Tag Archive | "Napeague"

CfAR Cheers Beach Access Ruling; But Suit Still Alive

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By Mara Certic

After almost five years in court, a decision has been made on two lawsuits filed against the East Hampton Town Trustees and the Town Board, determining that beachfront homeowners on Napeague do not own the stretches of beach in front of their houses.

In September 2009, home- and business-owners along the southern side of Napeague filed two separate suits against the town, claiming to own the ocean beach in an effort to prohibit vehicles from driving on it.

The first of the suits, named the “Seaview” case was filed by several Napeague homeowners associations claimed owners of oceanfront property owned a 4,000-foot stretch of beach along the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Trustees, who have jurisdiction over most town beaches. In a decision dated September 3, 2014, New York State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo found that the homeowners do not have jurisdiction over the area between the beach grass and the high-water marks.

Affectionately and quite appropriately known as “truck beach,” the area has for years been popular with local families who access it in four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Soon after the lawsuit was filed, a grassroots, not-for-profit organization called Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR) was formed in order to oppose the privatization of East End beaches. CfAR, which is not affiliated with any political parties, raised thousands of dollars over the years in order to support the Trustees in the lawsuit.

White Sands Motel Holding Corporation filed another suit with the same claim over a smaller stretch of beach in front of the motel, further east than the “Seaview” property.

“There’s some pluses and minuses for both sides,” Tim Taylor, the president of CfAR, said of the recent decisions on Wednesday. “There are two separate cases so there are two separate rulings.”

The judge handled the two cases at the same time, he said, because “the plaintiffs in those cases are looking for the same results.”

“They found in the Seaview case that the homeowners of the subdivisions do not own between the edge of the beach grass and the mean high water. They did not find on the White Sands case, that the town owns that beach, but they did find that the homeowners don’t own it in the Seaview case,” he said.

The White Sands decision rejected the town’s effort to have the suit dismissed by a summary judgment, which basically determines the suit to be without merit.

The court did not rule that the White Sands beach property was owned by either the Trustees or the motel, but merely determined that the ownership was unclear, Mr. Taylor said.

“Either way we do expect an appeal process on both sides and we would just really hope the town Trustees and the town board continue their fight of this case and we don’t lose sight of what’s at stake here. It’s not really an all-out win for either side,” Mr. Taylor explained.

Assistant East Hampton Town Attorney John Jilnicki said Monday that the town was in the process of reviewing the decision in order to figure out how to proceed. “We could appeal it and not let it proceed to trial, but I don’t think the decision’s been made yet,” he said. He added the town hopes to have made a determination within the next week or so.

The East Hampton Town Trustees did not return phone calls by the time of this paper’s publication. Their attorney, Anthony Tohill, said he was not prepared to comment on the decision on Tuesday.

David Lys, founder of CfAR, was asked in a 2011 interview with The Sag Harbor Express if he thought property owners would ever stop seeking to privatize beaches on the East End. “Will it ever end?” he was asked.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will,” he said. “With the turnover rate in housing out here, and the monetary wealth combined with the fact we live in a litigious society, people will throw their money around and sue over something like this because it is the easiest course of action they can take.”

Just last week those proposing a members-only club at East Deck in Montauk called for an adjournment on the decision after outcry from the public. Over 5,000 people signed a petition calling for the East Hampton Town Planning Board to deny the application or require an environmental impact study. The Ditch Plains Association held a memorial paddle-out where hundreds of surfers mourned the potential loss of the family friendly beach.

ED40 LLC., owner of the motel, issued a statement saying a significant number of public comments had led them to offer the land to the board for public acquisition. Mr. Taylor had no comment on the potential purchase of the land but said, “We hope that no matter what happens there, the public has access to that beach. Whether it is purchased by the town or whether some sort of development does go through there, we would just like to see that the public is able to use and access this beach.”

East Hampton Wins $9.9 Million Federal Grant to Acquire Flood-Prone Properties

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Cantwell coastal erosion

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell visits the Napeague-Lazy Point neighborhood with a resident of Mulford Lane, Amagansett.

By Mara Certic

The Town of East Hampton announced on Tuesday, August 26, that is has been awarded a $9.9 million federal grant to purchase a number of properties in Amagansett in order to turn them into protective storm buffers.

According to a release, the money will go toward purchasing approximately 16 properties in the Napeague and Lazy Point area, on Mulford Lane and Bayview Avenue. Some of the properties are vacant lots and some are developed and owned by people who have expressed in interest in selling out.

The program will enable homeowners to voluntarily choose to move out of the high-risk waterfront area and also to protect and possibly restore the coastal floodplain, the town said.

“With the help of this grant, achieved with the support of the Nature Conservancy and the hard work of Kim Shaw of the Town Natural Resources Department, we can preserve building parcels that will otherwise be developed and eliminate existing development clearly vulnerable to erosion and future storms,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.

Areas of Napeague are particularly narrow, and Route 27— which is the only road connecting Montauk and the rest of the town—has been breached by water in the past, most recently for a short time in October 2012, during Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Cantwell mentioned the very delicate stretch of land at a public hearing about PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan on Tuesday, August 26, when he called for an emergency energy plan for Montauk. “Montauk it 25 miles from here, it’s separated by some of the most fragile land areas,” he said. “It’s been breached more than once in our living history.”

Ms. Shaw, the town’s natural resources director, said, “We can look forward to this area being restored to natural conditions which will enhance water quality, wildlife habitat and floodplain resiliency.”

According to the town’s press release, land parcels with structures already on them will be cleared in order to put floodplain restoration efforts in place.

Director of the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Nancy Kelley said

“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Town of East Hampton for bringing Sandy recovery funds to Lazy Point in Amagansett,” said Nancy Kelley, the organization’s Long Island director.

According to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery website, Congress approved roughly $60 billion in disaster aid for the states hit by Hurricane Sandy, with New York State expected to be allocated half of that total.

“Efforts like these,” she said, “as part of comprehensive plans to manage our coasts in the face of rising seas and excessive nitrogen pollution from wastewater, are vital to ensuring healthier and more resilient coastal communities across Long Island.”

A resident of Bay View Avenue for the past 30 years, Steve Graboski said the plan is “a good thing.”

“People will be able to reclaim the value from their properties,” he said. “The nor’easters are the storms that really affect us the worst. The erosion is like a chip-away effect, chipping away at the shoreline over the years.”

 

Suffolk County to Spray for Mosquitos in Southampton and East Hampton

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Salt marshes throughout Suffolk County will be sprayed with pesticides by helicopter to control mosquito larvae on Tuesday, July 8.

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control plan to use large droplet, low altitude application of BTI and Methoprene between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. A press release from the Suffolk County Department of Health named the marshes that will be sprayed tomorrow. In Southampton Town: Stokes Poges, Jagger Lane, Moneybogue Bay, Westhampton Dunes, Meadow Lane, Iron Point and North Sea.

In East Hampton Town Napeague, Beach Hampton and Accabonac Harbor will all be sprayed with larvicides.

The Suffolk County Department of Health wrote that no precautions were recommended for this spray, as the helicopters will be flying low and avoiding inhabited areas: “Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity,” according to the release.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman introduced a bill last year that would restrict the use of Methoprene, a larvicide that has been linked to killing lobsters. Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for this bill; similar laws have been passed in Connecticut and Rhode Island.