EMINENT DOMAIN COULD COST EH TAXPAYERS MILLIONS
120 families who live near “Truck Beach” pleaded with the Town and Trustees for years to prohibit summer daytime beach driving or to move the SUVs to a safer environment, away from young local children who are trying to get to the shoreline, but were repeatedly rebuffed. So they turned to the courts as a last resort.
The Town of East Hampton has admitted that SUVs are destroying the dunes that protect you during storms. Yet the Town has decided to fight the lawsuit and may still take the beach by eminent domain to keep SUVs there, which will cost untold millions of dollars and come out of your wallet in the form of a tax hike. There are cheaper, smarter, more eco-friendly beach-access solutions such as a shuttle bus service from a centralized parking lot or moving beach driving to an uninhabited beach.
Public pedestrian access is NOT in danger. So the Town is invoking eminient domain solely to inflict SUV driving on densely populated Napeague Beach.
Cheaper and even free solutions exist. Visit our "Solutions" page to learn more.
Here is where the lawsuit and eminent domain (aka condemnation) stand:
- The October 2016 judgement confirmed that the East Hampton Trustees sold the entire Napeague beach into private hands in the 1800s. 2 of the 7 beach title deeds were deemed valid; the other beach title holders were not established by the judge, but note neither the Town of East Hampton nor the Trustees claim to own the beach. The 5 remaining plaintiffs have appealed to have their title deeds reviewed once again. The judge did not fully rule on the nuisance claims, and a decision on the matter is being sought in the appeal.
- The Town of East Hampton had commenced the first step of condemnation in June 2016 by starting state-mandated environmental quality reviews called "SEQR". A public hearing and public and expert written comments revealed that the Town did not follow the law and proper protocols. Following the above judgement, the Town stopped the condemnation proceedings for the time being.
Some facts about condemnation:
- If the nuisance claim is upheld by the judge, condemnation will not undo it. The SUVs will still not be able to use the beach in question, even if the Town makes taxpayers waste tens of millions of dollars for it.
- Community Preservation Funds cannot be used for condemnation. The only way for the Town to pay homeowners' just compensation for condenmation of the beach is taking money from the EH Town budget from other more essential services, or the Town going into more debt. Either way it means a tax hike for you.
- Taxpayers will not have the opportunity to know the cost of condemnation before it happens. The cost could be many, many tens of millions, maybe more. Money that would be far better spent on essential social and emergency services, or not spent at all. The Town is literally gambling with your money!
Don't be fooled by those who say driving on Napeague Beach is the only way to access it. Public access does not have to mean destructive access. Sign our petition today and tell the Town of East Hampton to stop gambling with your money!