Protect Property Rights – even in Virginia Beach.

Today’s Virginian-Pilot reports the following:

The City Council will hold a public hearing tonight and vote on whether to use eminent domain to gain access to the Cape Henry beaches for a sand replenishment project.

The council has reached an impasse with some Cape Henry Beach residents, who claim that they own the beach and the public has no right to use it. The city argues that people have walked along the beaches for decades, there are several public access points, and city crews clean up the trash and patrol the beach.

The formal City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m.

My Comments:

Ask yourself this questions, if you cut your neighbor’s grass and your kids cut through their lawn for years to get to the street behind your home, does this give you the right to claim your neighbor’s property?

Now ask yourself this important question – what will YOU do to help your neighbor defend their property rights?

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8 Responses to Protect Property Rights – even in Virginia Beach.

  1. mike says:

    so, with any luck, i’ll see you there right?
    Maybe we should all wear black, or some other color to show we’re all together in opposition to this.

  2. Don Tabor says:

    A Question. Do the property owners pay a ‘sand tax’ like the residents of Sandbridge?

    If not, and the public is paying to replace beach lost to erosion, there is a good argument to be made for public access to the restored portions.

    Perhaps we should do a bit of analysis of the costs before jumping on board.

  3. cargosquid says:

    Where are the property lines? Of course, we are talking about eminent domain and since the Kelo decision, all protests tend to be useless.

    How about just replenishing the beach that they can reach without eminent domain?

  4. Jennie says:

    It sounds as if the city is not actually contesting the boundaries of the owners’ property, is this correct? In other words the city does not dispute that the properties belong to citizens, but the city demands free access to the property.

    It’s a fine line. Here’s some food for thought:

    Apparently with trademark laws, if you allow other people to use your registered logo/name for long enough that it becomes public use, you CAN lose your rights to that intellectual property if challenged in court. I’ve heard it said that Google is asking people not to use the phrase “google it” which turns Google’s name into a verb, thereby part of the common language. Does it work the same for personal property? Should the landowners have posted signs stating “Private Property/No Trespassing?”

    I’m not saying that the city has the right to take anybody’s land, just playing devil’s advocate.

  5. Reid Greenmun says:

    To my knowledge only the residents of Sandbridge pay extra taxes (a higher tax rate in a Special Taxing Distrcit) for the sand replenishment. In this case of Sandbridge the city still demanded that the private property owners surrender their property to the city in exchange for sand replenishement, even though the property owners were paying a large share and the Federal government was picking up the majority of the rest of the costs. I lived in Sandbridge for 13 years. While I did not own any oceanfront property i was forced to pay for that “public beach” yet the rest of the residents of Virginia Beach were not. Then the City Manager took millions and millions out of the TIF and spent the money by first placing it is the General Fund and then later each year declaring a “surplus” and City Council went on a spending spree instead of returning the excess tax funds to the property owners living in Sandbridge. In this case the city claims the beach as “public” – so why would Sandbridge residents be forced to pay higher taxes for sand replensihment on a beach they don’t own? This is not done elsewhere in Virginia Beach.

    Back to tonight’s case of eminent domain:

    I am not certain what a Cape Henry property owner could have done to prevent the city from dumping sand on their beach. But the City should have requested their permission to do so. If there wasn’t any contract arranged in excange for the sand replenishment then how can such an action be used AFTER THE FACT as justification to sieze their property?

    What I believe we are witnessing now is the City attempting to intimidate the Cape Henry property owners into surrendering their rights to their beach property in exchange for sand replenishement.

    Some property owners are not agreeing to the “deal” and the City is looking to FORCED them to surrender their property because the CITY WANTS TO REPLENISH THE BEACHES.

  6. Glenn says:

    As an individual that has fought against a so called Army Corp. Shore Protection Project and partially won I only have this too say. The idea of beach replenishment is a huge waste of taxpayer money in the long run. The companies and the lobbyists that make a fortune off of these projects create havoc in other wise peaceful communities. They do it for PROFIT. However, the flip side is this. If a community takes Fed. dollars or State dollars to put sand on it’s beaches then IMHO it must allow the public access to those taxpayer provided beaches, no matter how temporary they might be. For a few dozen beachfront owners to claim they have the right to block access to beaches created and maintained by the public’s tax dollars is absurd and it’s wrong. If the people in question want to stop the project that’s another issue and they should go ahead and try and do this. Once it’s done though access has too be provided.

  7. Reid Greenmun says:

    So once again the use of eminent domain is planned for a non-essentail taking of private property. Here is today’s Pilot follow up article:

    By Deirdre Fernandes The Virginian-Pilot © December 10, 2008 VIRGINIA BEACH

    The City Council unanimously approved the use of eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire public access to the Cape Henry beaches.

    The city and the owners of seven properties along the Chesapeake Bay came to an impasse over a sand replenishment project and public use of the beach.

    The city wants to dump the sand from the Lynnhaven Inlet dredging project on the beach from Lesner Bridge to First Landing State Park. Most of the property owners have agreed, and many want the sand. In exchange, the city is asking the owners to agree that the public has a right to use the beach for recreation.

    But some property owners say their deeds give them the beach.

    City officials plan to meet with the holdouts in the coming weeks and then will file a court claim in late January.

  8. Henry Ryto says:

    Uh…Reid…read up on English common law. Under it, those private homeowners can’t own the beach.

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