Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Greenport Wants to Close Off Public Access to the Sound

Long Island Sound is a beautiful place, but you can't get there from here. At least that's what it often feels like, given how much of the waterfront in Connecticut and New York is privately-owned, or owned by towns with restrictive entrance policies and fees.

And yet, where will the constituency for cleaning up the Sound come from, if people can't use it?

It was an eye-opener therefore to read this morning that Greenport, on Orient Point, wants to sell a 15-acre public beach that has been used for decades by divers and fishermen. Greenport might sell to the county, if the county can come up with the money, but it might also sell to an individual. The property is zoned for single-family houses on two acres each. Newsday reports:

While village officials are in no rush to sell the property, they say it will be sold at its full market value, either to another government agency or on the private market.

The place is known and Clark's Beach or Secret Beach. To force another government to pay full market value for it is, in my opinion, unconscionable. Keeping it in the public domain should be as easy as Greenport declaring it a public park. At the very least, the village should work with the county or the state on a sale for well-below-market rate.

If not, another important access point to Long Island Sound could be closed off.


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