Ike may be barred from rebuilding under a little-noticed Texas law. And even those whose houses were spared could end up seeing them condemned by the state.
Now here’s the saltwater in the wound: It could be a year before the state tells these homeowners what they may or may not do.
Worse, if these homeowners do lose their beachfront property, they may get nothing in compensation from the state.
The reason: A 1959 law known as the Texas Open Beaches Act. Under the law, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, and it is illegal to build anything there.
Over the years, the state has repeatedly invoked the law to seize houses in cases where a storm eroded a beach so badly that a home was suddenly sitting on public property. The aftermath of Ike could see the biggest such use of the law in Texas history.
“I don’t like it one bit,” said Phillip Curtis, 58, a Dallas contractor who owns two homes — a $350,000 vacation home and a $200,000 rental — on Galveston Island’s Jamaica Beach. “I think the state should allow us to try to save the houses. I don’t appreciate the state telling people, `Now it belongs to us.’ It breaks your heart.”
The former state senator who wrote the law had little sympathy.
“We’re talking about damn fools that have built houses on the edge of the sea for as long as man could remember and against every advice anyone has given,” A.R. “Babe” Schwartz said.
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Ahh, yes, those “damn fools” who thought THEY owned their property. Still person, the Almighty State owns everything. Just wait, soon everything will be owned by the Gooferment. They hold 50% of all the mortgage market now. Property taxes will soon condemn the rest.
The Supreme Court nuked your Fifth Amendment rights against property seizure in the Kelo decision.
So, you citizen have a tshirt. You know been there, done that, and got the tshirt to show for it.
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