March 22, 2021…While all Rhode Islanders should (and do) have access to our beautiful shoreline, should the State change the parameters of that right, ignoring the confines set by the Constitution, without asking the voters? HR-5469 neglects to address problematic consequences and therefore the RI Association of REALTORS (RIAR) implores you to oppose this pending legislation!
Specifically, HR-5469 would prevent a person from being prosecuted for fishing, gathering seaweed, swimming or passage along the sandy or rocky shoreline within ten feet (10′) of the most recent three high tide lines. In changing the parameters which currently exist, the legislation encroaches on private property rights and could in fact, even result in the taking of private property. Beyond that, certain considerations must be acknowledged:
- The bill creates liability concerns for property owners, who could become liable for claims from people they do not know, and who may be, or have been, on their property without their knowledge;
- It would hinder a local police department’s ability to enforce waterfront areas of private property and high tide lines;
- Some will suggest that property owners can obtain restraining orders to deal with matters civilly; however, homeowners should not be subject to legal costs to protect their private property from related issues;
- The feasibility of enforcing this law is questionable. Ten feet from the most recent high tide is a moving target, changing twice daily, creating confusion for property owners, enforcement bodies and the public.
Please, contact your representative today and ask them to oppose H-5469!