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Advocates for public access at Moody Beach send letter to Wells officials, urging local action

A sign describing privacy restrictions along Moody Beach.
Patty Wight
Maine Public
A sign describing privacy restrictions along Moody Beach.

Officials in Wells are being urged to expand public access to Moody Beach. The issue is the subject of a lawsuit in state Superior Court, but members of the group Free Moody Beach say the town shouldn't wait years for a court decision to address what they describe as a growing source of contention in the community.

In a letter sent to the Wells Select Board Tuesday, Free Moody Beach tells officials that members of the public are increasingly being intimidated and kicked off the beach by some shorefront homeowners.

They're asking officials to answer several questions, including why the town recognizes private property rights on Moody Beach, even though homeowners don't pay taxes on the beach area in front of their homes. Jim Connerney, one of the members of Free Moody Beach, says they want the town to facilitate a community-wide discussion to try to reach an agreement on public use.

"The town has it within their power to really make improvements here," he says. "We think they have an obligation to do so, but that's why we don't just wait to see what happens on the statewide case and look for some local solutions that's available today."

Current Maine law grants private property rights to the low tide line with limited exceptions for public use. But Connerney says the town of Wells never conveyed private property to shorefront homeowners at Moody.

The chair of the Wells select board, John MacLeod, said Tuesday he was unable to respond to the letter until he had time to review it.