Tag Archive | "CfAR"

Citizens for Access Rights to Host Annual Fundraiser Thursday

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Citizens for Access Rights or CfAR will hold their annual fundraiser on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

The event will feature live music, auction items and a raffle. The cost is $20 for CfAR members renewing at the door, $10 for current 2014 members and $25 for non-members. All proceeds go to CfAR to protect beach access on the East End.  CfAR t-shirts will also be for sale.

CfAR is a group of East End residents who support open access to local beaches. In response to two lawsuits in which private individuals are claiming to own the ocean beach at Napeague, CfAR has supported the East Hampton Town Trustees, the town board and any other governmental body, which is willing to oppose the privatization of the beaches.

For more information on CfAR, visit citizensforaccessrights.com, or “like” CfAR on Facebook.

CfAR Presents $5,000 to East Hampton Town Trustees

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This past weekend offered prime September beach days and on Sunday, a not-for-profit dedicated to ensuring all residents in East Hampton Town have the right to continue enjoying the town’s beaches, handed an oversized check to the town trustees in an effort to fulfill their mission.

On Sunday, September 23 Citizens for Access Rights or “CfAR” presented a check for $5,000 to the East Hampton Town Trustees at their Bluff Point Road, Amagansett headquarters during the trustees’ annual largest clam contest. The funds are designated to be used to help in the defense of current lawsuits that have been filed by some waterfront homeowners in an effort to privatize a popular public bathing beach off the Napeague Stretch.

This is the second $5,000 check CfAR has presented to the town trustees. The not-for-profit’s first donation was made in October 2011.

“If we can keep doing this year after year we should be able to at least make a dent in the kind of funding the trustees need in this effort,” said CfAR board member Nicole Starr Castillo on Monday.

CfAR was founded by a group of East End residents who support open access to local beaches. In response to two lawsuits in which private individuals are claiming to own the ocean beach at Napeague, CfAR has come together to support the trustees, the East Hampton Town Board and any other governmental body willing to oppose the privatization of local beaches. CfAR is not affiliated with any political party and its objectives include the preservation of residents’ right to enjoy local beaches and donating funds to the town trustees for beach stewardship.

For more information on CfAR, visit www.citizensforaccessrights.com.

 

Trustees Seek Support to Continue Battle for Access Rights

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In the wake of a court decision last month which Southampton Town Trustees believe endangers their ability to regulate beaches, and therefore protect access, on Monday night they sought the support of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

With members of the East Hampton-based not-for-profit Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR) in attendance, the trustees implored the CAC to put political pressure on town and state officials to ensure over three centuries of legal precedence is not eroded and shorelines are protected from being bulkheaded into oblivion.

CAC co-chairman Stephen Steinberg made it clear from the outset the trustees had come to the committee for support.

“An erosion of this kind of power with a lack of support from the town board will hurt us in terms of trying to protect the natural beauty we have,” said Steinberg. “This is a town built on its beaches. Without our beaches, we might as well be Arizona.”

In the May 9 decision, State Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Mayer ruled that the town trustee’s power does not give them control over beach landward of the high tide mark. The decision was a judgment in favor of Quogue Village and two homeowners who buried fabric tubes filled with sand under dunes to prevent erosion of the beach.

Justice Mayer plainly states in the decision that while the trustees have the right to retain title to underwater lands and can control what structures are built on those lands, it does not have control of the shores or beaches on the South Fork.

As Southampton Town Trustees President Eric Schultz explained on Monday night, the trustees do hold title over the town’s underwater lands, but also have had an easement over the shorelines and beaches of Southampton’s oceans and bays. The reason that jurisdiction — which has been upheld in three separate court cases — is important, said Schultz, is because it protects residents access to the beaches and prevents waterfront property owners from erecting structures on the beach to essentially privatize them.

The concern with shoreline hardening structures, said Schultz, including bulkheads, the sand filled tubes used in Quogue known as Geotubes or rock revetments, is the trustees believe when they are erected on a beach other sections of the beachfront erode at a faster pace, which could ultimately harm public access.

“It’s drawing a line in the sand,” said Schultz. “It’s not allowing the beach to move northward. Once you establish a hard, fast line that beach will diminish.”

However, the trustees’ hard line stance against shoreline hardening has drawn several lawsuits in the last decade, mainly from property owners stating they are simply trying to protect their land from literally being eroded away.

Schultz said the trustees have the funding to appeal the Mayer decision, which they intend to do, but that the trustees want to mobilize the community.

“Our trouble right now is we need the community to start getting behind the trustees and asking the state assembly, the town board what we are doing to protect the trustees,” said Schultz.

He said that community support could come in the way of residents calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation that supports the trustee’s regulatory rights over the beaches or to call on town officials to support the trustees more, financially and otherwise.

“I am very concerned because I was told by a town official that this issue wasn’t about access, it was about erosion and I couldn’t disagree more,” said CAC member Jeff Mansfield.

Noting that if someone builds a home on the crest of a dune they should expect erosion will likely become an issue, Schultz said he would like to see the State of New York adopt laws that places the burden on those homeowners rather than expect the public to forgo their right to the beach.

“We are looking for your support politically,” said trustee Fred Havemeyer. “We need you to lobby, for you to realize these five guys have their fingers in the dike. If we take them out we are gone – that means you. We can survive financially, but what we need is a support base within the town.”

CfAR vice president David Lys said his group supports the trustees of both East Hampton and Southampton and that it is critical, particularly in election years, to make this a very public discussion.

“We recognize if there is a loss of rights in East Hampton or Southampton it has a regional affect,” said Lys.

Split Vote on Beach Parking Compromise

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By Claire Walla


The fight to completely lift parking restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue has finally been called. On Tuesday, August 9, the Southampton Town Board voted two-to-three to keep a partial restriction in place.

As it stands, 100 feet of space, or room for up to four cars, is open to all residents without restrictions. The rest of the block has posted seasonal “no parking” signs, prohibiting parking between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The issue was initially brought to the attention of Southampton Town officials by several Noyac residents last year after they were surprised to find they were issued parking tickets in the area. Councilman Jim Malone largely spearheaded the effort to develop a compromise between Northampton Colony residents and those in the greater Noyac community, ultimately passing a resolution last month, for the 100 feet of available parking.

However, the end of Noyac Bay Avenue has sparked a greater philosophical debate stretching beyond the Southampton Town board and into the greater East End community. During public hearings on the issue, Southampton Town Trustee Jon Semlear urged the board to lift the parking ban, while representatives from the Surfrider Foundation and CfAR argued that parking restrictions on any town road compromise public access to the town’s waterways.

On these grounds, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming sponsored the resolution to lift all parking restrictions. They were the only town board members to vote in support of it.

“We lost,” said Noyac resident Dr. Stanley Shore, who was vocal in his opposition to restricted parking. He said the significance of the board’s decision this week is not in the fact that parking is now limited. “I can still go there,” he admitted. “There are never more than three cars there at a given time. It’s the principal of the thing that counts,” he continued. “Because there are no other [parking restrictions] in any of the other 40 streets [in Southampton Town] that end in the bay.”

He was disappointed by the town’s vote, particularly councilman Jim Malone’s. “He just caved in, even though he was the one who started the whole thing,” Shore lamented.

“I’m disappointed,” Fleming said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m very disappointed the majority chose to vote against the fundamental right [for all residents] to have access to our waterways. One of the essential ways to protect our waters is to ensure access. It’s part of the essential value of where we live. And certainly, as a Noyac resident, it’s one of the essential aspects of this community.”

Northampton Colony residents have a different perspective on the matter. Noyac Bay Avenue sits between the Northampton Colony clubhouse, which is paid for and maintained by local homeowners, and the Northampton Colony Marina, a private docking area.

The parking restrictions were put in place a couple years ago when neighbors said there was an increase of thefts in the marina, as well as instances of beach goers using Northampton Colony beach club facilities without authorization.

Larry Tullio, who is the harbor master at the marina, said he didn’t understand why the town had put forth a motion to lift the parking ban entirely after the community had already come up with a compromise. He wanted the town “to just leave it the way it is,” with room for up to four cars.

“We made a compromise and [the town] respected the compromise,” Tullio added. “That’s what I expected them to do.”