Does a 1686 Charter Create a Right to Jet Ski in the Hamptons?: In 1686, the charter that King James II gave to settlers of the eastern tip of Long Island gave inhabitants of the area the right to "enjoy without hindrance" recreational activities like "fishing, hawking, hunting and fowling." 320 years later, jet-skiing enthusiast John Lagana is arguing that this term of the charter makes it illegal for the town of East Hampton, New York to ban jet skis. The New York Times has the story here.
I have absolutely no background in this area, but I would imagine that the Declaration of Independence severs any binding effect of contractual conditions in such charters: the Declaration states that "these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do." I would think that this means that the state and its municipalities are not required to follow the terms of the King's charter (assuming it applies here, which is at best uncertain).
Are any VC readers familiar with this area of law? If so, chime in in the comment thread.