|Beach at Cape St. Claire.|
Cape St. Claire has spent years planning a shoreline project to restore its eroding beach, only to face a surprise roadblock.They could have allowed a shoreline project to protect and grow the beach. They just didn't want to. "Climate change" was just a convenient excuse. It must have been those last four millimeters...
Their community beach isn’t just eroding, part of it is gone — along with waterside building rights known as riparian rights.
The association owns lots once connected by a strip of shoreline. But Anne Arundel County says that strip is gone now, and instead of restoration plans they issued permits for two piers requested by the new waterfront property owners.
Councilwoman Amanda Fiedler, R-Severna Park, said the case will likely set a precedent in a county with 533 miles of shoreline. Many waterfront communities have similar agreements with property owners, she said.
“I think that we could see more of these situations as community beaches erode and get closer to property lines of residents,” she said.
Kate Fritz, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay executive director, said the situation puts an exclamation point on warnings about climate change and sea-level rise. The effects are being felt today and make similar projects to keep land from literally disappearing are now more urgent than ever, she said.
While the association did at one point own property between 1222 and 1224 River Bay Road and the Magothy River, county officials have checked and said that land is now gone — underwater, county Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston said. What was land in 1949 is now river bottom.
“So much shoreline has eroded that all the evidence points to, the community lost that lot that was their community beach,” Johnston said.