Controversial Beach Ruling Gets a 2nd Look

When the Texas Supreme Court ruled there was no longer a public beach easement on West Galveston Island all beach restoration efforts there came to a halt. As Rod Rice reports, now that the high court is going to take another look at the case, the Texas General Land Office hopes the decision will be reversed.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that they'll come to their senses and recognize the open beaches in Texas are common law statute and constitutional."

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.  He says individuals should not own beaches in Texas, but everyone should own them because public beaches are a Texas tradition. The lack of a public easement was not a factor in Surfside. Federal and state money were used to restore that beach and it was rededicated this morning. Patterson says beach restoration isn't done for the first line property owners.

"That beach is important to protect the public infrastructure: the roads, the utilities.  It also protects the tax base and generates more advalorem taxes, and it's a recreational area for all Texans."

Patterson says the Surfside beach is a good example of what can be done if the Supreme Court reverses it controversial ruling. The court begins hearing arguments in the case on April 19th.

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...