Old Lyme Prepares Legal Response on Tantummaheag Access and Ownership

The Town of Old Lyme cleared phragmites and weeds at Tantummaheag landing, a public access point to Lord Cove. (CT Examiner)


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OLD LYME — The town appears to be preparing for legal action on claims regarding access and ownership to Tantummaheag landing, a site the adjacent landowner claims to own after uncovering evidence that a previous survey was fraudulent.

On Monday, Sept. 12, the Board of Selectmen has scheduled a special meeting to discuss “possible action on challenges to Town’s rights and legal interests in Tantummaheag Road,” including a “possible executive session for discussion with Town’s attorneys about challenges to Town’s rights and legal interest in Tantummaheag Road and the preparation of a response thereto.”

According to the town’s GIS, the landing and the right-of-way sit between 12 and 19 Tantummaheag Road, two parcels purchased by George Frampton and Carla D’Arista in 2020. The dispute with neighbors and the town began that fall when the couple blocked public access with boulders and later added plantings. Frampton said that he did not intend to block public access to pedestrians, but to limit vehicle access and parking.

In July 2021, Frampton said an extensive title search proved that he and D’Arista owned the landing and right-of-way.

At an August 1 Board of Selectmen meeting, town attorney Jack Collins said his office had engaged an expert consultant to research the title of the property and that he expected to receive a report within 30 days. According to Collins, preliminary research did not turn up proof that the town owned legal title to the property, but showed that the landing was established as a roadway in the 1700s, and had since been maintained by the town. 

At the Sept. 6 Board of Selectmen meeting, Griswold said that the town had maintained the landing and right-of-way for 35 years with the exception of COVID. He also reported that the Department of Public Works had trimmed phragmites at the landing so that “boaters could get their kayaks in the water.”