Thursday, June 09, 2005

Selling Off a Public Beach in Suffolk County

I was in a meeting the other day with a handful of local government officials and their bond counsel. At one point the bond counsel pulled a volume containing state laws off a shelf and began reading. He read a passage that said land is to be considered as dedicated parkland if a municipality buys it for park purposes or if it is publicly-owned and has been used for park purposes even if it wasn't acquired for park purposes.

In other words, if town people use town land as a park, it's a park. And parkland can't be sold -- or alienated, as they say -- without an act of the state Legislature.

Now, it will come as no surprise to reveal here that I'm not a lawyer. And I was in that meeting for another purposes and so wasn't really concentrating on that part of it, so I might have misheard.

But it sounds to me like people on eastern Long Island's Sound shore who don't want Greenport to sell Clark's beach might be able to make a case that Greenport can't sell Clark's beach. Greenport has said It will sell to Suffolk County but that the county had better not hesitate because if it does, Greenport will sell to a developer.

Newsday reports today that the Suffolk County Legislature took the first step toward considering buying it.

I said here, back in April, that it would be unconscionable for Greenport to force the county to pay full market value for Clark's Beach. But might it also be illegal without authorization from Albany?


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