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RULE §15.1Policy

The General Land Office has identified the following goals as a basis for managing and regulating human impacts on the beach/dune system:

  (1) to assist coastal citizens and local governments in protecting public health and safety and in protecting, preserving, restoring, and enhancing coastal natural resources including barrier islands and peninsulas, mainland areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and the floodplains, beaches, and dunes located there;

  (2) to aid coastal landowners and local governments in using beachfront property in a manner compatible with preserving public and private property, protecting the public's right to benefit from the protective and recreational functions of a healthy beach/dune system, conserving the environment, conserving flora and fauna and their habitat, ensuring public safety, and minimizing loss of life and property due to inappropriate coastal development and the destruction of protective coastal natural features;

  (3) to foster mutual respect between public and private property owners and to assist local governments in managing the Texas coast so that the interests of both the public and private landowners are protected;

  (4) to promote dune protection and ensure that adverse effects on dunes and dune vegetation are avoided whenever practicable. If such adverse effects cannot be avoided and have been minimized, every effort must be made to repair, restore, and rehabilitate existing dunes and dune vegetation;

  (5) to prevent the destruction and erosion of public beaches and other coastal public resources, to encourage the use of environmentally sound erosion response methods, and to discourage those methods such as rigid shorefront structures which can have a harmful impact on the environment and public and private property;

  (6) to aid communities located on barrier islands, peninsulas, and mainland areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico which are extremely vulnerable to flooding and property damage due to violent storms by working to reduce flood losses, by minimizing any waste of public funds in the National Flood Insurance Program, and by ensuring that the insurance remains available and affordable;

  (7) to protect the public's right of access to, use of, and enjoyment of the public beach and associated facilities and services as established by state common law and statutes. The public has vested property rights in Texas' public beaches, and free use of and access to and from the beaches are guaranteed. The Open Beaches Act requires local governments to preserve and enhance use of public beaches and access between the beaches and public roads. If an access point must be closed, then existing law requires it to be replaced with equal or better access consistent with the appropriate local dune protection and beach access plan. Whenever practicable, local governments should enhance public beach use and access;

  (8) to provide coordinated, consistent, responsive, timely, and predictable governmental decision making and permitting processes;

  (9) to recognize that the beach/dune system contains resources of statewide value and concern, which local governments are in the best position to manage on a daily basis. This subchapter is designed to provide local governments with the necessary tools for effective coastal management and are regarded as a minimum standard; local governments are encouraged to develop procedures that provide greater protection for the beach/dune system;

  (10) to educate the public about coastal issues such as dune protection, beach access, erosion, and flood protection, and to provide for public participation in the protection of the beach/dune system and in the development and implementation of the Texas Coastal Management Program; and

  (11) to minimize public expenditure on damages caused on public and private property, including the public beach, by erosion, storms, and meteorological events.

Source Note: The provisions of this §15.1 adopted to be effective February 17, 1993, 18 TexReg 661; amended to be effective May 8, 2023, 48 TexReg 2343

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