Update: This bill was re-introduced for the 2013-2014 session and is now H. 804. The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has scheduled a hearing on the bill for March 21, 2013.
The Great Ponds Coalition was formed in May 2011 to oppose H.254, a measure in the Massachusetts legislature that would transfer private land to the public, reversing centuries of settled property law and potentially costing the state and local communities millions of dollars.
This one-paragraph bill was filed on behalf of a private landowner who lost his case in Land Court and is trying to sidestep the legal process through legislative redress.
The bill would transfer private barrier beach property that due to storms or erosion has shifted onto the bottom of the Great Ponds (any pond or lake of more than 10 acres) to public ownership.
While at first glance the bill may appear to have a public benefit – create new public beaches – in fact nearly all these barrier beaches are not accessible, and therefore there would be no real benefit to the public.
The public’s only role in this would be to reimburse private landowners for the land takings – an unimaginable expense for a state grappling with budget constraints.
We invite you to learn more about the Great Ponds land taking bill and join our campaign to halt this disastrous legislation.
For more information, call 617-523-0038. Click here to join our email list.