To the editor:
I would explore Tom Grieb’s suggestion that the demarcation be untethered from the difficult to agree upon and constantly rising “six feet landward of the recognizable …
To the editor:
I would explore Tom Grieb’s suggestion that the demarcation be untethered from the difficult to agree upon and constantly rising “six feet landward of the recognizable high tide line” and tied to “six feet landward of the waterline in the moment.” (“Town Council hears tide of opposition to shoreline access bill,” March 16 Portsmouth Times.)
I think there is room for discussion on the “six feet.” Less would be fair, say even “three feet.” I believe the intent is to refine one of our state’s founding concepts that the public has “rights and privileges to enjoy the benefits of the shore.” A person should be able to not only walk the shore line, but extract what is allowed by law (i.e. aquatic life) for sustenance.
The existing regulations controlling the method of mobility remain unchanged. For the most part I presume motorized vehicles are already banned. If not, then perhaps this to should be clarified. Horses? Bicycles? Carts? Hoverboards?
The protections for how to navigate a coastal feature with a seawall may be challenging. If the seawall is natural, the legislation as written may be appropriate. There are lengths of our shoreline that have and will continue to be unpassable. For manmade structures, someone has previously extinguished the riparian/littoral rights of the entire community. I would suggest language that provides “X feet landward of the seawall for the express purpose of transiting the seashore. No loitering, fishing, etc.”
On the property owners concerns of this being a taking. Yes, it will be. It repairs the injustice that has been committed over the years when our government looked the other way and allowed landowners to extinguish riparian/littoral rights for the larger community. I don’t expect their is much legal standing for waterfront land owners in today’s world. The state will simply declare eminent domain. If New London, Conn. could take an entire neighbor to then sell to a commercial developer (U.S. Supreme Court, Day vs. New London) taking a strip of shoreline for the general public’s use should be quite defendable.
Waterfront landowners must be respectful of the larger community as well. When your entire waterfront plot has been consumed by the rising sea, do you suggest you will cordon off your little piece of water and object to anyone swimming there? With the beauty comes much risk and responsibility.
One last thought. Flood insurance could have solved this. Instead of funding the rebuilding in these prone areas over time, (those who lose property) should have been reimbursed for land and improvements and the land reverted to the local governments as open space.
20 Kensington Ave.