California to consider buying back private beachfront properties

I am familiar with California using eminent domain to buy up tracks of privately held beachfront property. Prior events were a wave of racist maneuvers to force black residents away from places white people suddenly didn't want them. This resulted in wholesale theft of generational wealth and the destruction of communities that California is only now beginning to reckon with.

Eminent domain is now being suggested to minimize the amount of money wealthy folks living on the beach are likely to cost the state. In efforts to preserve their private property, it is expected those rich folk will push the State to save their homes from sea-level rise. The proposal is to buy 'endangered' properties from the current owners, and then rent the properties out at a profit. California would manage the rental income to create a fund for clean-up and removal of the homes once the sea gets too close.


It's expensive to fight the sea. It's expensive not to do so. When property values plummet, so do property taxes. But right now property values here are still high, and Allen wants to put that value to use before it's gone.

That's why the 43-year-old Democrat has proposed legislation to create a revolving loan program, allowing California counties and communities to purchase vulnerable coastal properties. The goal would then be to rent those properties out, either to the original homeowner or someone else, and use that money to pay off the loan until the property is no longer safe to live in.

Think of it like a city-run Airbnb, where the profits go to making sure nobody is left picking up the full tab when the Pacific comes to collect.

It's a strategy that's never been tried at such a large scale, and its implementation would come with plenty of questions, policy experts say. But there's hope in various parts of the country that the legislation passes, putting to test a buy-to-rent strategy that could offer a more permanent solution to a growing problem.

I wonder if many of these properties are even paying meaningful property taxes. In 1970's California a scheme was created whereby property taxes barely increase over time, leaving long-time homeowners paying far below what the market will demand if they sell their home. Getting those properties participating in generating revenue for the state may help.

Imagine the battle.