A couple months ago, we opined that those calling for public access to Cedar Beach to be reinstated should “let it go.”

That being said, the Maine Superior Court ruling Monday that public access via Cedar Beach Road has been restored, was a welcome one in our eyes. In her ruling, Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills stated “Maine has long accepted the doctrine that the public can acquire a non-possessory interest in land,” and that to claim a public prescriptive easement, a party must prove continuous use by the public over a period of at least 20 years, either with the owner’s knowledge, or in a manner so “open, notorious, visible” that the owner’s knowledge can be presumed.

Further, for a prescriptive easement, the use must be “under a claim of right adverse to the owner.” This “adversity” is established in the fact that the property was used without permission, “disregarding [the owner’s] claims entirely,” the ruling stated.

Use of that road to access the beach has been constant, until the recent legal fight, and it is clear to all — well, except for a couple of property owners, perhaps — that it should be open to the public. While we support a property owner’s right to decided who can and cannot access their property, the fact the precedent had been set and upheld — and not stopped — for eight decades makes it awfully hard to argue access should be cut off. That it is a road, and not land with a dwelling on it, also plays a role, in our minds.

Really, in this situation, if certain property owners had worked harder to be better neighbors, their concerns may have been dealt with without the need for a legal fight — which they lost anyway. It’s unlikely it matters to them, since they spend scant amounts of time at their houses, but they’ve not just lost in Maine Superior Court, but the court of public opinion has branded them bad neighbors.

And the silliest thing about the whole deal is the road owners could have sold it to the town of Harpswell for $220,000, but insisted that it was worth more. Now, they not only have to share the road, but they’ve lost out on nearly a quarter million dollars as well. Well played.