Dewhurst has asked me (Jim
Weatherford) to respond to the concerns
of the recent proposal by the Lower Colorado River Authority to restrict
vehicular traffic to approximately a one-mile stretch of beach at Matagorda.
Under the requirements of the Open Beaches Act and the Texas beach/dune rules, Matagorda County has the authority to regulate pedestrian and vehicular beach access in a manner that preserves and enhances existing public right to use and have access to and from the beach. If Matagorda County decides to prohibit vehicles from driving on and along the beach, beach access is presumed to be preserved and enhanced if parking on or adjacent to the public beach is adequate to accommodate one car for each 15 linear feet of beach, and beach access ways are no farther apart than one- half mile.
Although our office and the Office of the Attorney General have not received any information to review on the LCRA's proposal to restrict vehicular traffic along the beach, any changes to Matagorda County's current beach access plan, will require certification from the Texas General Land Office.
Commissioner Dewhurst is a strong supporter of maintaining public access and preserving the public's common law rights to free and unrestricted access to and use of the beach. He has instructed the beach/dune staff to watch this issue closely, and I assure you that any changes to public beach access, as a result of the LCRA's project in Matagorda, will be reviewed for compliance with the Open Beaches Act and the beach/dune rules.
If you would like further information on the Open Beaches Act and the beach/dune rules, please visit our web site at http://www.glo.state.tx.us/coastal/beachdune.html.
Thank you again for your e-mail. I recommend that you share your concerns with Matagorda County Commissioner George Deshotels at (979) 863-7861.
If you have any additional comments or questions, please contact me at (512) 463-2572. Sincerely,
CFM Resource Conservation Division
Resource Management Program
Texas General Land Office