Carol Severance, a Galveston property owner, recently was vindicated when the Texas State Supreme Court ruled in her favor. After Hurricane Rita caused major beach erosion, Severance was told that her property was now on the public easement and, thus, subject to removal under the Open Beaches Act. This law “rolls” landward as erosion occurs. Severance claimed that her constitutional rights were being violated.
After years of arguments, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of property rights and against the custom of public beach access. While the court specified this ruling was for Galveston Island, attorneys and others are wondering what the repercussions will be all along the coast line, especially the next time a storm comes.