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Apr 4, 2016 2:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Trustees Ask For Support From State Lawmakers

Apr 5, 2016 2:59 PM

The Southampton Town Trustees agreed this week to ask State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. to support a bill that would ratify the Trustees’ authority over ocean beaches, which they have traditionally controlled on behalf of the public.

The formal request comes after the State Appellate Division recently ruled that the Trustees have no lawful authority to grant or deny permits for hardened structures or to govern virtually any other activity on ocean beaches within incorporated village boundaries.

“Basically, the Trustees have come under fire with the homeowners over on the beaches, especially in the villages,” Trustee President Ed Warner Jr. said at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 30. “We’re asking Ken and Fred to step up and put a bill into the State Legislature, to once and for all ratify and clean up what has been a gray area since we got that ruling.”

But one sentence in the resolution, which will be included in the bill packet sent to Albany, had Trustee Eric Shultz concerned. Essentially, it outlined that the Appellate Division had determined what was not the Trustees’ right to permit or not permit: “the placement and grading of sand and earth, and … their development, construction, maintenance, and use of structures and lands anywhere upon or in ocean beaches located within the boundaries of the Incorporated Villages.”

Mr. Shultz’s concern was that state lawmakers from outside the area might wonder why they should get involved if the courts had already decided that the Trustees have no power—and so wanted the language eliminated or made more vague.

On the other hand, Mr. Warner said it was important to include the sentence, because prior court decisions had been in the Trustees’ favor, and the final decision in the last court case took away what they had exercised for centuries.

Trustee Scott Horowitz agreed with Mr. Warner, saying that changing one sentence would not make much of a difference when it comes to the final outcome. “I think the facts should speak for themselves, and the importance to the people of the Town of Southampton should be front and center,” he said. “I would hope that skillfully, Assemblyman Thiele and Senator LaValle will be able to be successful in this.”

Mr. Shultz agreed that the ruling has forced the Trustees to take action. “Even now, nobody really knows what regulatory power we have down there,” he said. “Can we drive a truck? Can we do this? Can we take seaweed? Are we going to be able to stop people in our easement? What power do we have?

“It didn’t say we don’t have any power. It’s muddied the water so bad—that’s why we have to get this law passed,” he added.

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support the Trustees! SIGN THE PETITION AT
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 5, 16 8:46 AM
Join SABA today!!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Apr 5, 16 2:50 PM
Join SABA today!!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Apr 5, 16 2:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Trustees need an deserve our support! If you and ALL of your family members haven't signed the SABA petition at Southamptonbeach.org , I urge you to do so now. And don't forget to those send letters to Lavalle an Thiele to REINSTATE the TRUSTEES jurisdiction ! Its important that you clarify that they are the MOST QUALIFIED to protect our precious town and always have!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Apr 5, 16 5:37 PM