The East Hampton Airport decision didn’t go our way but the one for Truck Beach did. Small victories. We’ll take them.
Here’s the official statement from the Town of East Hampton on the court’s ruling that yes, Truck Beach/Napeague Beach is in fact a public beach:
STATEMENT OF THE TOWN OF EAST HAMPTON REGARDING THE DECISION OF THE
NEW YORK SUPREME COURT IN THE MATTER OF
SEAVIEW AT AMAGANSETT LTD, et. al. v. THE TRUSTEES OF THE FREEHOLDERS, et. al.
After a five-day bench trial, the Hon. Ralph T. Gazzillo, Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, issued a Post-Trial Decision upholding the rights of the East Hampton community to access Napeague Beach for its traditional public uses. “The Town of East Hampton is very pleased that the Court, in the strongest of terms, recognizes the longstanding public use of this oceanfront beach in Napeague,” stated Supervisor Larry Cantwell. “The Court issued a common sense decision rightfully rejecting the ‘questionable’, ‘unimpressive’, and ‘contradictory’ testimony of the Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, while finding those life-long community members who testified on behalf of the Defendants’ to be ‘credible’, ‘harmonious’ and ‘persuasive’.”
The Court’s 33-page decision, which Justice Gazillo stated culminated his nearly 50-year career in public service, methodically reviewed the testimony of all the witnesses and found what everyone knows, Napeague or “truck beach” is a public resource that has been enjoyed by our community for generations. Councilman Fred Overton, who was called to testify on behalf of the Town and the Trustees, stated, “The Court specifically found, ‘It is also clear and undeniable that in living memory—and even perhaps well before—the community has consistently used the beach as a recreation location which is open to the public.”
The Court’s decision explicitly denied the Plaintiffs’ private ownership claims of the beach, as well as their claims that the Town was creating a nuisance by allowing public use of Napeague beach. “The Town will remain steadfast in protecting our public access to our ocean beaches and public land,” concluded Supervisor Cantwell.