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Clifton Park Legal Dispute Intensifies With Clifton Club

Judge rules that the lawsuit should include all 224 reisdents in the Clifton Park neighborhood, since the dispute centers around who has rights to the land.

A legal dispute between Clifton Park residetns and the Clifton Club over the rights to the land — more specifically, the beach — just got a lot more complicated. 

Last week, a Cuyahoga County judge decided that the lawsuit — filed last year by four residents — should include all 224 homeowners, since the dispute centers around who has rights to the property.

The complainants argue that that club’s membership has crowded the once-quiet lakefront beach at the mouth of the Rocky River. 

Clifton Park residents also have rights to the beach.

Dennis Butler, a Clifton Park resident who’s siding with the four original complainants, said the lawsuit seeks to clear up who owns the land trust.

From there, he said, beach access won’t be an issue.

“It’s not about overcrowding,” said Butler. “It’s about who has a right to be there and who doesn’t.”

“The trustees declared that the shareholders of the Clifton Club are equals of the trust property to the homeowners in Clifton Park. The dispute is whether that is lawful, and we believe it is not.”

The Clifton Park trustees recently penned a letter to residents, obtained by Lakewood Patch, that notes “we are troubled that this lawsuit proceeded to this point… Their goal is to eliminate the long-standing ability of the Clifton Club and its members to use Clifton Beach.”

Butler disagrees, reiterating that the purpose of the lawsuit it to define who has rights to the property, “not to eliminate the club members from coming to the beach.”

“I believe the majority of the homeowners are very supportive of what we’re trying to do," he said. "We’re just looking to define who are the owners of the trust.”

The letter from the trustees also notes that the club would like to come to a resolution that "benefits everyone."

"This dispute does not belong in court," according to the letter to neighbors. "After all, this is a neighborhood affair."

Correction: The letter sent to Clifton Park residents was written by the Clifton Park trustees.

Evan Hammersmith May 13, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Ian, you're always complaining about Lakewood. EVERY town has these disputes. The difference between Lakewood and Chicago (and the other 27 cities you've lived in) is that Lakewood has a small publications like the Patch to report on and give voice to the trivial disagreements that folks have. If you don't like it, don't read it!
Jack Adderboilt May 13, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Ian ... LOL ... just look in the mirror ... You are semi famous for not getting along with vast swathes of the population ... You need a vacation ... Check back with us after Christmas
Barbara Greene May 16, 2013 at 02:56 AM
I moved here from LA, after living in DC. I think it is Mayberry.
angelo May 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Ian, I've agreed with you in the past about some things but come on now. Chicago is a war zone. You can't begin to put these minor disagreements into anything near to what happens there.
Hol May 29, 2013 at 03:22 AM
I believe every community has its fair share of problems...but Lakewood, having more than 50,000 residents has a huge amount of wonderful, friendly people living here. I believe you have to put out what you want to receive. So smile more, say hello to passersby and remember the glass is half full. The issues I read regarding troubled, or problem neighbors is so small compared to all the good things going on in this community. Look for the bad...you'll find it. Look for the good...you'll find that too! I love Lakewood and am glad I relocated back to it 3 years ago!

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