"Even people whose coastal houses were spared by Hurricane Ike could see them condemned under a little-known Texas law, and hundreds whose beachfront homes were wrecked could be barred from rebuilding there."
"Now here's the saltwater in the wound: It could be a year before the state tells these homeowners what they may or may not do. And if these homeowners do lose their beachfront property, they may get no compensation from the state."
"The reason: the 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act. Under the law, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, and buildings are illegal there."
"Over the years, the state has repeatedly invoked the law to seize houses in cases where a storm eroded a beach so badly that a home was suddenly sitting on public property. The aftermath of Ike could see the biggest such use of the law in Texas history."