IN *TEXAS Reveley Memorial Services Simple Funerals Austin Information: 441-7500 Good books in every field JENKINS PUBLISHING CO. The Pemberton Press John H. Jenkins, Publisher i ,sgfr 0;1 bhe’ TI 1A-;7fi GREAT AMERICAN SM 0 KEOUT blight on entire leisure-home subdivisions. The beautiful and uncluttered beach intended for the use of all homeowners, their family, friends, and the public now is cluttered with structures. The persons who were notified by the attorney general that they could not rebuild have now been sued in State Court in Travis County to prevent reconstruction. All are vigorously contesting the rule of law which protects the rights of the public. All will collect for a total loss under their, ,windstorm catastrophe insurance policy coverage combined with their flood insurance coverage. Of course they all still own record title of the land in question in the unlikely event the beach is restored either by natural means or by artificial means through a beach restoration program such as that proposed for some portions of Galveston Island in a recent Corps of Engineers study at an estimated cost of $32,000,000. If the citizens of Galveston or Galveston County tax themselves to vote for the restoration of West End beaches, I will be more than a little surprised. Most of them I hear from already view it as Persona! Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 459-6577 a welfare program for rich folks from Houston and elsewhere. It may be even tougher to persuade Mother Nature to restore the beach, since all geology reports and studies which deal with the erosion problems of the upper Gulf Coast unanimously declare one ever present truth: there is a paucity of sand necessary to the replenishment of the Gulf Shore beaches. We all presume that the Gulf bottom is sand, so sand will restore the beaches. Not so. The sand which developed the barrier islands and “Political realities .. . make those simple remedies difficult or impossible, depending upon whose ox the proposed solution gores.” peninsulas of Texas on the upper coast once came from the rivers of Texas, now sand-free as a result of the many dams, and from the mighty Mississippi. For the last two hundred years, it too has been a diminishing source as the Mississippi Delta changed and diverted the sand which once found its way to the Texas Coast in the normal processes of littoral drift. So much for beach restoration. ONE GREAT TRUTH about the political system is that remedies are simple; political realities, however, make those simple remedies difficult or impossible, depending upon whose ox the proposed solution gores. I propose a simple solution to the erosion problem. Each new development on the Gulf Coast should be required to create a reserve fund through a surcharge on each lot sale in the development. The amount of the reserve to be funded should be calculated on the basis of the cost of purchasing any beachfront lot at market value if that lot is lost as a homesite through erosion as the vegetation line changes due to the forces of nature. In that way the development lot owner, obtaining the benefit of a clear and usable beach, pays a minimal cost for that guarantee in perpetuity. The beachfront lot owner who buys a lot is guaranteed in advance that when his lot ID is lost to erosion, as it inevitably will be lost, he will be compensated through the fund into which he and other development owners contributed in common. Unless the windstorm and flood insurance benefits are severely limited, he will then have recovered more than his entire leisure-home investment. Most of those owners will also have depreciated the premises for income taxes purposes as a business investment since a good many beachfront owners lease or rent those premises for that very reason during off-season periods. In existing subdivisions, the municipal utility district law should be amended to provide authority for those districts to issue bonds. The bonds would provide funds for the acquisition of such lots as may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the subdivision; thus, the development would not be burdened with houses on the beach or in the water as a blight upon that development and its leisure-time uses. The remedy is practical and inexpensive when spread among the total beneficiaries. It avoids the continuing conflict between the rights of the public and the beachfront leisure-home owners who will then have no interference from the State with regard to their property rights. I happen to believe an equal responsibility in property ownership and property rights goes with the territory, and that responsibility rests on all common beneficiaries in the development rather than the public at large that receives no benefit from the development. In some cases the public beach use is diminished substantially because of the “Hue and Cry” from the development lot owners who after a time adopt the view that their beach is really their private beach and not a public beach. It’s hard for the public to generate any sympathy for the beachfront-lot owner. Now I will stop preaching and really go to meddling. The next step is to require a more adequate insurance rate for windstorm insurance written in the windstorm catastrophe pool for residences and businesses in unprotected areas of barrier islands and peninsulas. We must also severely limit flood insurance. Since flood insurance claims are four times greater than premium income, it should be obvious that it was never intended to insure three-hundredthousand-dollar beachfront leisure homes subject to violent wave action. One need only examine the ruins of the structures within the developments from the beach to the bay as a result of a small storm called Alicia to understand the folly of flood insurance for leisure homes in areas of less than five feet elevation with maximum wind force and wave action exposure. We must now finally face the reality of catastrophic losses by the insurance companies’ writing windstorm insurance in the pool and recognize that some 6 NOVEMBER 11, 1983
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