Plaintiffs claim the Clifton Club in suburban Cleveland is using its private beach to crowd out public access to the recreational area on the mouth of the Rocky River. The complainants include members of the club who argue that the beach is for the sole use of owners of the area’s residential sub-lots.
A private beach on the mouth of the Rocky River in suburban Cleveland has become the source of a dispute between The Clifton Club, a dining and social club in Lakewood, Ohio, and residents of Lakewood’s Clifton Park neighborhood. The disagreement has now found its way to Cuyahoga County Probate Court, Lakewood Patch reported.
Four residents, who are also club members, filed a complaint with the court, arguing that the 230 members of the club and their guests are crowding the once-quiet lakefront beach when using the half-mile that is part of the club’s property. The plaintiffs are seeking to close the beach to the members, who pay dues, and asking for a declaratory judgment, Lakewood Patch reported.
Dennis Butler, an attorney advising the complainants, said legal action is necessary to protect the rights of property owners. “They’re elbowing out and crowding out the people from Clifton Park,” Butler said.
The complaint, which was filed in June, claims the club “has taken the position that the club members’ rights to use the beach are equal to the plaintiffs and other sub-lot owners,” Lakewood Patch reported.
The complaint contends the beach is for “the sole use and benefit of all owners of the sub-lots in the Clifton Park Allotment and their household members, and no one else.”
The Clifton Club’s website touts “Clifton Beach” as an amenity that offers “beauty and privacy” to club members, with benefits including private gated access, lighted picnic areas with tables and grills, and beachside fire pits. “Enjoy one of the finest beaches in Greater Cleveland,” the club’s site says. “Clifton Beach offers members and guests a private sandy beach and the most spectacular sunsets on the great North Coast.”