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May 12, 2016 10:10 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Southampton Village Public Hearing Draws In Over 150 People

Nica B. Strunk, an attorney representing homeowners at the Picnic Area, addresses the Village Board on Thursday. GREG WEHNER
May 13, 2016 12:08 PM

UPDATE: Friday 10:55 a.m.

Nearly 150 residents of the Village of Southampton attended a public hearing regarding proposed new rules that could eventually limit the number of vehicles that can drive on the beach at the Picnic Area—a 2,000-foot-long section of beach that runs between the village’s western boundary and Road F—between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The hearing, which took place on Thursday night at the Cultural Center on Pond Lane, allowed members of the public to weigh in on a proposal to limit the number of vehicles on the only stretch of ocean-facing beach in Southampton Town that people are permitted to drive on between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the summer months, to 175 vehicles.

The village plans to police the number of vehicles allowed on the beach by setting up a single access point at the heliport between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Out of those in attendance, 28 spoke up during the public hearing, and out of those 28, only three spoke in favor of the changes being made, that could result in eliminating vehicles on the beaches.

The proposed change to limit the number of vehicles at the Picnic Area comes after a recent lawsuit filed against the Village of Southampton, the Southampton Town Trustees and the State Department of Environmental Conservation alleging that the village and Trustees were unfairly and illegally allowing vehicles on a small portion of the beach during the day in the summertime, while excluding them from other beaches. The suit, which was filed by attorney Nica B. Strunk on behalf of property owners Kathleen Araskog Thomas, Andrew S. Thomas, Rand V. Araskog and Jessi M. Araskog on October 21, 2015, is still pending.

Ms. Strunk spoke at the public hearing on behalf of the Araskog family and said her clients are civic minded and care about the community, and the last thing they want to do is deprive people of being able to go to the beach.

But unlike all of the other beaches in the village, and the Town of Southampton, this is the only beach that allows driving and parking between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Without traffic, engineering or environmental impact studies being done, Ms. Strunk said there was not enough information to support that 175 cars was an appropriate number on the stretch of beach. She also thinks the village owes it to the the people in Southampton to do the studies to find out what was safe, and whatever was determined should apply to all beaches in Southampton Village, not just the Picnic Area.

“Their beach is a parking lot,” Ms. Strunk said of the Araskog’s property which goes down to the high water mark according to their deed. “They’re paying taxes on a public parking lot.”

When asked by Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley if her client was looking to have no vehicles drive on the beach, Ms. Strunk said that was what they were looking for, but if a study found that it was safe for the environment and the people, and a resolution was proposed that could be applied to all of the beaches, her client would be accepting of that.

Many of the people in the audience said they have been going down to that stretch of beach since well before the homes were built and some of the people said they even remembered a time when the only way to get down there was on a dirt road.

Phil Gay, the owner of East End Clambakes in Southampton said the property owners upset about beach driving should have done their research before purchasing their homes.

Mr. Gay claimed the beach at the Picnic Area was the cleanest beach on the East End, mostly because the people who go there respect the beach and clean up after themselves.

He said he likes the Picnic Area because on Sunday evenings, he and his brother can go there with their kids and have a picnic and socialize.

“That place down there is much more behaved than it use to be in the ’70s, I can tell you that,” said Mr. Gay, who referred to a time when there were 30 foot dunes and post-graduation parties in the area.

But Mr. Gay does not think that the 175 vehicle limit would be appropriate. In fact, he would prefer to see the number set at 250. At the same time, he said the Town Trustees should do something to relieve the pressure at the Picnic Area, even if it meant opening more beaches.

“That place is about the hard working people in this town that need a place to go and relax, to talk about whatever they want to talk about, cook whatever they want to cook on the grill, go swimming, watch their kids grow up, walk their dog,” Mr. Gay said. “It’s all about that.”

Francis Adamczeski, a regular user of the Picnic Area, told members how much he loves the area down there. At times, he even walks the beach just to clean up the garbage. But some of his comments were directed at Ms. Strunk and her clients, who were not in attendance.

“This is our home,” Mr. Adamczeski said. “You got enough money, move somewhere else.”

ORIGINAL STORY

The Southampton Village Board meeting scheduled for Thursday night has been moved to accomodate a larger than normal crowd that is anticipated to attend two scheduled public hearings.

The meeting, which is now scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Cultural Center on Pond Lane, will include two public hearings. The first will address the number of vehicles allowed on the beach at the Picnic Area—a 2,000-foot-long section of beach that runs between the village’s western boundary and Road F—at a single time, and the second will address the ability for those who cannot get on the beach at the Picnic Area to be able to park at the helipad parking lot on Meadow Lane.

At the hearing, the public will be able to weigh in on a proposal to limit the number of vehicles on the only stretch of ocean-facing beach in Southampton Town that people are permitted to drive on between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the summer months, to 175 vehicles.

The village plans to police the number of vehicles allowed on the beach by setting up a single access point at the heliport between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Once the vehicle limit is reached, those with beach driving passes will be allowed to park in the helipad parking lot on Meadow Lane, which is currently being expanded by an additional 75 spaces, although the pass will not allow them to park in any other village lots, like the one at Coopers Beach.

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The meeting last night was seemingly just a formality, considering the Village has erected a gate on Road F!! Additionally, the Araskogs' attorney admitted that they want us to lose our traditional access whild claiming her clients are active members of the community.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 13, 16 6:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Note~ these four photos were taken Labor Day weekend.
They bought long after the picnic area was in use. Maybe at a reduced price because of this. Years ago, someone next to Road D, tried the same tactic. When he was in contract to purchase the home asked his attorney about the beach usage in front of his future home. The attorney asked us, and we told him.
The buyer told his attorney that he will have that changed after he moves in. He tried. He lost.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on May 13, 16 12:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
So the Village sells us all stickers and than changes the rules prior to the beach season??!! THATS NOT FAIR !!! Thats shady!!! Maybe its time for the State to take over control of the beach so that its kept the way its always been!!!! After all , the Village waited until the day of the meeting to change the location...hence why many were not in attendance ! SHADY! Too much corruption in the Village

The Araskogs and their "6 Acre Surf Inspired Gardens' need to get over themselves. Its ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 14, 16 8:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
ANY concession whatsoever to the Askarogs is a profoundly shortsighted mistake. The village should litigate to a final decision. Giving in to well-heeled presumptuous parvenus like this only encourages their kind.

How long will local municipalities continue to prostrate themselves every time a psychopath from the city menaces them with an extortionate lawsuit?

Mayor Epley, you weren't elected to hand over our ancestral rights to anti-social egomaniacs. Show some ba*ls. Remove ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 14, 16 9:35 AM
The ownership of road F is in dispute, OUR Town Trustees claim ownership as does the Village, the gate is quite possibly illegal. The Araskogs also drive the beach and are SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for the illegal commercial activity that goes on 7 days a week, surf lessons are a commercial activity , whether they happen on private property or not, once they cross the property line when shuttling clients back and forth to the parking lot, they are in direct violation of the law. Numerous calls to the SHVPD ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 14, 16 12:07 PM
Commercial activity should NOT HAPPEN on ANY of the beaches is here!! Doesn't matter if $ is being exchanged off the beach, its wrong! Even more so now with a vehicle limit on the beach. Maybe its time for a petition to stop the commercial activity . Shut them down and the Araskogs wont be the 'Big Kahuna" when it comes to "their" surf camp and the large party they host for them at the end of the summer. GREAT INFO Bigfresh!!! TY
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 15, 16 7:47 AM
The photos were taken on Labor Day weekend, so naturally it was more crowded than usual. The attorney for the homeowner who is suing needs to get all her facts straight before she ASSumes that people drunk and creating issues that are simply not true. People who enjoy the "picnic area" respect it, clean up after themselves are are only down there to enjoy the beach after a long week of work. We are talking about maybe 10 Sundays and possibly less depending on weather. The homeowner knew what they ...more
By rjhdad (73), southampton on May 15, 16 8:05 AM
2 members liked this comment
SO WELL SAID rjhdad!

SUPPORT THE TRUSTESS!! SIGN the petition at Southamptonbeach.org

Would love to see someone like Tim Corwin on the board..perhaps as our new Mayor...he truly cares about tradition , the local people and the community. We need an honest man and the reigns !
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 15, 16 8:23 AM
From the looks of the photos, the cars are not beyond the "high water mark". Apparently, this lawyer is really good at bull****.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 15, 16 10:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well i Would argue, Why were those homes even built in the first place? Everyone talks about how you can't stop it. I don't by that Once those homes were built this was bound to happen sooner or later. If people who use the Picnic Area with there friends and family for decades said Stop The Building! There would have been No Issues.
By JM11968 (71), southampton on May 15, 16 5:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Araskog claims that "private" lessons for her friends and family are permissible on private property in the same way caterers are allowed to stage an event on private property. Let's ignore the fact that "her" instructors were soliciting business on the beach and pick up their clients at the helipad and advertise private lessons. When an event occurs on the beach , the village issues a permit for said event. I find it hard to believe that permits were issued for every day of July, August , September ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 15, 16 8:20 AM
Do the Araskogs actually operate a private surf camp on a public beach without a permit? Time to put a stop to that. (One can only wonder if they were led to file their suit by the fact that pesky residents were interfering with the operation of their camp on "their" beach.) On the next day of the camp's operation, the village should dispatch officers to cite the instructors and to prohibit the camp. Once the Araskogs' concurrent lawsuit has failed, this "problem" will be solved for all time.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 15, 16 10:21 AM
When they came for the racetrack...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 15, 16 10:34 AM
No HH, the Araskogs themselves don't operate a surf camp. For some reason Flying Point Surf Schllo has been allowed to give "private" lessons on the beach in question , when asked why this is allowed, the answer from Village Hall is that because the beach in front of the Araskog residence is private property, the law allows them to pay for lessens there for family and friends as they would be allowed to have a caterer or other commercial entity conducting business for the homeowner. Unfortunately ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 15, 16 3:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
It is imperative that Southampton Village, Suffolk County and Town leaders, Trustees, local attorneys and whomever else is charged with serving the taxpayers reaffirm the public's right to the beach. The public has an inherent right of access to and along all beaches and shorelines. Generally, local authorities have the primary authority to develop and maintain public access to and along the shorelines. It's no more complicated than that.




By KevinLuss (356), SH on May 15, 16 5:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is a reposted comment I wrote in 2013 . While lengthy, it clearly explains how we have arrived at this "breaking point". The current village administration has enabled and watched this play out to thier satifaction while claiming to be advocates for us locals.

Headline: Southampton Village Paves Way For Surf Camp
Jul 13, 13 "Village Paves Way For Surf Camp". Wow if that doesn't say it all. It could also read; "Village legitimizes law breaking commercial enterprise in 11th hour ...more
By WMFlyPt (13), WaterMill on May 15, 16 6:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
Well, so much for the surf camp. It would appear that it has as many supporters as it does opponents and it is a shame that a school that teaches people (particularly young people) to enjoy the ocean will be put out of business. (Those of us who love the oceanic marine environment always feel sorry for people who have not learned to revel in it as we do.) One wishes that a compromise could have been reached (with the school, NOT with the Araskogs.) However, it is hard to see how the surf camp ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 15, 16 8:08 PM
Technically the Surf Camp has been doing business in accordance with the Village Ordinance. What is at issue are "private lessons" which are offered at the picnic area. The Araskogs claim that they may host private lessons for friends and family on their property , in reality the instructors are transporting people from Village owned property, across other private property to the Araskog property where on shore "instruction" is given, then they walk to wherever the waves are breaking in the picnic ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 16, 16 5:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Since when do authentic surfers and those that espouse that lifestyle work with officials and lawyers to help clear the beach of locals in order to make money ?
By KevinLuss (356), SH on May 16, 16 6:15 AM
The Surf School is not involved in the suit as a plaintiff. It remains to be seen if they are subject to the 175 vehicle limit
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 16, 16 6:56 AM
I'm not following you. They are evidently involved. Plaintiffs or not. And nobody should be ready to accept the arbitrary 175 as is inherent in your post. This is about who gets to claim ownership of the beach and the implications are spectacular.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on May 16, 16 8:25 AM
The community clearly needs a PUBLIC FORUM to FULLY EXPLAIN every aspect of this situation! And not just a smoke screen by the Village ( thursdays meeting) We cant rely on the Press as they are cautious as to what they print! THANK YOU WMFlyPt & Bigfresh for your VERY INFORMATIVE posts! This is the exact information that the ENTIRE community needs to hear!! they need to hear it, they need to be handed literature , and asked to bring a pen an paper take notes. If we dont take a stand, we lose out ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 16, 16 9:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
I will comply. I will arrive early enough to drive on. I will park my vehicle just off to the right a few hundred feet off Jim Aery Way...where the high tide line ends,and 2150 Meadow Lane, begins. I invite ALL 175 of you to join me, park next to me, and I will have burgers for every one! Turkey/chicken for those of you allergic...and portobello for my vegetarian bathing beauties.
See you on the beach, Memorial Day Weekend! xoxo
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on May 16, 16 9:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Kevin They do own part of the beach , we have an easement , guaranteed by the Dongan Patent to " pass and re pass" on ANY BEACH in the Township . The crux of the matter is that the Aradkogs are claiming that the Village has arbitrarily decided that 175 vehicles on the beach is "reasonable" from an environmental and safety standpoint. When pressed, Ms Strunk admitted that they want no vehicles there , unless the same rules apply to the entire Village.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 16, 16 11:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
@fresh...
does it make a difference that the the majority of the vehicles are PARKED for the better part of the day and not actually driving up and down the oceanfront?
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on May 17, 16 9:30 AM
NOPE! they do no want to see us at ALL ! They dont want to see our SUV's parked or driving , our umbrellas or American flags. They complain now that we have to park 2 cars deep now. More than 250 beach stickers we sold the year the Surf Camp was legally allowed to operate!!! And now the beach is too crowded!! "They" want it vehicle free except for the Surf camp . We , the local beach goers, drive the 10 mile speed limit on the beach, we air our tires down, walk the beach an pick up garbage, we ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 17, 16 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
When was the last time the DEC checked the mean high tide line ? I understand this is done about every 30 years......and that this could make a difference in favor of the beach goes.......?? TY

Oh how beneficial a public forum would be .....
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 16, 16 1:11 PM
if the 'single access' point is by the heliport and that's where the # of cars on the beach is counted wont people just drive on through the county park and then proceed to wherever they like on the beach?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on May 17, 16 7:15 AM
There will be a fence erected at the County Park line to prevent access. Something that should have been done a long time ago. SUV'S would overflow from the County Lines to the point where multiple , daily calls were placed to the Police Dept and nothing was done about it!!"They" were instructed not to ticket anyone without a proper beach sticker.!!! True Story!!!

There will be a fence there. A gate at Jim Aerys way with an attendant. And from what I understand Gary Macs Way will be closed ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 17, 16 8:36 AM
Public hearing May 24!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 18, 16 5:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Public Hearing May 24th, FANTASTIC !! Where an what time so that we may spread the word ? TY bigfesh for this great news !
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 18, 16 8:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well, with no further information being provided, prob safe to say that this May 24 Public Hearing is just a regular Town Meeting....just a formalitly. Theres nothing on the Saba webpage so obv no special meeting.....yet.....still waiting.....and waiting..............................................................................................................
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 19, 16 7:21 AM
Probably a "Village" meeting not "Town" IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 20, 16 6:52 AM
From the May 24th agenda...

Public Hearings:
1. Local Law – Amending Chapter 80 with respect to vehicles on beach
2. Local Law – Amending Chapter 86 with respect to permit parking

http://ecode360.com/SO0841


By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on May 19, 16 11:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you :)
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 19, 16 12:19 PM
May 24 5:00 PM , location to be announced shortly, keep an eye on the SABA website. We need as many people at this meeting as possible.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 20, 16 5:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
Will DEF spread the word about the need for attendance at this meeting! TY for the follow up!!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 20, 16 7:09 AM
Southampton Cultural Center is the location.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on May 21, 16 7:37 PM
Thank you! Saba has yet to post this important meeting on their WEBPAGE
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 22, 16 8:01 AM
Finally, one of these ocean front owners has got it right. Treating it as an equal protection case. The real failure on the part of the village has been restricting resident to one ever dwindling area. SABA should work with the Araskogs, rather than demonizing them, to make all beaches of SHV equally accessible to all residents. Why should just a few oceanfront owners have 200 trucks in front of their house while hundreds of other oceanfront owners have a mere few people with their blankets to ...more
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 2:46 PM
WHY U ASK!!! THE DONGAN PATENT!! WHY TRUCKS IN FRONT OF THEIR ?!! DONT PURCHASE AN OCEAN FRONT HOME THAT HAS 4X4 ACESS TO THE BEACH IN FRONT OF IT AND THAN BLAME THE VERY PEOPLE WHO WORK THEIR ASSES OFF TO SERVE THESE HOME! MAYBE ITS A QUESTION FOR THEIR REALTOR TO ANSWER!! AND WHY IS SABA BEING ACCUSED OF DEMONIZING THE ARASKOGS AND THEIR LAWSUIT??? SABA IS ABOVE THAT!!! THANK YOU! AND WE WILL NOT END UP WITH NOTHING!

DESTROYING THE ONE PLACE THAT THE LOCAL FAMILY'S CAN GATHER TOGETHER ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 23, 16 5:07 PM
lol...@toes in the water, @smacw has a pretty reasonable point, it's probably worth trying to wrap you head around.

Maybe you should re-read.

Yes, you should re-read.

I sure hope it's not you, toes in the water speaking on behalf of local residents! We're in trouble if it is.

By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on May 23, 16 5:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chill Toes, I'm on your side. You clearly missed my overriding thesis. Why should you have just one place? The easement extends the whole length on SHV beaches. Equal protection for all oceanfront homeowners and and equal access to the beach for all residents. If you don't take that approach, the picnic spot will become dwindled down to nothing as they restrict the number of vehicles more and more to appease home owners.
Franny's comments demonized the Araskogs, and I'm sure many others feel ...more
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 5:40 PM
First off lil buddy, the person you just called out is not on the Saba board so dont chastise them for someone elses freedom of speech ! And "he" has every right to be angry and SHAME SHAME SHAME on you to call him out publicly like this! I'd bet my left leg he has alot alot alot more information on all of this!! Maybe you should back read ALL the arcticles related to this, including the surf camp articles ...go back til about 2012...prob make u re- think .....

The Araskogs would rather ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 23, 16 6:41 PM
lol
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 23, 16 7:50 PM
Ok so lets say the Araskogs are not sincere, its not about equal protection, just a strategy. Call their bluff, file an amicus brief, for equal access to the beach easement everywhere in the village. The current us vs them strategy will be suicidal as I detailed above

BTW, I've read everything, and You seem to misinterpret everything i write. As the Araskogs support the surf school which relies on vehicle access, they cant be totally against vehicles on the beach, just would rather it werent ...more
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 8:57 PM
Ok so lets say the Araskogs are not sincere, its not about equal protection, just a strategy. Call their bluff, file an amicus brief, for equal access to the beach easement everywhere in the village. The current us vs them strategy will be suicidal as I detailed above

BTW, I've read everything, and You seem to misinterpret everything i write. As the Araskogs support the surf school which relies on vehicle access, they cant be totally against vehicles on the beach, just would rather it werent ...more
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 8:55 PM
I just hope that we can find a better place to park all of these trucks - pretty weird to have everyone parking on the beach.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on May 24, 16 11:06 AM
Now you're pokin' the bear....
By smacw (240), New York on May 25, 16 10:25 AM
Go to another beach. It's really not weird at all. The situation has been going on for years...Hatfields & McCoys...It appears that the beach area between Roads F & G had been designated and referred to as the 24/7, 365 4x4 picnic beach in documents dating back to before 1990. The wannabe beach drivers were somewhat banished to the end of Dune Road where there were NO houses. No wealthy mansion owners to complain about THEIR beachfront littered with locals in beach buggies. Locals embraced it. You ...more
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on May 25, 16 10:51 AM
Just some typical obnoxious city weasels.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 26, 16 7:26 PM