Tag Archive | "Noyac Bay Avenue"

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.”

Update: Parking Ban in Noyac

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By Claire Walla

On Tuesday, July 26 Southampton Town Board will vote on a resolution to lift the partial parking ban now in effect on Noyac Bay Avenue in Noyac.
Earlier this month, town board member Jim Malone sponsored a resolution to compromise on 100 feet of unrestricted parking on the south side of Noyac Bay Avenue, which dead-ends at a channel leading into a private marina. However, after numerous residents in the greater Sag Harbor area and several more East Enders supporting beach access rights continued to fight to lift the ban completely, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst pushed to put another resolution on the agenda that would do just that.
At previous town board meetings, Throne-Holst, Malone and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming have openly expressed their support of lifting the parking restrictions entirely, claiming beach access to be a fundamental right for those in the town of Southampton.
While Councilman Chris Nuzzi has said he, too, supports beach access, he has previously expressed an unwillingness to take action beyond the 100-foot compromise that’s already been adopted by the town.

Acrimony Remains Over Beach Parking

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By Claire Walla

Hardly quelling concerns on either side of the aisle, the Southampton Town Board decided unanimously (with the exception of Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, who was absent) to close a public hearing last Tuesday, July 12 on the issue of parking on Noyac Bay Avenue in Noyac. Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said a resolution to lift the partial parking ban entirely will be brought to the board at its next meeting in two weeks.

“It’s not about parking, it’s about a fundamental right,” Throne-Holst said.

The town board came to a decision at its last meeting to pass a resolution lifting the parking ban on 100 feet of pavement, allowing three to four cars unrestricted access.

But, along with Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Councilman Jim Malone, the supervisor expressed concern that any “no parking” signs in the area would contribute to restricted beach access. (While the east-west road is flanked by a private beach club to the north and a private marina to the south, the avenue itself belongs to the town of Southampton, as does a roughly 50-foot wide patch of sand adjacent to it.)

“We cannot restrict the rights anywhere because once we restrict it somewhere, that sets a precedent [for the town],” the supervisor added.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi — the lone voice of dissent on the board last Tuesday — highlighted the compromise that had been reached at the last meeting and downplayed the need for unrestricted access.

“This isn’t necessarily precedent-setting, as far as I can tell. This isn’t actually as limiting as you’d find in some areas,” he said, noting the fact that some town roads that end at the water are permit-only.

Town Transportation Director Tom Neely actually explained that there are roads in the town that dead-end at bodies of water that are in fact permit-only; however, there are currently no roadways dead-ending at the bay that restrict parking.

The issue started about two years ago when residents of Northampton Colony appealed to the board for parking restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue, citing concerns over several thefts reported in the marina. As no community members then expressed discontent over the issue, the town board complied.

“This isn’t right,” said Noyac resident Lisina Ceresa of the parking restrictions. “I think it’s a disgrace that the octogenarians have been denied access to the only beach they can easily access.”

The town board heard from dozens of community members who argued both sides of the issue with [ferocity]. Members of Northampton Colony hinged their arguments on issues of public safety, reiterating the issue of past theft in the area and highlighting the safety hazards of swimming in the water at the foot of the avenue, which is actually a working channel leading into the marina.

“All we need is a young person’s fishing line to get caught in a boat’s propeller,” said Northampton Colony resident Ken Harvey, alluding to issues of liability. “If you’re going to open it up to anyone to park there, you must guard against that in some way, because I — as a tax payer in this town — don’t want to be faced with lawsuits because you said anyone can use this property, and then they go there and get injured.”

Harbor Master Larry Tullio cited more specific concerns.

“These people here do not want to use this space,” he said, referring to the small portion of sand belonging to the town. “They want to use our country club and they want to use our marina. They are not allowed to set-up beach chairs and umbrellas on private property.”

But Councilwoman Bridget Fleming brought things into perspective, saying that in her view the issue hardly concerns the state or the size of the beach in question.

“The important part is not what people are intending to do, but a basic fundamental principal that we as a town board cannot step in and say that access to this beach is denied,” she said. “You cannot restrict access to public property.”

Town Trustee Jon Semlear, a Noyac resident, echoed Fleming’s sentiments.

“This issue is very important to me both personally and [as a town trustee],” he said, adding that it’s important “that we remain active in protecting the access points in our wild and public lands.”

“I’m very fortunate to have water access,” he continued. “But most people in the town don’t have access, and we have to look out for them. As a trustee for 18 years, everyone’s always trying to nibble away [at beach access]. This is something that we’re vigilant about. It’s a constant battle. If we keep giving up, there’s going to be a point when it’s all private.”

Community Tiff Over Parking

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By Claire Walla

Noyac resident Dr. Stanley Shore said he’s been visiting the little patch of sand at the end of Noyac Bay Avenue in Northampton Colony for decades.

He’s lived in the area since the 1930s and has always been able to park his car on the road where it dead-ends into a strip of sand along a channel that leads around the corner to a small marina. At high tide, the beach is minimal and buttressed by the private beach club to the left and the private marina to the right.

But for Shore — who, at 87-years-old, doesn’t walk great distances anyway — it doesn’t matter.

“It’s the most beautiful place in the world,” he said.

When Shore discovered last year that “no parking” signs had gone up in 2009, he realized he could no longer access his favorite beach. And since then, he’s led an effort to get Southampton Town to overturn its decision to post the seasonal “no parking” signs. The next town hearing on the matter is this Tuesday, June 28.

“What they’re slowly doing is they’re making this a gated, private community,” he said.

Shore said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilman Jim Malone were previously poised to compromise on the parking issue by implementing permit-only restrictions with a limited number of spots for residents of Southampton Town.  But, he said even this proposal has been met with resistance from homeowners.

“We feel betrayed by the board,” Shore said.  “There’s no reason for them to be giving in.”

The parking issue was prompted by what those in Northampton Colony attribute to thefts in the area in 2008. According to a letter written to Southampton Town Council by Northampton Colony Yacht Club Commodore Laurence Tullio, five boat-owners in the marina were subject to theft and vandalism of fishing accessories, including the theft of a fishing net, casting rods and reels, and damage to a boat’s cup holders.

After putting in a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request with Southampton Town Police for all thefts reported to the town from 2008 to the present, Dr. Shore discovered only one reported incident of theft in the area, which occurred in 2008.

But, according to one Northampton Colony resident (who supports the parking ban), these incidents were not reported to Southampton Town Police because police informed community members there was little hope town detectives would actually recover the missing items.

The resident continued to explain that homeowners were worried that people with intent to steal could park their cars at the end of Noyac Bay Avenue —  a strip of concrete south of the neighborhood’s clubhouse and north of the marina — where they would be able to observe activity in the marina and hone in on where personal items were being stored on each boat.

“That’s ludicrous,” said a Northampton Colony resident who wished to remain anonymous in order to avoid getting involved with neighborhood politics.  If the community used that logic, he continued, “then you have to apply that to every marina on the island,”

He added, “If [thievery] is an issue, then parking should be by permit only.”

This is what Noyac resident Dr. Stanley Shore would settle for, although he added that the present compromise has decreased from permit-only parking along both sides of Noyac Bay Road, to just four spaces on the south side of the street.

“There are over 100 streets [in the Town of Southampton] that end at the water, at public beaches,” said Noyac resident Jayne Young.  The residents of Northampton Colony, she added, “are simply asking for special treatment.”

She, Shore and fellow Noyaker Lisina Ceresa, feel the bigger issue at hand is that if the board continues to  enforce “no parking” restrictions at the end of Noyac Bay Road, it could instigate “a domino effect” across the East End, prompting other communities in Southampton and East Hampton to appeal to their town boards for restricted access.

“I’m generally supportive of maintaining beach access, but from time to time there’s a need to constrain [it.],” said Southampton Councilman Chris Nuzzi who has been in favor of maintaining “no parking” signs on Noyac Bay Avenue.

When asked whether or not he felt restricted parking would effectively make the beach private, he added “that obviously would concern me.  I certainly am not looking to close off beach access to residents. Again, it doesn’t stop people from utilizing the beach — that I would not support.  The only thing it does restrict is parking.”

He continued to explain that the biggest concern for area residents is the number of thefts they’ve reportedly had in the area.

“The reality is, the more people that can park there, the more welcoming it is,” he said.

For Northampton Colony, the issue is more personal than philosophical.

“The fact that the Town of Southampton is considering changing the current seasonal ‘no parking’ restrictions after a major increase in our taxes has raised immediate concerns in our neighborhood,” said a letter written to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst by Commodore Tullio earlier this month.

The letter added that in 2009 Northampton Colony paid $3,080 in taxes for the clubhouse, but in 2010, these taxes rose to $3,230 and this year that number hit $15,000.  “Raising Northampton Colony’s taxes five fold and now considering changing the seasonal no-parking restriction is totally unacceptable.”

Tullio points to five other waterfront areas in Southampton Town — parts of Sagg Main Road, Townline Road, Daniels Lane, Gibson Road and Ocean Road — that currently hold seasonal “no parking” signs.

In fact, his view is the exact opposite of Young’s.

“If you change the parking restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue [to allow permit-only parking],” he charged, “will you make the same changes on the above named streets?”

The neighborhood has collectively requested the town hold off on making any decisions regarding any change to the parking restriction until the community receives information on the exact boundary lines indicating which sections of beach are under the jurisdiction of the town trustees, and what is legally owned by the residents of Northampton Colony.