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Beachfront Property Dispute Commences in Court

Paul Calabro accused of trespassing on property of Christine and Richard Rivera.

A civil lawsuit between a Mattituck couple and a man they say trespassed on their beachfront property - a man defending his actions as simply enjoying the beach - commenced Wednesday afternoon in New York State Supreme Court in Riverside.

The trial over property rights versus beach rights is between Christine and Richard Rivera and Paul Calabro, who is being sued because the Riveras say he set up a beach chair and umbrella on their property.

Exactly where that boundary stands remains to be answered in the case.

The Riveras brought forth two witnesses on Wednesday, both old friends and former neighbors - husband and wife Ellen and Richard Palazzo.

While each of them testified to seeing Calabro set up a beach chair and umbrella in a pathway on the Rivera's property, Calabro's attorney David Raimondo asked if either had seen the tide that day to verify that Calabro was indeed above the high water mark. Both said they hadn't, but that he was "above the drop-off," the Rivera's property before the sand drops down closer to water level.

The Riveras are scheduled to bring forth two more witnesses on Thursday, one a surveyor, according to Raimondo.

Raimondo said to the eight-person jury (including two alternates) that they would "take a trip" to the Rivera's property, saying he will be showing a video at some point in the trial of the property line.

The trial is slated to continue Thursday morning starting at 11 a.m.

Check back Thursday for more coverage.

Paul Calabro December 08, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous...
Benja Schwartz December 08, 2011 at 03:26 AM
“The state has an obligation to answer every case on behalf of the public. Their failure to do so is a violation of our trust.” Paul Calabro attorney for defendant Dave Raimondo So what is the position of the local government? US and NYS are sovereigns, but each individual, and each municipal corporation and other local government entity is also part of the State.
Tom December 08, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Public Lobbying Records: Client Name: West Mattituck Beach Association Client Address: 250 Sound Beach Drive, Mattituck , NY 11952 Principal & Additional Lobbyists: The Parkside Group, LLC & Tiffany Raspberry Lobbyist Officer: Harry Giannoulis Lobbyist Address: The Parkside Group, 132 Nassau Street , Ste 400 NY, NY 10038 Lobbyist Target: Andrew Cuomo Subject: Local Law Total Lobbyist Compensation $10,000
Concerned December 08, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Next time go to one of the beautiful public beaches
forward thinking December 08, 2011 at 04:04 PM
LOCAL GOV'T CLEARLY SHOULD NOT GET INTO CIVIL MATTERS - BASIC KNOWLEDGE
Benja Schwartz December 08, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Sorry forward thinking but your knowledge of the law is unclear. This matter involves a citizen on public property being charged with trespass. Being a court proceeding government is involved. Being an issue of public property local government is an interested party.
forward thinking December 08, 2011 at 11:39 PM
MY ERROR THEN – I THOUGHT CIVIL COURT CASES MOSTLY INVOLVE TWO PRIVATE ENTITIES THAT HAVE A CLAIM THAT MUST BE ADJUDICATED BY JUDGE, JURY, OR ARBITRATOR. THE GOVT TO ME IS ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT GOVERN AS ELECTED AND DO NOT “GET INVOLVED” WHERE THE LAW IS EITHER NOT CLEAR OR “OPEN FOR CIVIL SITUATION INTERPRETATION. SORRY. TO ASK GOVT TO BE "INVOLVED" IN THIS CASE MIGHT BE INAPROPRIATE AS THE PROPERTY IN QUESTION (IS A QUESTION OF CIVIL BOUNDRIES) . ? DO WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO SIT ON THE EDGE OF ANY PROPERTY JUST OUTSIDE THE PROPERTY LINE... I.E. THE EDGE OF SOMEONES FRONT LAWN?
Concerned December 09, 2011 at 05:46 AM
No one cares if we walk the beach, but to sit on a private beach with chairs and an umbrella is just wrong.
Benja Schwartz December 09, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Concerned, your idea of right and wrong is based on what? Not law or justice, but inexperience and ignorance leads to declarations of just right and just wrong. It is illegal for a member of the public to store beach chair and umbrella on a beach in front of private property. But a member of the public can legally walk, stand or sit on public beaches regardless of ownership of the upland. By law there are only a few private beaches in NY State on Gardiners and Robins Islands.
Concerned December 10, 2011 at 12:24 PM
The beach is private until the normal high tide mark. Below the normal high tide mark it is public and one can walk. You cannot setup your beach chair and sit. The case will clarify this matter, but from my view point to set up you beach chair etc on a private beach is rude behavior. Robins Island is an exception as its private beach rights extend into the water. All other private beach rights extend only to the normal high tide mark.
Concerned December 10, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Dear Benja, as to where my idea of right and wrong comes from is knowledge of the law, but more importantly, from my parents who taught me to respect other peoples property and behave accordingly. If we al, do that no one on our north fork will object as we peacefully enjoy a walk on the beach above or below the high tide mark, and my experience is i always receive a friendly hello. Its bad behavior that leads to law suits, fences etc
Christopher December 31, 2011 at 06:57 AM
I always found Southold Town's "below the hide tide mark" rather stingy; it is less generous in comparison to other East End towns. For example, both the towns of Southampton and East Hampton consider anything between the dunes and the water, which is essentially the entire beach, public domain. One would think that if South side towns are able to maintain such strong public access despite the $30,000,000+ homes (and their powerful occupants) dotting their shores, Southold could put a better fight for the general public against the comparatively dinky North Fork waterfront properties.

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