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Old Lyme Woman Takes Legal Action To Rid Of Miami Beach Fence
Sep 04, 2017

One woman is taking legal action to knock down a fence closing in Sound View Beach in Old Lyme.

Just to the right of the beach is a now a chain link fence blocking off the privately-owned Miami Beach.

That fence was recently put up by the Miami Beach Association. They also instituted a Clean Beach Pass Program where they charge an access fee to all beachgoers who are not Miami Beach Association, Sound View Beach, or Town of Old Lyme property owners or residents, according to documents.

In that paperwork, the association said it’s because there’s been a boost in inappropriate behavior and people aren’t following the rules.

But one Sound View Beach resident is looking to change the fence and fees. Kathleen Tracy is working to put her name on 1953 case where a Superior Court judge issued an injunction that said the beach association cannot interfere with the public’s free entry, use and enjoyment of the length of both beaches.

She retained the legal services of attorney William McCoy, who said because the original plaintiffs appear to be deceased or cannot be located, Tracy is looking to add her name on as a plaintiff.

According to documents, the developer of the land, Harry J. Hillard decided the beach was to be used and enjoyed by the public.

But some beachgoers understand why the fence is there.

"It’s their community, they pay their taxes, I’m sure they pay a premium for their houses on the beach and they should be able to have their own private beach," Janny Tripler of Middlefield said.

Two members of the Beach Association, who didn’t want to be identified, said there have been thefts, lude behavior, trash and an oversaturation of people on the beach. They said the fence is a means of protection.

Beachgoers Linda Hunt and Bonnie Schneider, both of Newington, have been going to Sound View Beach in Old Lyme since they were teens and were shocked to find the fence up this summer.

"It’s like (Sound View Beach) is getting smaller and smaller," Schneider said.

"Today is Tuesday. Can you imagine what this place is going to be like on a Saturday or Sunday?" Hunt added.

They say it could change their, and many other people’s, summer plans.

"We’re already thinking right now, there’s no room," Schneider said.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Miami Beach Association’s President Mark Mongillo by phone and email for comment and did not hear back.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said the town’s attorney advised against taking legal action since Miami Beach is private, not public, property.