GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- Hundreds of people whose Texas
beachfront homes were wrecked by Hurricane Ike may be barred from
And even those whose houses were spared could end up seeing them condemned by the state.
Worse, if these homeowners do lose their beachfront property,
they may get nothing in compensation from the state.
The reason is 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.
Here's the saltwater in the wound: It could be a year before the
state tells homeowners what they may or may not do.
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