RYE — A five-year legal fight over public access to Little Harbor beach continues with a judge mulling legal arguments about restoration of a "Sanders Poynt" sign and a local attorney petitioning the state to maintain the area.

Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling previously ordered the sign be restored near the public-access site to the beach off Route 1B. The Wentworth by the Sea Country Club, which owns the property containing the public access, countered that a court-ordered beach-access restoration plan did not include the sign. The judge in May ordered the country club and beach-access advocate Robert Jesurum to work things out, or return to court.

Unable to resolve the dispute without judicial intervention, the parties returned to the court Wednesday when Jesurum's lawyer presented a written brief, while the Wentworth's lawyer Chris Carter did not. Carter previously told the Portsmouth Herald he could not discuss the case.

Through Portsmouth attorney Paul McEachern, Jesurum argued in the court memo the land where the sign has been is now state owned and a town building permit states that "the historic marker remain in place." In a closing zinger, McEachern's motion to the court states country club owner Bill Binnie previously told Jesurum, "It would be very expensive (to fight for the public access), that he would keep it in court forever, he would appeal it, and I was wasting my time and money."

"Five-plus years of litigation to vindicate a public right is a long time," McEachern wrote in his memo, while asking the judge to award his client attorney's fees and find in his favor.

Carter has argued that making the country club maintain a Sanders Poynt marker on its own property would “be an unconstitutional infringement of its rights under the federal and state Constitutions.”

“These constitutional standards direct that the Wentworth should not be forced to display a marker naming its property ‘Sanders Poynt,’” Carter argued.

The Wentworth’s lawyer wrote to the court that the sign is also not part of court-ordered public access to Little Harbor Beach.

The dispute began in October 2012 when Jesurum went to the beach-access area and discovered the adjacent country club had blocked public access with boulders, bushes and a fence. He took the Wentworth to court and in an August 2015 ruling, Wageling ordered the golf club to remove the obstacles “that prevent access” to the beach and clear “the trodden path for pedestrian access.” The Wentworth lost an appeal at the state Supreme Court and the case was remanded to the Superior Court, where it remains.

In an Aug. 7 letter to Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, McEachern asked the attorney general to assume the role of trustee for the public-access area. He reminded that the Supreme Court found the public has a right to park and access the beach from the location and petitioned the attorney general to find that the state should maintain it. McEachern wrote that the area is prone to some ponding and he asked for the state's commitment in the form of "a watchful eye and occasional grading or reclamation."

There has been no reply to date.