To some people Moraya Bay’s claim to the beach in front of its massive condominium towers represents an outrage.
A private usurpation of what has historically been one of Collier County’s most popular gulf-side locales.
To others, like Collier County Attorney Jeff Klatzkow, it represents a devilish legal question that could end up doing more harm than good to the cause of unfettered beach access.
Pitting Private property rights against long-standing public use, an adverse decision from the courts would open the door for beachfront property owners everywhere to bar the public from the sand landward of the mean high tide line. That is to say, when the tide is low, the public could park itself on the damp sand. When tide is high, it couldn’t park itself on the beach at all, Klatzkow said.
As for myself the case represents an opportunity to wade through the depths of forgotten selections to resurrect the forgettable foray of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood into musical comedy and the signature piece of the 1969 movie “Paint Your Wagon” _ “They Call the Wind Mariah.”
With just a few lyrical modifications, and ideally a better singer than either Marvin or Eastwood, the tune can be made to summarize the situation as it stands today, after Tuesday’s Collier County Commission vote to challenge the developer’s right to stake the beach as private.
A way up north, they’ve got a beach,
It’s not far from LaPlaya.
The builders say, they own the sand
and they call the place, Moraya.
You can’t sit near, Moraya.
Moraya posts some signs around,
that start the locals cursin’.
Moraya makes bin Laden look
like not that bad a person.
Move a-long, Moraya.
Moraya sells its condos on
the claim it’s all exclusive.
Moraya treats the public in
a way that is abusive.
You’re trespassing, Moraya.
Moraya claims is has the right,
and vows it will defend it.
The county too, has lots of cash,
and on lawyers we will spend it.
It’s Collier v. Moraya.
Klatzkow’s in no mood to sing after Tuesday’s meeting.
The lawsuit, if it comes to that, promises to be long, emotional will likely reveal divisions in whatever court takes it up.
But it’s a question that’s bound to be heard, either here or elsewhere.
“As the population expands and beach access narrows, somebody is going to take this up,” he said. “There’s no easy answer to this one. I hate interesting cases.”
Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten