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Protecting our shorelines and waterways should — in the long run — protect the economic value of properties <br />in the ecosystem, including most of the land adjacent to the shoreline and waterways. However, many people <br />believe they have the right to do whatever they want on their own private property: to build what they want, to <br />clear and grade, and to spray whatever they choose wherever they want on their own land. These people claim <br />that too much restriction on where they can build on a parcel would probably decrease their land value and <br />constitute an illegal “taking” of their land without fair compensation. In some instances, this may be a <br />legitimate argument. <br /> <br />Too many people believe the US Constitution gives them an unrestricted right to do whatever they want on their <br />own land. They do not seem to realize there are no “unrestricted” rights, and this has been demonstrated by the <br />decisions of courts up to and including the US Supreme Court. <br /> <br />The First Amendment guaranty of free speech does not allow one person to slander another, to incite a riot, or to <br />yell “fire” in a crowded theater. The Second Amendment may protect the right of an individual to bear arms, <br />but it does not give one an unrestricted right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit or to own a fully <br />automatic firearm without a license, depending on state law. So, property rights are not unrestricted either, <br />especially if what one wants to do on their land adversely affects others in the community and beyond. You <br />cannot burn brush during a burn ban, make unreasonable amount of noise, or run a business on your <br />residentially zoned property without a proper permit. So, why should people think they have a right to foul the <br />water or cause erosion downstream from their property? We just need to ensure that due process is followed and <br />people are fairly compensated for any loss in value that results from applying tougher restrictions on the use of <br />their property. <br /> <br />We must always strive to serve the greater good, but not unfairly penalize individuals to do so. If we decide to <br />take some action that we believe serves the greater good, “we” must pay for it. The burden for protecting our <br />environment should be shared by all, not placed on the backs of a few property owners. <br /> <br />2 <br />