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The Supreme Court has stepped into a property-rights dispute over plans to rebuild eroded beaches on Florida's Gulf coast.


The court agreed to decide whether the Constitution imposes limits on governments' authority to combat beach erosion when beachfront private property would be affected.

Beachfront property owners in the area of Destin, Fla., are trying to block an effort by local and state officials to add sand to beaches eroded from three hurricanes and a tropical storm since 1995. The project would span nearly seven miles of shoreline and widen the beach by 210 feet.

The widening would give the state ownership of some of the beach, and the homeowners argue that their beach access would be limited without proper compensation.

The Florida Supreme Court said the state has a constitutional duty to protect the beaches. A Florida law allows the state to add sand to beaches without disturbing beachfront properties or by compensating property owners in some cases, the court said.


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