The Westerly Sun reported on Monday's Town Council meeting with reports on discussion of the town-wide survey and shoreline access, You can read the entire article, by Cynthia Drummond, here.
The Council decided to hold interviews with two of the three companies making survey proposals. These will be open to the public, perhaps in early February.
Regarding shoreline access, the Sun reports "Shoreline access is guaranteed in the Rhode Island Constitution, and a 1982 Rhode Island Supreme Court decision defined the boundary of public access as the the average level of mean high tide over 18.6 years. In recent years, however, rising sea levels and the resulting shifts in shorelines have made that calculation next to impossible."
At the meeting, Rep. Blake Filippi proposed a more workable definition for the publicly-accessible section of the shoreline. “One of the things I’m thinking is 10 feet beyond the wet sand,” he said. “That could give us a pretty clear line in the sand, so to speak, that people can look at.”
Filippi said the challenge was to ensure public access while respecting the rights of beachfront property owners. “Our difficulty is preserving these public access rights and respecting people’s property rights, and I think if we all work together, we can find a way to do it.”