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Mastic Beach Village Board to consider waterfront settlement

Mastic Beach Village Hall is shown in a

Mastic Beach Village Hall is shown in a photo taken on Jan. 8, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

The Mastic Beach Village Board is expected to vote on a proposed settlement Tuesday, ending a yearslong contentious state Supreme Court lawsuit it filed against a municipal homeowners association over the rights to 6 miles of waterfront property.

If the village accepts the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association's settlement terms, it would hold the title to the fragile 6-mile stretch of waterfront along with a marina, while the association would hold the title to another marina and a clubhouse.

The village board brought the suit against the association on May 10, 2011, in state Supreme Court in Riverhead.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguillo, on July 7, 2014, denied both parties' motion for summary judgment, instead asking both sides to reach a settlement.

The association agreed to the settlement last month.

The board is expected to vote after a public comment period at Tuesday's meeting, which starts at 7 at William Paca Middle School, instead of Village Hall, in anticipation of a large crowd.

" It wasn't easy coming to a decision. It was very hard," said Catherine Kobasiuk, president of the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association. "It was best for the community to end the lawsuit and let the community move on. It's taken a toll on us as a whole."

The fight for the waterfront has split the village, as control over it was a large reason Mastic Beach hamlet split from Brookhaven in 2010.

"We went back and forth, back and forth on both sides to make a settlement and it's a good settlement," village trustee Maura Spery said.

She said the litigation has kept the village from getting nearly $1 million in federal and state funds to repair the waterfront and marina damaged by superstorm Sandy. Once the case is settled, it can apply for the funds.

The trustee board has argued that the title to the waterfront was to go to the village when Mastic Beach incorporated. The association said the intent of the deed, signed in 1940, was for a village no more than 2.8 miles long. Mastic Beach is 4.4 miles, officials said.

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