Town settles with Wading River beachfront property owners, will build fence

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | A group of Soundfront homeowners installed this fence on the beach in Wading River. The Town of Riverhead will now have to build its own fence there.

The longstanding battle over public access to a strip of beach in Wading River is over.

Last week, Riverhead Town settled a federal lawsuit filed against the town 16 months ago by four couples that own Soundfront land just east of Wading River Beach.

The settlement acknowledges that the homeowners there own the beach to the mean high water mark — an imaginary line in the sand the landowners say is established every 18.5 years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The town will also have to put up a chain or gate across the beach to mark that spot, to keep trucks from driving and people from pitching tents above that line, something homeowners have complained of in the past. And firefighters will be granted access in an emergency.

Read the nine-page settlement below.

Riverhead Town Settles Beach Front Property Suit