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Don’t Even Think of Parking Here

Posted on 24 June 2011

Some residents of Northampton Colony have an issue with parking. Their issue is they don’t want you parking there.

So on the eastern stretch of Noyac Bay Avenue, which ends at a quiet beach, don’t even think about it, even though you may be tempted to launch your kayak, fly a kite or gather shells there.

That’s because in 2009, Southampton Town placed a ban on parking along the stretch of road at the behest of some residents of Northampton Colony. Now, Noyac residents who have used the beach for decades find themselves shut out. They have tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the town to change the no parking restrictions to allow parking with a Southampton Town resident beach sticker, but so far, to no avail.

The Northampton Colony residents in question maintain that the regulations are needed to deter crime in the area, particularly at the community’s small marina which has seen vandalism of fishing equipment. They believe that by prohibiting parking, burglars and vandals won’t be able to sit in their cars and scope out the prospective loot they can take from the marina’s boats

Please.

The idea that burglars and vandals would sit in their cars scoping out what sort of stuff they may be able to steal from boats on a sunny day in the middle of summer is absolutely ludicrous. Not to mention the fact that criminals aren’t likely to be deterred by “no parking” signs. They’re criminals! Do you think they’re saying, “Hey, let’s skip that place, it’s a no parking zone?”

But there’s a history of crime in the area.

Really? Where are the town police files documenting this alleged illicit activity? The answer is they don’t exist. Residents maintain that they never filed reports because the cops told them there was no hope of ever catching the perpetrators or getting the stuff back. Sounds like a load of bunk to us. You’d think any community pushing the idea of limiting parking to reduce crime would have been sure to document any and every instance of activity that supports their claims — no matter how minor.

Here’s the thing. We find the fear of crime in this case to be fatuous. Even if there has been a crime spree, we think there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye, and we find these sorts of tactics to be exactly what they appear to be — exclusionary.

Just like gated communities and clubs that admit only certain types, banning all parking at the end of one quiet Southampton Town road is about a few protecting what they perceive as their own from the rest of us.

This is about limiting access, and we don’t like it. The unwillingness of residents to allow the creation of even a handful of permit only spots on their road proves it to us. Will that really ruin the neighborhood? The recent hefty increase in taxes on the Northampton Colony clubhouse was cited as one justification in demanding the town keep the restrictions in place. Sounds like blackmail to us. Because your taxes went up you get to determine who and who can’t park on your public road? Well, so far the town appears to be listening. The restrictions are still in place.

There are plenty of roads that end at beaches all over the East End and we really don’t like the precedent this sets — the erosion of the rights of residents who for decades have enjoyed access to the bay beaches.

That’s not to say there aren’t “no parking” regulations near beaches — mostly on the ocean side. But even the beach roads in upscale parts of Sagaponack and Bridgehampton that ban street parking offer legal parking at road ends or in large lots. In those cases, no parking is used to limit the overflow of cars — not exclude everyone from parking there, as is the case with this group.

So we strongly encourage the town to compromise on this issue by allowing a limited number of permit-only spaces at the end of Noyac Bay Avenue. If they’re not willing to do that, we’d like a full explanation as to their reasoning. Because frankly none of this is making sense to us.

And if all else fails, maybe those fighting this battle would do well to organize a bike-a-thon and clog the end of Noyac Bay Avenue with lots of two-wheelers.

Or will that then be the next ban?

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4 Responses to “Don’t Even Think of Parking Here”

  1. walter staab says:

    A good community newspaper serves its readers in many important ways. One of the most beneficial contributions it can make is to bring to light issues that may at the time be under the radar, but are nonetheless important to the community. These issues are invariably controversial and take wisdom and courage to cover.

    Kudos to the Sag Harbor Express for “Don’t Even Think of Parking Here.” You met the issue of beach access rights head on with no equivocation. The greater Sag Harbor community owes you a debt of gratitude for this provocative and searing editorial.

    Walter Staab

  2. Gene DePoris says:

    I hope that your certitude, directness, and honest reportage will help the Town of Southampton find its way to stop waffling and delaying.

    These are precious weeks of our Summer season and every day counts.

    Thank you for your fine coverage, as always.

  3. Ann McVey says:

    Once a foothold is established, the next thing will be to wipe out the Dongan Patent. We really need to be careful here to not let that happen.

  4. Dana says:

    I do realize that this is an “opinion” piece. Nevertheless when expressing an opinion as a journalist you have the responsibility to conduct proper research before printing an article.

    I reside in Northampton Colony. I have no opinion about the parking situation. I can tell you that there has been criminal activity in our community because I was personally impacted by this crime. I DID file a report with the Southampton Town Police- as did all of my neighbors as a result of this incident. My insurance company would not provide coverage for the $3K+ of stolen items without a police report. Either the police are not keeping proper records of these incidents or you did not dig deep enough to uncover the truth.


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