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Apr 20, 2016 9:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Lawmakers Introduce Legislation To Clarify Southampton Trustees' Regulatory Power

Southampton Town Trustee Scott Horowitz has been vocal about the importance of getting legislation passed that will clarify the roles of the Trustees when it comes to ocean facing beaches. GREG WEHNER
Apr 20, 2016 10:44 AM

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle introduced identical bills in the Senate and Assembly on April 12, seeking to clarify—and strengthen—the regulatory powers of the Southampton Town Trustees on ocean-facing beaches, including those within village boundaries.

Both bills clarify certain powers of the Trustees with respect to regulating the use of ocean beaches in the town, while making clear that the town owns the underwater lands, and the Trustees have the right to regulate activity there. They also note that the Trustees have the right to regulate the public’s use and enjoyment of the easement between the high water mark and the crest of the sand dune, even within village boundaries.

The bills are not likely to be the subject of a vote until later this year.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad voiced her support for the bills at the Town Trustees’ regular meeting on Monday, saying she will present a resolution to the Town Board to gather its official support of the bills as well.

“I’m hoping that they will recognize your powers,” Ms. Lofstad said. “I think it’s so very important, and I’m happy to continue to support you.”

The legislation comes after several high-profile court losses for the Trustees, one of which stripped them of their authority over the easement along ocean-facing beaches within incorporated villages, which they have controlled since the late 1600s. The law now states that the Trustees have the right to regulate only the collection of seaweed and fish within the easement. Traditional interpretations allowed the Trustees wider jurisdiction on ocean beaches.

Trustee Ed Warner said the court’s rulings on the matters left a gray area that can be interpreted a number of ways. “What we need, once and for all, for the preservation of public access on our beaches, is to have it clarified for everybody,” he said.

Trustee Scott Horowitz echoed Mr. Warner’s sentiments, saying the situation is monumental and that he hopes the public is paying attention, and that it all works out in the Trustees’ favor.

“This needs to be adopted,” Mr. Horowitz said later in a text message. “It’s some of the most important legislation needed … period.”

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I support the Southampton Town Trustees!!!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 20, 16 3:13 PM
3 members liked this comment
I support both the south and east hampton town trustees in the powers granted to the in the dongan patent.
Places that hundreds of years ago was known as common lands and worthless (the ocean beaches) are now the place were wealthy elitist will spend massive amounts of money to prevent the public from using.
if the trustees and our public representatives don't support this bill, then the generations of Mariners and bonackers to come will be the ones to suffer.
By H2O (85), easthampton on Apr 20, 16 6:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
JOIN SABA TODAY!!! JOIN CfAR TODAY!!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Apr 21, 16 6:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Time to take a stand against these absurd lawsuits , this needs to stop! We ALL need to send a powerful message to end this once an for all! The Trustees in BOTH Easthampton and Southampton need our voices to be heard!!! If you look the other way, we will loose both beaches. Don't let this article lead you to believe we have been heard....your letters to the state are VITAL. Dont stop fighting until BOTH beaches have their access rightfully protected by our AMAZING TRUSTEES.....Dongan Patent must ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 21, 16 7:40 AM
Time to take a stand against these absurd lawsuits , this needs to stop! We ALL need to send a powerful message to end this once an for all! The Trustees in BOTH Easthampton and Southampton need our voices to be heard!!! If you look the other way, we will loose both beaches. Don't let this article lead you to believe we have been heard....your letters to the state are VITAL. Dont stop fighting until BOTH beaches have their access rightfully protected by our AMAZING TRUSTEES.....Dongan Patent must ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 21, 16 7:40 AM
Well said it is TIME TO TAKE A STAND AGAINST THESE ABSURD LAWSUITS! Tell the Trustees to STOP BRINGING THEM! And stop spending MILLIONS of dollars making some out of town loosing lawyer rich! Just think how many clams those millions of dollars could have put into the bay, instead of loosing all their power and making MR. Cahn a very wealthy lawyer while loosing every important case we paid for. The trustees should be ashamed of how they miss spent our public funds bring ABSURD lawsuits for their ...more
By veggary (45), West HamptonDunes on Apr 22, 16 12:24 PM
THIS LAWSUIT WAS NOT BROUGHT ON BY THE TRUSTEES!!! THIS IS THE MAYORS DOING!!! THIS IS ABOUT GREED AND POWER FROM WEALTHY SUMMER PEOPLE AND ABSOLUTELY NOT ON THE TRUSTEES PART!!! I FULLY SUPPORT the TRUSTEES 150% When a Surf Camp operates on a beach ILLEGALLY for 2 years , and than has a red carpet laid out for them to operate legally, well fault should be placed upon the guilty parties an NOT the Trustees!! The multi million dollar lawsuits are happening EVERYWHERE and THAT IS WHAT NEEDS TO STOP! ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 22, 16 4:44 PM
Yes don't listen to what slimey veggary says he's the one who steered this entire thing out of greed. more money for him and his low class neighbors living in that nassau county cesspool of a village. they all from greasy dumps up island and they want to make where we live the same way now. used to be a beautiful natural place and now it looks like breezy point without the brave public servants. he wants the trustees to stop suing them so that people will stop paying attention and he can go back ...more
By em (51), sagaponack on Apr 23, 16 9:17 PM
1 member liked this comment