Editor, This letter is in response to the recent column by Dick Yarbrough on the attempts by the Sea Island Company to build structures on land on the southern tip of Sea Island.
If the owner — in this case, the Sea Island Company — has clear title to this property, it should be able to do whatever it can legally do with it.
The owner will have to have the wetland studies conducted and approved by the Corps of Engineers. If allowed to build both structures and road, the owner probably will have to substitute land to compensate for any wetlands filled.
Whether these legal actions are opposed by one or many doesn’t matter. Property rights should trump all.
If you want to leave this property in its natural state, make the Sea Island Company a valid offer, reimburse it for the property taxes that it has paid for the past 30 years and pay it for the land. Then, you or your group can assume ownership, pay the taxes and watch the property erode if you wish.
An interesting note surfaced as I was researching the Guthrie song that Mr. Yarbrough quoted. This land may belong to you and me, according to Mr. Yarbrough; Mr. Guthrie; and even Peter, Paul and Mary, who recorded the song at one time; but their recording certainly was viewed as their personal property. When a group with views they didn’t like began using their recording at its events, Peter and Paul were quick to assert their rights to be compensated for its use and to determine who used it.
Property rights are perhaps the essential personal right of an individual. Whether for personal property such as televisions, automobiles, a house or a grove of trees on some acres of land, the right to purchase and legally hold property is an essential aspect of freedom.
The founders valued it as one of three: life, liberty and property. They realized that if you didn’t have the right to own and use property, you weren’t free. This holds for a corporation like Sea Island just as for you and me.
— Peter Winn Martin, D.V.M.