Equal Time: Sound fence article didn’t tell the whole story

12/01/2010 4:05 PM |

I am addressing the recent article printed in The Suffolk Times, “Neighbors: It’s a fence too far.”

The photo of the fence was obviously taken during one of the many storms and extreme high tides we have had this fall.

The fence, when installed, was well above the mean high water mark, allowing ample room for pedestrians to transverse the beach. It was originally 13 feet to mean high water and, after complaints, the Trustees asked that I remove one section, at which time I complied, leaving the end of the fence approximately 25 feet from that mark.

Both the code and the permit originally issued allowed for the fence to be within 10 feet of mean high water. Once again, this did not satisfy some people. They complained to the Trustees that the sign posted: END OF PUBLIC BEACH was not considered “neighbor friendly.”

This type of sign was provided by the town public works department to me, as well as many other waterfront property owners that border town beaches. Within two weeks of posting this sign, it was mysteriously removed and my fence was painted with malicious graffiti.

My family purchased this property in 1957, with split-rail fence in place extending to the Sound. The original and all subsequent deeds to our property state that our land extends to the mean high water mark. The property boundary was once again reconfirmed in a 2007 court decision (Christine Rivera, et al. v The State of New York). We maintained this fence for approximately 20 years. Thereafter, the Southold Highway Department installed snow fences on all beachfront properties that bordered town beaches.

These snow fences extended perpendicular to the water line and not closer than 10 feet to that high water mark, as dictated by Chapter 275, the wetlands and shoreline section of the town code. This practice ended in approximately 2006, when the Trustees began regulating the fences by permit to beachfront property owners.

I have adhered to the restrictions of my permit and have accommodated every request made by the Trustees. Many fences exist in Southold Town which not only extend to bulkheads, some extend into the water on a permanent basis.
Since 2006, I have allowed the DEC to fence off my property for nesting piping plovers, leaving only a small access path to the water for my family from April through September. During the summe

r of 2010, the only surviving newborn piping plovers were found my property.

“… As soon as they see somebody walking, they call the cops …,” my neighbor, Paul Calabro, was quoted in the article. I challenge anyone to produce a single incident report filed with the Southold Town Police Department where I, or any member of my family, has complained.

My family and I have been continually harassed for nearly five years by a few disgruntled neighbors. Both John Cleary and Mr. Calabro each have fencing on their property. I doubt either would appreciate individuals climbing over their fences, lounging in their yards, or simply trespassing on their properties as I have been subjected to for many years.
My intent here is to set the record straight and hope people will stop wasting taxpayers’ money and our town officials’ time over a fence that has stood legally on our property since the 1950s.

Ms. Rivera owns a Soundfront property in Mattituck.

Comments

comments

9 Comment

  • high tide mark is where grass grows.not below.
    in previous decades any ‘jetties or cement bulkheading’
    had to have steps for egress built in. why not now?

  • Perhaps the people that are angry at Mrs. Rivera and would like to stay on her property should begin a fund to pay for her taxes. She does pay the tax on that sand. Enough with the whining!! We have a war, drugs in our schools, deer causing havoc in the roads and hungry people to worry about. These people should move on with their own lives already and stop acting like children! It clearly looks like harassment.

  • Waterfront property is subject to regulations to protect the public interest. The mean high tide mark is a line in the sand. It moves. Fences should not be allowed anywhere near the beach.

  • Get a life and allow everybody to use the beach,I will be coming to that beach in the summer.If you don’t like it move.

  • Find a PUBLIC beach “John” and you most likely won;t have to walk backwards to your home.

  • Christine, you didn’t tell the whole story either. Amazing, isn’t it. Well let me add some pieces to the story:

    You didn’t tell the story of how you are currently suing your neighbor, Mr. Paul Calabro, in New York State Supreme Court.

    You didn’t tell the story that you are suing Mr. Calabro for “Damages” and, get this folks, the “Emotional Distress” you suffered by his placing footprints in your precious sand.

    You didn’t tell the story of how you and your husband, Richard Rivera, appeared for sworn depositions and testified to your damages and emotional distress.

    You didn’t tell the story of how your attorney then went out and deposed a number of your neighbors, including members and officers of the Captain Kidd homeowners association, seeking to implicate them in some perceived conspiracy to trespass on your precious sand.

    You didn’t tell the story of your upcoming JURY trial, in New York State Supreme Court, in Riverhead, which , I might add, is open to the public for all to see and hear.

    Yes Christine, there are many things that have not been told in the “full” story of your claims to own the beach. But you can bet that it will all come out at your jury trial. When you and your husband Richard will, once again, have to swear that you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in seeking to recover money damages from your neighbor. I welcome everyone from town to come and watch the trial. Ms. Beth Young, as our resident staff reporter, you should be there to report on the trial, as a follow-up story.

    Because remember folks:
    It ain’t over, till the fat lady sings!

  • Public Trust Doctrine NYS Division of Coastal Resources

    “The Public Trust Doctrine provides that public trust lands, waters, and living resources in a State are held by the State in trust for the benefit of all of the people, and establishes the right of the public to fully enjoy public trust lands, waters and living resources for a wide variety of recognized public uses”. *

    In New York State the public trust waters are the waters of the State, and the public trust lands are the lands now, or formerly, beneath those waters to the high water mark. The living resources inhabiting or dependent on these lands and waters are also subject to the Public Trust Doctrine. On Long Island, as a result of colonial era grants, some of these public trust lands are held by the towns.

    The Public Trust Doctrine is particularly important in establishing the public’s right to use and pass over the foreshore of tidal waters. In Tucci v. Salzhauer (336 NYS2d 721), a case involving the use of land in Hempstead Harbor, the court defined the public’s rights in the foreshore:

    When the tide is in, he may use the water covering the foreshore for boating, bathing, fishing, and other lawful purposes; and when the tide is out, he may pass and repass over the foreshore as a means of access to reach the water for the same purposes and to lounge and recline thereon.

    “The Public Trust Doctrine provides that public trust lands, waters, and living resources in a State are held by the State in trust for the benefit of all of the people, and establishes the right of the public to fully enjoy public trust lands, waters and living resources for a wide variety of recognized public uses”. *

    In New York State the public trust waters are the waters of the State, and the public trust lands are the lands now, or formerly, beneath those waters to the high water mark. The living resources inhabiting or dependent on these lands and waters are also subject to the Public Trust Doctrine. On Long Island, as a result of colonial era grants, some of these public trust lands are held by the towns.

    The Public Trust Doctrine is particularly important in establishing the public’s right to use and pass over the foreshore of tidal waters. In Tucci v. Salzhauer (336 NYS2d 721), a case involving the use of land in Hempstead Harbor, the court defined the public’s rights in the foreshore:

    When the tide is in, he may use the water covering the foreshore for boating, bathing, fishing, and other lawful purposes; and when the tide is out, he may pass and repass over the foreshore as a means of access to reach the water for the same purposes and to lounge and recline thereon.

    “The Public Trust Doctrine provides that public trust lands, waters, and living resources in a State are held by the State in trust for the benefit of all of the people, and establishes the right of the public to fully enjoy public trust lands, waters and living resources for a wide variety of recognized public uses”. *

    In New York State the public trust waters are the waters of the State, and the public trust lands are the lands now, or formerly, beneath those waters to the high water mark. The living resources inhabiting or dependent on these lands and waters are also subject to the Public Trust Doctrine. On Long Island, as a result of colonial era grants, some of these public trust lands are held by the towns.

    The Public Trust Doctrine is particularly important in establishing the public’s right to use and pass over the foreshore of tidal waters. In Tucci v. Salzhauer (336 NYS2d 721), a case involving the use of land in Hempstead Harbor, the court defined the public’s rights in the foreshore:

    When the tide is in, he may use the water covering the foreshore for boating, bathing, fishing, and other lawful purposes; and when the tide is out, he may pass and repass over the foreshore as a means of access to reach the water for the same purposes and to lounge and recline thereon.

  • It’s an illegal fence. So says the DEC.
    The survey submitted was a false instrument. Not the Mean Highg tide mark.
    The system and Judge Emerson were duped.
    It pays to pay a lobying firm $10,000

  • “This is my beach,nobody can use it,don’t even take pictures”.”I don’t care if I am too old to enjoy the beach as long as nobody else enjoys it too”.”It is mine,mine mine.”