Banner supporting shoreline access lawsuit flies over Narragansett Bay

A private property sign on a beach in North Kingstown. (Owen Fraga/WLNE)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WLNE) — A plane towing a banner in support of the lawsuit challenging Rhode Island’s new shoreline access law flew over the Narragansett Bay Saturday.

The banner behind the plane read “R.I. Takes Private Property – WWW.PLF.LAND” in reference to the law and the suit, Rhode Island Association of Coastal Taxpayers v. Neronha et al.

The web address leads to the website of the Pacific Legal Foundation, who are representing Rhode Island Association of Coastal Taxpayers in the lawsuit.

Shoreline Banner

The plane towing the banner in support of the lawsuit. (Owen Fraga/WLNE)

It specifically brings visitors to the webpage outlining the office’s overview of the lawsuit.

The bill itself outlines where exactly the border between private and public property on the shoreline is located.

The law establishes that the public area of the shoreline ends and private property begins at 10 feet landward of the high tide line, which can be recognized by seaweed, scum and other deposits.

Supporters of the law said that the state constitution has given Rhode Islanders the right to shoreline access since it was adopted in 1843 and that right was reiterated during the 1986 constitutional convention.

This includes bill sponsor Rep. Terri Cortvriend, who said there needs to be a delineation.

“The history of it and learning about what our constitution says and learning about the practices, they were misaligned to me,” she said. “There was a constitutional amendment passed in 1986 and the privileges are pretty explicitly outlined but it does not say where.”

Those who support the lawsuit, however, said that the new law violates the property rights of coastal landowners.

“This is in response to a recent Rhode Island law that moves the public beach inland and onto private coastal property along the entire state shoreline, giving the public an extra strip of land at the expense of private property owners,” Pacific Legal Foundation Media Manager John Sweeney said. “The Rhode Island Association of Coastal Taxpayers filed a federal lawsuit in response to this unconstitutional land grab by Rhode Island.”

The full filing can be read here.

Categories: News, Rhode Island