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Ike Washes Away Public and Private Boundaries

Hurricane Ike ripped through Texas and is leaving hundreds of homeowners to battle the state for their property due to new tide lines.

Homes that were not destroyed from the 26-foot waves that hit the coast of Texas now face the iron hand of the law if they are too close to newly created tide lines, reported Las Angeles Times.

The 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act is being put to the test now that homeowners are sitting on newly acquired state soil. The act was enacted to keep public property between high and low tides and sell the rest to homeowner, but Ike drew a new line leaving many homeowners without homes or compensation.

"We're talking about damn fools that have built houses on the edge of the sea for as long as man could remember and against every advice anyone has given," said A.R. "Babe" Schwartz, the former senator who wrote the law.

Rebuilding the beaches is not an option and homeowners will not know if they can rebuild or make repairs for a year until the tide boundaries become set again.

Homes that were completely destroyed by the hurricane are able to collect insurance but it is uncertain whether homeowners who now live on public property will receive compensation if condemned by the state, reported Las Angeles Times.

"No one has ever successfully beaten the state when the state comes after you under the Open Beaches Act," said Charles Irvine, a Houston coastal law attorney. "But everyone still tries to think up innovative arguments."