Christian — a Republican from Center says, "...the legislation will allow families whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane to rebuild, protecting both individual property rights and access to public beaches."Î¾
But Commissioner Patterson says Christian's amendment in the new law is poorly written — unconstitutional — and shouldn't have any affect on his ability to deny building permits for beach front property.
"Bottom line though — the open beaches of Texas will remain open.Î¾ There will be no construction or rebuilding in areas that would not have otherwise been allowed absent the Christian amendment to House Bill 770.Î¾ And nothing changes."
Christian — of course — says the law is constitutional.Î¾ But as long as Patterson believes he can deny construction — it's going to take a victorious lawsuit to change his mind.Î¾
Patterson also says the argument over rebuilding Christian's home overshadows the affect beach reclamation can have on the state's strained coastal insurance system.Î¾ Beman Floyd is with the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions.Î¾ He says the battle over property rights has always been fierce on the coast.
"We understand the tensions.Î¾ We understand that there are a lot of economic commitments on the coast and a lot of people have valuable property down there that they want to be able to maintain and build on.Î¾ But at the same time we think that the state needs to take a good hard look at real loss mitigation both in building codes and in land use."Î¾
That means- lower the amount of construction that needs to be insured — and you lower the amount of money that would have to be paid out after a hurricane.Î¾ Patterson says an election this fall will go a long way to reducing construction and that insurance risk on the coast.Î¾ A constitutional amendment that would take current open beaches law — and add the language to the state constitution — is set for the November constitutional amendment ballot.Î¾Î¾
Reporting from Austin — I'm Ben Philpott.