Who Owns Lost Property Rights?
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
On top of the economic, environmental, and personal losses we can expect to see as the Chesapeake Bay rises, there is undefined issue that will cause uncountable legal battles between neighbors and/or the states — who owns the area after it has been flooded?
This has already become an issue with increased erosion on the Magothy River, as the Captial Gazette as been reporting on for the better part of the year. See article here. As it stands from the most recent ruling in Anne Arundel County, the riparian rights still remained with the community despite having lost the waterfront land to erosion. This poses interesting questions in connection to the Chesapeake Project. What would the ruling have been had it been a privately owned-riparian right-of-way property? Would that owner then still have claim to the riparian rights within the extent of their original property boundaries? Here at the Chesapeake Project, and for the sake of allowing the waterfront properties to adapt, we certainly hope this becomes the case. As long as we maintain ownership of our property's boundaries, whether it be land or water, those most at risk due to a rising Chesapeake will have the ability to adapt. If this is not the case, the fallout will be widespread — damaging families and communities for decades to come.