By Barrett Seaman
A New York State Supreme Court Judge has ruled that the homeowners’ association of The Landing complex of 104 attached houses on the banks of the Hudson in Dobbs Ferry must open the gates to a contiguous beach to the public. The only access to the beach, which is just north of where Wicker’s Creek spills into the Hudson, is a bridge across the Metro North tracks. Since 2015, the gate to the bridge has been locked so that only homeowners have had key access.
Judge Samuel Walker ruled in favor of arguments made by the Friends of Wicker’s Creek Archeological Site (FOWCAS) and the Village of Dobbs Ferry that the village’s original 1999 approval of the site plan for the complex included a perpetual Conservation Easement that allowed public access to the beach during daylight hours. The village judge had earlier ordered the homeowners association to open the gate pending the higher court’s decision. Judge Walker has made that order permanent.
FOWCAS is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to protect and preserve the historic Native American archeological sites, including shell middens, along Wickers Creek. It was originally formed to block The Landing from being built in the first place. Failing at that, the group persuaded the village to stipulate protection of specific areas on the property, along with guaranteed access to the beach.