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Stuck in the sand at Jones Beach

A 2008 rendering of a scaled back plan

A 2008 rendering of a scaled back plan for Trump on the Ocean. Credit: Newsday File

More than four years after state park officials granted Donald Trump and restaurateur Steve Carl a lease to build an eatery and catering hall on the historic Jones Beach boardwalk, not a shovel has been put in the sand.

What we do have are three lawsuits with split decisions over letting it have a basement, whether the state owes Trump money for refusing to let him have the basement, and when he has to start paying rent. After the legal sparring ended last week, appeals were headed to the state's top court.

Three years ago, we advocated talking, not litigating. That's still good advice.

If Trump really has the needed financial backing and a new state government realizes that delays won't get any money into its coffers, then negotiating might be the wave to catch.

Since the original deal, the federal government has enacted stricter regulations on coastal development. A settlement is the fastest way to work out those wrinkles.

The parks department, under pressure from preservationists who want no restaurant, or one that is no larger that the original 1929 footprint, approved a sensible plan two years ago. It sought to keep the new building and signs in harmony with the cherished character of the location, but big enough to allow the private operators to make a profit.

Now a ditch marks the spot. There's no restaurant to enjoy, no jobs and no income for the state. And that makes no sense. hN