Aug 7, 2005

Beaches and Privatization

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On a recent trip with my family to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I was struck by the difficulty we faced in finding access to the beachfront. Oceanfront property, consisting mainly of condominiums, hotels, and palatial estates, occupies almost the entire coast. While no one (as yet) has found a way to privatize the beach, since much of it spends part of the day under high tide, the net result in many communities is that legal beach access is restricted to property owners fortunate enough to afford the astronomical costs of oceanfront real estate, or to renters who can find reasonably priced lodging.

The community of Emerald Isle, which is located near the southern end of the Outer Banks, makes for a relevant case study. There are two public beach access points in the community, neither of which has a parking lot. Signs posted on the nearby streets warn would-be scofflaws that parking bans are vigorously enforced, and the visibility of the bubble-topped police cruisers reinforces that threat. Many of the business establishments feature similar warnings on parking restrictions, leaving travelers who wish to visit the beach without the legal means to do so.

Thus, can barriers to a “public” beach be created that, in effect, privatize it?

6 comments:

Lisa Renee said...

I noticed the same thing a few years ago when I took my children to Florida for the first time, Cocoa Beach. There were public access points to the beach yet no areas where the public was allowed to park. It was as if they created the impression of the "public beach" yet prevented it from being a reality given the lack of available parking. Me being the ever resourceful person that I am and trying to fulfill my third child's desire to "surf" asked a homeowner if we could park in their driveway.

The homeowner said yes, and my daughter was able to attempt to surf.

Anonymous said...

Buy your own house, you leftist whiner.

Maybe if you spent your time working instead of crying you could buy a place.

Anonymous said...

That's the way things are going, isn't it? Pretty soon everything will be bought and sold.

Scott said...

I don't see how someone can own the beach. You would think it's public land.

Anonymous said...

I agrree that people who complain about beaches are whiners. There are plenty of beaches to go to. You left-wing kooks just want everybody to be equal, so no one has anything nice.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Lisa,

Looks like you rattled a few chains with this one (high noise to signal ratio).

There's a detached memory fragment floating in what passes for (my) consciousness these days about a court fight between beach front property owners, the “public” and the gubment, and it replays something like this:

The beachfront property owners want the (beachfront) property line to be at the low tide water mark, while the Gubment, the public, and other interested parties want it set at the high tide water mark.

So, you may ask, "Who cares?"

And apparently, everybody does!

The property owners want the beach to be part of their “property,” and everyone else wants the beach to be public.

The property owners fully intend to fence their property lines right down to the low tide mark making it more difficult for interlopers to trash “their” beaches. Sounds pretty harsh until they begin telling about the noisy parties, littering, vandalism, trespassing and breaking and entering they have experienced/endured.

Those who oppose this plan say that they will be made to suffer for the sins of a few. Not surprisingly, the property owners dispute the “few” characterization.

I don’t know if this has been settled yet or how it will turn out. But, I do remember that the Gubment fully intends to tax the additional land if the property owners prevailed.

As far as for public beach access with no parking, making the beaches practically useless to the public, it sounds to me like a plot by the local voters, who just happen to be the private property owners.

A Vast (insert appropriate pejorative here) Conspiracy…