Senator Frantz Testifies Against Changes to Waterfront Property Rights

February 23, 2012
Senator Frantz speaking before the Environment Committee.

Senator Frantz speaking before the Environment Committee.

Hartford – State Senator L. Scott Frantz (R-36) testified before the General Assembly’s Environment Committee in opposition to House Bill 5128, An Act Concerning Certain Revisions To The Coastal Zone Management Statutes on Wednesday, February 22nd.

“The changes proposed in the legislation appear extraordinary and call for overreaching changes in the policy of this state regarding coastal management and the right to live on the shore,” said Senator Frantz in prepared remarks.

The bill would amend the goal and policies of the Coastal Management Act to “encourage a fair and orderly legal process to foster strategic retreat of property ownership, over a period of several decades, for coastal lands that have a likelihood of being lost due to erosion and coastal lands that contain structures that are subject to repetitive damage.”

Currently, there is an existing legal framework through eminent domain to take private property for legitimate purposes. This language could be interpreted as giving greater authority to the state government to force residents to waive ownership of waterfront property depending on their proximity to bodies of water or the possibility of future storm damage.

“If the state wishes to create a program to buy shoreline land and return it to its natural state, and can find the resources to accomplish that, it would be far preferable to formalizing a policy that goes against the fundamental principle of private ownership of land,” concluded Senator Frantz. “To circumvent the accepted constitutional rationale that justifies the taking of private property for a public purpose seems irresponsible and profoundly wrong.”