A couple who own property at the extreme northern tip of Chappaquiddick are suing the Trustees of Reservations in an effort to stop the organization from selling oversand vehicle (OSV) permits at Cape Pogue.

At a hearing last Tuesday in Boston, the Hon. Howard P. Speicher, a justice of the Massachusetts Land Court, heard arguments for and against a request for a preliminary injunction filed by Victor and Dawn Roberto Bruno Colantonio.

At issue is a right of way held in common by the Colantonios and the Trustees that provides a trail through the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge, a remote, 400-acre refuge accessible only by boat or four-wheel-drive vehicles. The majority of the refuge is owned by the Trustees and used primarily by fishermen, shellfishermen and bird-watchers, but there are a handful of privately-owned properties, including two parcels purchased by the Colantonios in 1999 and 2006.

The Colantonios contend the Trustees’ practice of selling OSV permits to the public overburdens the shared easement and constitutes a nuisance. Moreover, they allege, stakes, wires and plastic netting installed by the Trustees to keep vehicles on trails “is inimical to conservation efforts as it is hazardous and destroys the aesthetic of the marshes and tidelands.”

The Trustees point out that public vehicle access on the trails has been allowed since 1959, when the Trustees designated the refuge, and OSV permits have been issued since 1975.

“This is not the usual claim of overburdening an easement, which typically seeks to stop a new, novel or expanded use of a pre-existing easement,” attorneys for the Trustees said in court documents. “This claim seeks to change a deep rooted, long-standing use of an easement.”

In arguing against the injunction, attorneys for the Trustees said their organization was chartered by the state legislature to manage and preserve open spaces, including Cape Pogue, for public use and enjoyment.

“And the public has a long history of enjoying the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge through the use of OSVs,” they said in a response filed with the court.

The lawsuit was filed on April 4, just three days after new annual permits took effect for OSV travel on properties owned or managed by the Trustees.

On Tuesday last week, attorneys for the Colantonios filed supporting affidavits from Rachel Self and William Gazaille who identified themselves as the only year-round residents of Cape Pogue.

In her affidavit, Ms. Self said she and several seasonal residents met with the Trustees starting in 2013 to address concerns including “the complete lack of respect of the precious resource and stuck vehicles, overburdening, lack of communication, poor management, poor treatment and harassment by staff, among other things.”

“Over the past nine years conditions have become worse and worse. Not only has the TTOR failed to address our concerns, they have been willfully ignorant of them,” the affidavit continued.

Judge Speicher gave attorneys until May 3 to file responses to the two affidavits and said he would then take the request for an injunction under advisement.