After decades of public use, the fight to keep Long Island’s “Truck Beach” open to visitors may have hit its final roadblock.
The state’s highest court has put to rest the issue of Amagansett’s most contested stretch of sand, denying an attempt by East Hampton Town officials to maintain public access to the 4,000-foot beach.
The Court of Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed a February decision that the beach belongs to the homeowners who live at its adjacent properties, not the town, Newsday reported. Having a private rather than public beach in front of their houses greatly enhances the value of those properties.
The homeowners sued East Hampton in 2009, claiming the beach — long a popular destination for day visitors and local fisherman who would park their vehicles there — was private property. Their claim was rooted in the town trustees’ 1882 sale of a tract of land, including the beach, to developer Arthur Benson.
A judge sided with the town in 2016, allowing the town to maintain public access, before that ruling was overturned on appeal five years later. Tuesday’s decision means that the approximately 110 nearby homeowners will be responsible for maintaining the 22-acre parcel moving forward, according to Newsday.
Apart from greater privacy and less pickup truck exhaust, of course, the homeowners also stand to see their property values increase immensely due to the ruling.
“It puts this to bed,” attorney Stephen Angel, who represented the homeowners, told the publication. “Our clients own the property.”
East Hampton Town officials disagree. The town has floated the possibility of condemning the property, as a last resort, through eminent domain. At least one town supervisor, Peter Van Scoyoc, supports that move.
“I personally feel it’s incumbent upon us and appropriate to condemn for the public good,” Van Scoyoc told Newsday.
[Newsday] — Dennis Lynch