Battle for the beachfront
The Toledo Blade
The battle for Ohioís beaches continues in the General
Assembly with introduction of a new version of a bill
that would allow owners of beach-front property to put
the Lake Erie shore off limits to its true owners - the
The latest legislation is no better than the first. It
still amounts to an audacious land grab to benefit a few
politically connected owners of some of the stateís most
desirable home sites along the lake.
State Rep. Tim Grendell, a Chesterland Republican and
author of this Robin Hood-in-reverse measure, continues
to spread the falsehood that his bill would give back
to shoreline property owners land that the state "took
from them without compensation."
Heís got it exactly backwards.
Under federal and state laws whose foundation extends
to antiquity, those who own beachfront land donít own
the beach or the lake in front of their property. The
As the new bill was unveiled, four former directors of
the state Department of Natural Resources - Republicans
and Democrats alike - correctly noted that the measure
would "put our coastal resources at risk by giving
those few Ohioans who own land directly on the lakeshore
the ability to extend their holdings into the lake itself."
Such action, the former DNR directors pointed out, would
be a direct assault on "the heritage of all Ohioans."
What Mr. Grendellís elitist crusade boils down to is
allowing well-to-do property owners the right to keep
the public off the beach and out of the water in front
of their homes or cottages.
It would erase the ages-old doctrine of "public
trust," which holds that the public at large owns
and retains access to natural waterways for navigation,
fishing, and recreation.
This is a doctrine that has served the interests of all
Ohioans equitably for some 200 years. We see no useful
purpose in abrogating the rights of the many for the selfish
pleasures of a few.