On Tuesday, the Board agreed to replace a boulder removed from a Mattituck property and pay the property owners' $15,000 legal fees to settle a federal lawsuit that was filed against the town and Southold Supervisor Scott Russell in December 2011.
said she hopes this is the last chapter of an ongoing dispute she's had with the town over her property lines. In November, Rivera said two town employees came and removed the rock from her property, claiming it was obstructing access to the public beach at the end of Inlet Drive.
Rivera said she had a survey done in 2007, after neighbors repeatedly questioned her property lines. She said the both the town attorney and code enforcement officer had the survey because they had come to look at claims that part of her landscaping was on town property. While Rivera had to remove some mulch as a result, she said the 2007 survey indicated the rock was on her property.
"It's not about the rock, it's about our constitutional rights. Thank God we have the means to protect our property rights," Rivera said.
She said once the boulder was removed she went to Russell and showed him her survey. She said Russell disagreed with her survey.
Rivera said Russell's actions in the matter are inappropriate and said he should not be able to "unilaterally make decisions against the law." Despite her criticism of the supervisor, she said other members of the town showed "absolute professionalism" and praised assessor Robert Scott, Code Enforcement Officer Damon Rallis, Director of Public Works Jim McMahon, and Town Attorney Lori Hulse.
"I hope and pray that this is the end of it," Rivera said. "They shouldn't have taken it in the first place. They knew it was on our property."
Just days prior to the filing of this suit, the Riveras had , which had accused him of trespassing on their land.
A request for comment from the town was not immediately returned. However the town released the following statement, according to a report on The Suffolk Times: “The town and the town supervisor apologize to Mr. and Mrs. Rivera for removing the rock. The town acknowledges that the rock was on Mr. and Mrs. Rivera’s property, as confirmed by a recent survey, and should not have been removed. The rock will be restored and payment will be made to Mr. and Mrs. Rivera for their costs and damages.”