Judge rules for property owners in dispute over access to beach in Westerly

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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — A superior court judge has ruled in favor of property owners who said the public does not have the right to walk on a stretch of beach in Westerly.

Judge Brian Stern on Thursday ruled against Attorney General Peter Kilmartin in a lawsuit he brought in 2012 against 21 property owners on Misquamicut Beach.

Kilmartin's office argued the owners who created a subdivision on the land in 1909 had intended to keep the beach area accessible to the public.

Stern found there was not enough evidence in land records that that was their original intent.

Some of the property owners have erected fences to keep people from accessing the beach, or called police to report people trespassing.

Kilmartin's office is reviewing the decision to determine how to proceed.

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