By declining to review a challenge to East Hampton Town’s strict limit on the types of ferries that can dock here, the United States Supreme Court last week put an apparent end to a long-fought struggle. This is an important victory for East Hampton residents.
The Supreme Court agreed with a lower court that had ruled the town had the right to regulate ferries and had said East Hampton’s 1998 law preventing car-carrying and high-speed ferries from docking here did not violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The appeals court had ruled, in effect, that local restrictions designed to control traffic or protect certain areas of town from added congestion and parking problems were reasonable.
Common sense appears to have prevailed in this matter. Summer on the South Fork is busy enough, and local governments clearly have an obligation to citizens to do what they can to gain the upper hand. At least as far as ferries are concerned, residents can breath a sigh of relief.