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Beach Access

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rotorhead
October 10, 2012 01:31PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,449

One of the discussions that almost started up before was the right of the public to access beaches in front of private property. In the Virgin Islands the public has the right to access any beach up to 50 from the mean high tide mark even though this land is deeded to the property owner who owns the beachfront property.

What are the rights and obligations of the property owner? If someone hurts themselves on "your" beach can you be sued? Who is responsible for cleaning and removing trash from "your" beach? Does the property owner have any rights on "their" property or has the government "taken" the property? Whos obligation is it to enforce littering laws on this "taken" property?

Re: Beach Access

OldTart
October 10, 2012 05:30PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

To have those questions answered the best bet would be to contact CZM directly. Are you even sure that public access to beaches reached by water extends to 50' from the mean high tide mark?

Re: Beach Access
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rotorhead
October 10, 2012 05:57PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,449

I used to own Little Hans Lollick Island north of St Thomas. I did check with CZM, that is where I was told about the 50 feet above mean high tide rule. I ask the questions because I do not think that the law has been very well thought out. I almost bought a lot in Salt River a few lots from the Historical Park. The beach there was trashed every weekend. The government does nothing to clean up this trash. The same for Little Hans Lollick. I would go over there every couple of weeks to find the beaches trashed.

So, the government forces landowners to allow access to the beach but does nothing to require that the users clean the beach or provide a subsidy to the land owners to clean up the trash that is deposited there by beach goers.

The land owner either lives in trash or is forced to clean up themselves.

This is the same situation that occurs at Cane Bay.

Re: Beach Access

OldTart
October 10, 2012 06:58PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
rotorhead
I used to own Little Hans Lollick Island north of St Thomas.

Interesting. I spent many a wonderful day there in the 80s when a friend with a helicopter would drop me off with a pal to spend the day. How long ago did you own it? Before PRM I presume? Last I heard it was for sale for close to $25 million but not sure if that was for both islands? Whenever I was there I never saw any trash at all - it was always pristine.

Re: Beach Access
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rotorhead
October 10, 2012 09:39PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,449

Quote
OldTart
Interesting. I spent many a wonderful day there in the 80s when a friend with a helicopter would drop me off with a pal to spend the day. How long ago did you own it? Before PRM I presume? Last I heard it was for sale for close to $25 million but not sure if that was for both islands? Whenever I was there I never saw any trash at all - it was always pristine.

I bought it in 1999. It had been owned since the 1940's by a group of professors from Purdue. They formed Lafayette Virgin Islands Corp to own the island. The lady that I bought it from was the last surviving spouse from that group. Larry LaPlace from Larry's Hideaway acted as a caretaker for me and I allowed him to raise and harvest goats on the island. I sold it in 2005 when it became obvious that the government was not going to allow development on the island without greasing a few palms. They also wanted a $300,000 environmental impact study before allowing ANY development. The island was zoned R1 and I just wanted to build a single family residence.

The trash was usually not left on the beach but inland. Many times Larry would call me and let me know that campers had moved onto the island. I once flew over to find a whole camp set up about 50 yards from the beach in a clearing. They had 4 or 5 tents and multiple cook stoves and lots of food. They were obviously there for a long camping trip. They ignored all of the no trespassing signs which were prominently posted at the beach. When the beach was trashed it was usually the result of what looked like a major party. There would be beer cans and bottles everywhere.

Buying the island was my original motivation for learning how to fly helicopters. When I first bought the island I would either have to fly from STX to STT then hire Air Center to take me over to the island, or fly to STT then a taxi to Red Hook and rent a boat to go out to the island. In 2000 I learned to fly helicopters, bought one and could then go over to the island every week or so. I have landed on the beach at Little Hans Lollick 100's of times. We also owned Pelican Cay on the north side of Little Hans. I also landed a few times in the fenced yard behind Larry's Hideaway to check in with Larry.

The corporation that I sold to also bought Big Hans Lollick Islands with grandiose plans for development of a large resort and golf course on Big Hans and executive homes on Little Hans. I just laughed when they told me their plans and wished them luck.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/10/2012 10:04PM by rotorhead.

Re: Beach Access
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rotorhead
October 10, 2012 10:48PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,449

Picture on Little Hans northside in about 2003. The Tobagos and Jost in the background.

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 11, 2012 07:24AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

I never camped on Little Hans Lolick but we did so on various occassions on Big Hans Lollick.
A friend, Per Dohm, would drop us off in his boat and pick us up a week later, where we would depart with bags of trash that others had left behind. We slept in a huge hammock since the west indian posseum (palm rats) would be out at night and hung our belongings up, out of reach of the nibbling goats and put large rocks on our cooler tops and had a tarp for shade and shelter from rain. It was extremely pleasant to sleep under a canopy of stars, and run around starkers for a week, walk a deserted beach day or night, swim, fish and feel like Swiss Family Robinson, without the family.

Re: Beach Access

noOne
October 12, 2012 02:00AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 1,495

how were the mosquitos alana?

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 12, 2012 10:47AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Quote
noOne
how were the mosquitos alana?

We had a mosquito net and bug spray but don't recall it being bad or I'd be covered in bug bites in the pictures I have.
It would have been a miserable week if there had been swarms of them and as well as the sandflies/noseeums!
We didn't even have any means of contact with the outside world from Hans Lollick so we'd have been out of luck if there had been.
The first night was a bit unnerving as we got there very late in the afternoon. When finally got things set up for the night and we were sitting around the fire, there was all this crashing noise coming from the bush. A bit scary! We didn't know what it was until we discovered we were sharing the island with the goats. Then we discovered the palm rats and opted for the hammock over the sleeeping bags on the ground.
We had a lobster snare, a spear gun and fishing line so we ate very well, in additon to what we brought with us for the week.

Re: Beach Access

VIsnorkeler
October 12, 2012 12:45PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 551

Had to google palm rats -- ew.

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 12, 2012 01:51PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

They are big, bold suckers, fthat's for sure!
Where there are palms, there are palm rats a/k/a west indian posseum (nick-name - they aren't really!).
I see them leaping from tree to tree on occassion at dusk, depending on location.

Re: Beach Access

IslandHops
October 12, 2012 03:39PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 929

West Indian possum - good one.

Reminds me of while back during a Valentines dinner at a certain high-end restaurant on STX that overlooks a marina and shall remain unnamed (although they have awesome crab cakes and Cesar salad). We were just considering desert when a rather large, and bold, roach wanders across the table, kicks over a glass of water, and looks at me like "what you gonna do about it bud?" And yes, it was large enough to tell it was a male roach even if I may be mistaken in my recollection regarding the water glass - it might have been wine. Anyway I digress. I pointed out the offending roach to the waiter as it scurried away (the roach not the waiter). Waiter said it wasn't really a roach but was a ...Cruzan Cricket.

A Cruzan Cricket! Ha too funny. Nearly pissed myself laughing at that one. cool

Re: Beach Access

VIsnorkeler
October 12, 2012 04:22PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 551

When I lived in Florida (for 30+ years) we called those nasty things "palmetto bugs." Here I have heard them called mahogony birds. Both here and there I have seen some big enough to fit a saddle! Blick!!

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 12, 2012 05:39PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Quote
IslandHops
West Indian possum - good one.

Reminds me of while back during a Valentines dinner at a certain high-end restaurant on STX that overlooks a marina and shall remain unnamed (although they have awesome crab cakes and Cesar salad). We were just considering desert when a rather large, and bold, roach wanders across the table, kicks over a glass of water, and looks at me like "what you gonna do about it bud?" And yes, it was large enough to tell it was a male roach even if I may be mistaken in my recollection regarding the water glass - it might have been wine. Anyway I digress. I pointed out the offending roach to the waiter as it scurried away (the roach not the waiter). Waiter said it wasn't really a roach but was a ...Cruzan Cricket.

A Cruzan Cricket! Ha too funny. Nearly pissed myself laughing at that one. cool

Double ewwww! Good thing you'd already done dinner or you might have fled.
Hope dessert was on the house!wink

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 12, 2012 07:53PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Sorry Rotorhead, we did get off topic,

Re: Beach Access
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rotorhead
October 12, 2012 08:53PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,449

Quote
Alana33
Sorry Rotorhead, we did get off topic,

No problem! As long as everyone is enjoying the discussion. Talk away.

Re: Beach Access

VIsnorkeler
October 12, 2012 11:50PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 551

I was just thinking how much I hate when topics on the other board gets off topic, but this is fun over here for some reason!!

Re: Beach Access

Jamison
October 13, 2012 10:05AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,037

The last place I rented, I went to the landlord and said, "boy, sure are some big cockroaches in there. I think they were watching me and they scared my puppy" and his excited response was "yeah, they're the mexican kind. Pretty cool huh?" hahaha

Back on topic though. The island and the mess reminds me of the US in the early 80's before the give a hoot don't pollute campaign and the public school education programs started to take hold and people created groups to get kids excited about cleaning. I don't know what that would cost and although it does fall under government funding, it comes down to volunteers who want to take the time to help do something about it and donations from people who have a little extra to spare, you know, after they can buy a helicopter and fly to their own island. The fact that these beaches are all open to all of us, is the coolest thing about this place. It's free, but keeping it clean comes down to a million individual efforts and that starts with education.

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 13, 2012 11:07AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Quote
rotorhead
Quote
Alana33
Sorry Rotorhead, we did get off topic,

No problem! As long as everyone is enjoying the discussion. Talk away.

Cool helicopter by the way!wink

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
October 13, 2012 11:13AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Quote
Jamison
The last place I rented, I went to the landlord and said, "boy, sure are some big cockroaches in there. I think they were watching me and they scared my puppy" and his excited response was "yeah, they're the mexican kind. Pretty cool huh?" hahaha

Back on topic though. The island and the mess reminds me of the US in the early 80's before the give a hoot don't pollute campaign and the public school education programs started to take hold and people created groups to get kids excited about cleaning. I don't know what that would cost and although it does fall under government funding, it comes down to volunteers who want to take the time to help do something about it and donations from people who have a little extra to spare, you know, after they can buy a helicopter and fly to their own island. The fact that these beaches are all open to all of us, is the coolest thing about this place. It's free, but keeping it clean comes down to a million individual efforts and that starts with education.

Same problems in BVI. We would spend a month or so in the summer up at Norman Island and people were forever dumping their garbage there, including appliances usually right in front of the "No Dumping" sign. I mean what did they think was going to happen to all that stuff? The garbage fairy was going to come and take it away? We got a group of friends together to go up to play and clean up one weekend.
Not a fun task but we loved spending time there.

Re: Beach Access

Jamison
October 13, 2012 05:10PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,037

Quote
Alana33
Same problems in BVI. We would spend a month or so in the summer up at Norman Island and people were forever dumping their garbage there, including appliances usually right in front of the "No Dumping" sign. I mean what did they think was going to happen to all that stuff? The garbage fairy was going to come and take it away? We got a group of friends together to go up to play and clean up one weekend.
Not a fun task but we loved spending time there.

Before I moved down I use to tube a lot and we would clean up as we went. My kayak woul be filled with trash almost everytime I got home.

Re: Beach Access

usvichic
October 15, 2012 06:59AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 74

My Cat LOVES Palm Rats :big grin

About the beach access and litter - we had friend's in F'Sted that were told they HAD to provide beach access across their property to the beach. They did, but they made sure to plant lots of bouganvilla along that access and they didn't trim it. Never had a trash problem wink

Re: Beach Access

speee1dy
November 01, 2012 08:54PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,404

now thats the way to do it.

Re: Beach Access

Alana33
November 05, 2012 08:55AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,701

Back to Beach Access:

Here's a quote from a Daily News article on the Judith's Fancy situation with reagrd to access:

"Pursuant to the United States Constitution and the Revised Organic Act of 1954, private property owners have a right to restrict public access to their private property," Frazer said in a statement issued Wednesday. "There is no law in the Virgin Islands that obligates a private property owner or group of owners, to give access to their private property to the public. Private Property owners have the right to restrict or deny access to their private property."

Additionally, the Open Shoreline law provides that the shorelines and beaches of the Virgin Islands are considered open and accessible to the public, Frazer said.

That law gives the public "the right to use and enjoy the shorelines of the United States Virgin Islands," according to the statement.

However, while the public has a right to the beaches and shorelines, there is no right to perpendicular or similar access across private property to reach the shoreline and beaches, according to Frazer.

The Open Shoreline law does not give the public the right to access private property, as in the Judith's Fancy community and other properties abutting shorelines of the Virgin Islands, according to the attorney general's statement. The law gives the public access to the shoreline upland to the closer of the line of permanent vegetation or 50 feet, but the access to the shoreline across private property from land side is not guaranteed to the public, Frazer determined."

[virginislandsdailynews.com]

Re: Beach Access

Linda J
November 05, 2012 12:38PM

Registered: 13 years ago
Posts: 3,903

For this to be pertinent to JF, the road must not be considered public, but private. As I understand it, that's also what the ruling said.

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