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Wells to hold public hearing on access to Moody Beach

A sign at Moody Beach in Wells.
Fred Bever
Maine Public file
A sign at Moody Beach in Wells.

The town of Wells is holding a public hearing on public access of Moody Beach on Monday.

In May, the select board announced it would file an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs who are suing private beachfront homeowners over public access.

James Connerney of the group Free Moody Beach, says he appreciates the town's support, but wants them to take more direct action. He wants them to pursue a Beach Use Agreement, where all interested parties reach an agreement on allowed use.

"A Beach Use Agreement is a very localized solution. It would only apply to Moody Beach and it can be implemented under current law," he says. "Recreation problems at Moody Beach have been going on for many, many years, and it's time to reach a long-term solution to it. And the Beach Use Agreement is the vehicle for that."

Connerney says the town of Kennebunkport successfully implemented a Beach Use Agreement to settle disputes involving Goose Rocks Beach.

Tensions at Moody Beach have been simmering for years. Members of the public have complained that some private homeowners yell at them when they walk on the beach in front of their homes.

Current state law grants landowner rights down to the low tide line, with the only exceptions for fishing, fowling and navigation.