Down in Miami a couple of years ago, they banned the use of residential property for commercial purposes. This came as a surprise to a wealthy couple who had rented a house for a 40th-birthday party in February, and then faced the threat of a police blockade.
In all, nearly a mile of East Hampton’s oceanfront shoreline could become off limits to the public if parallel lawsuits brought by a group of property owners prevail. There is a great risk that stretches of beach in Amagansett and on Napeague would be, in effect, privatized after centuries of being open to all who wished to pass. The property owners are claiming that a 19th-century sale by the East Hampton Town Trustees reserved for them alone the use of the area above the high-tide line. If they win in court, everything from beach driving to birdwatching could be blocked when the tide is up.
That town, state, and federal officials are vowing to do something about the dangerous shoaling of the Montauk Inlet gives many people hope. However, the owners, captains, and crews of the large vessels that use the harbor should not let up their pressure until the equipment arrives and the job starts.