Homeowners' suit against Lawrence golf club dismissed

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A lawsuit filed against the Rockaway Hunting Club in Lawrence by two Woodsburgh homeowners has been dismissed after the residents failed to establish they had a right to use a small portion of the club's property.

Alex Kostovetsky, 59, and Marietta Chernerko, 57, of West Ivy Hill Road in Woodsburgh, argued in court papers that they have the right to access the narrow strip of property that is 162 feet long -- mainly sand, dirt and trees -- abutting the club because they have continuously used it as part of their own property. The nearly two-year legal battle started in May 2012 after the couple argued that the club -- which, despite its name, is a golf club -- tried to block their access to the land by attempting to plant a line of trees.

"They didn't want the golf course to plant trees," said Christian Browne, of Uniondale, the attorney representing the golf club on Ocean Avenue in Lawrence, which was established in the late 1800s and bills itself as the oldest country club in the United States.

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The couple said they have landscaped, installed sprinklers and hosted parties on the land since they bought their home in December 1998. They said they were never informed that the land belonged to the club, but a surveyor alerted the couple in August 2011, that the property belonged to the club.

On Jan. 6, New York State Supreme Court Justice Steven M. Jaeger granted the club's motion to have the suit dismissed. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to prove they had a right to the property.

"In reality, they seek an order to possess it and incorporate it into the recreational space constituted by the rear and side yards of their property," Jaeger wrote.

The couple's Manhattan-based attorney Michael Treybich said they are deciding whether to appeal. "We're currently still within the time to pursue several options," Treybich said. "In this particular instance, we don't think the court got the law right."

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