Letter: We support state shoreline access legislation

Posted 4/15/22

To the editor:

Coastline access goes to the heart of what makes Little Compton remarkable. As your readers likely know, our Rhode Island State Constitution enshrines our right to enjoy the …

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Letter: We support state shoreline access legislation

Posted

To the editor:

Coastline access goes to the heart of what makes Little Compton remarkable. As your readers likely know, our Rhode Island State Constitution enshrines our right to enjoy the shoreline.  

A legal ruling (1982) made a valiant attempt to define the part of the beach that can be used by the public, through lateral access. But the definition led to confusion which made it unenforceable. House Bill 2022-H 8055 will finally bring clarity to the issue.  

 We, the Little Compton Democratic Town Committee, express our strong support for House Bill 2022-H 8055, “Relating to Water and Navigation — Coastal Resources Management Council.”  

This bill will replace the current controversial Mean High Tide Line with a clearer and legally more enforceable term, namely: 

 “…the "recognizable high tide line" means a boundary which is ten feet (10') landward from the line or mark left upon tide flats, beaches, or along shore objects that indicates the intersection of the land with the water's surface level at the maximum height reached by a rising tide. The recognizable high tide line may be determined by a line of seaweed, oil or scum along shore objects, a more or less continuous deposit of, fine shell or debris on the foreshore or berm, other physical markings or characteristics, or other suitable means that delineate the general height reached by the water's surface level at a rising tide. …” 

This reform will bring much-needed legal clarity to our constitutional rights to coastal access. This is in the interests of the public and of coastal landowners. 

Passed Little Compton Democratic Town Committee, April 5th, 2022. 

Glenn Sherman, Chairman, Little Compton Democratic Town Committee   

  

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