Private Property, Public Rights: Ownership and Public Use of the Maine Coast

Introduction: Paul Dest, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Paul Dest’s Presentation (6 MB PDF)

Shorelines and public rights—background on Maine law: John Duff, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Maine law regarding public rights to the shoreline includes The Public Trust Doctrine, the effects of the Moody Beach (Bell) Case and the Wells Beach (Eaton) Case, recent Court decisions (McGarvey) and what they mean for private ownership and public rights in the intertidal area. What, if anything can these cases tell us about how the legal perspective on the Law Court has changed over the past 25 years and where it might go in the future?
John Duff’s Presentation (2 MB PDF)

Goose Rocks Beach— negotiating a settlement agreement: Larry Mead, Town of Kennebunkport
Larry Mead’s Presentation (5 MB PDF)
Seasonal and year-round residents, beach-users, and backlot and beachfront owners provide different legal perspectives on the effects of beach-rights litigation on a coastal community. The Town of Kennebunkport negotiated a beach use agreement covering more than half of a two-mile stretch of Goose Rocks Beach and prevailed in Maine’s most recent beach-rights lawsuit establishing public recreational use to the remainder of the beach. The negotiated settlement agreement is unique in Maine. It illustrates a multi-faceted approach to balancing the needs of beachfront landowners and beach users and the regulatory role of a municipality. The Goose Rocks Beach court decision serves as Maine’s most recent judicial pronouncement regarding beach rights in Maine. The decision is currently being appealed.

Goose Rocks Beach—legal perspectives: Ben Leoni, Curtis Thaxter Attorneys at Law and Amy Tchao, Drummond Woodsum Law Firm
Amy Tchao’s Presentation (8 MB PDF)

Session Notes (PDF)