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We're being sued

September 4, 2012/Hal Heindel

In May, following complaints from residents about noise, rowdiness and public nuisance, the Irondequoit Town Board adopted amendments to the town's boating ordinance that state that boats must stay at least 300 off shore from a strip of homes in Sea Breeze, from about the Irondequoit Bay outlet to Lake Bluff Drive, and may not raft or tether together.

Boaters in an alliance called Restore Public Waters in Rochester have raised more than $5,000 for attorney's fees, hired attorney Alan J. Knauf of Knauf and Shaw LLP to represent them, and on July 6 officially filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court. Total costs are expected to be a minimum of $9,000 and a maximum of $14,000 ...

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Dear Mr. Knauf

October 30, 2012/Hal Heindel

Theresa and I received your letter of October 24. There's one small point we'd be amiss to not bring to your attention.

You say your only remaining claim related to the beach is that the public has the right of passage along the lake shore below the ordinary high water mark. Funny thing is, Mr. Knauf, that claim never held any water - not a single drop - to begin with. That's because in New York State the Lake Ontario boundary happens to be the mean low water mark, set in 1985 at 243.3 feet, not the fluctuating ordinary high water mark you cite in your letter.

You can understand how that might put a different footing on things. Like using centimeters instead of inches, or Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. I know, "Felcher", "Fletcher" - what's the difference. Except in this case ...

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Whose Beach is it, anyway?

August 23, 2012/Hal Heindel

An Irishman walks into a bar and sees two guys duking it out. During a lull, he asks "Is this a private fight, or can anybody get in on it?" I'm not Irish, but when people threaten to steal from me, I can be.

Admittedly, I hadn't been paying much attention to the boisterous boat parties in front of our Seabreeze Beach house every warm, sunny Saturday and Sunday afternoon. My partner Terry is feisty enough to handle that on her own. Especially after two party-prepped and pre-lubed debutantes took a shortcut through our front yard to get to the boats last year, physically pushing her aside while proclaiming "It's a beach, bitch!" Yep, she's up to that. Me, I just stayed away most weekends.

Then the Restore Public Waters in Rochester alliance posted their land grab intentions on the internet: "Yes, you will once again be legally allowed to walk the beach without being harassed by the residents or the government!"...

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Boat Block Party

Right of Passage

November 13, 2012/Hal Heindel

"While originally the case also included a claim that the additional beach was public land, we have deleted that claim. Our only claim related to the beach is that the public has the right of passage along the lake shore below the ordinary high water mark."

Alan J. Knauf, Attorney

In light of the many precedents regarding accretion (Who's Beach is it, anyway?), I'm not surprised by the discontinuance. Pleased, but not surprised. That still leaves the question of the public's right of passage along the lake shore.

Even a cursory examination of this centuries-old clashing of public and private interests will reveal that half a dozen different jurisdictions along the Great Lakes have through the years reached a dozen different resolutions. And often, just a few years later, promptly reversed themselves ...

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