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Aug 14, 2018 12:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

DEC Scolds Southampton Town Trustees Over Rose Hill Modifications Without Permits

The Southampton Town Trustees allowed a homeowner to do work on Trustee-owned property without obtaining the proper permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation in April. GREG WEHNEr
Aug 14, 2018 4:35 PM

The State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a stern reprimand to the Southampton Town Trustees this week over work that was done in the spring at the Trustee-owned Rose Hill Road property—as it turns out, without the proper DEC permits.

The property, located at 475 Rose Hill Road in Water Mill, has been the topic of heated discussions between the Trustees and members of the community.

Earlier this year, the Trustees entered into an agreement with the neighboring homeowner, Randy Frankel, that allows him to use a portion of the Trustee-owned property for his circular driveway. In return, he agreed to pave a driveway and dredge a boat ramp that fills frequently with sand.

Once the deal was made, Mr. Frankel had crews move trees along a property line that was modified before the Trustees took over the property. He also had his crews pave the driveway, lay down crushed clam shells and dredge the ramp.

DEC officers conducted an inspection on the property on July 3, according to spokesman Bill Fond, and the Bureau of Marine Habitat Protection staff returned nearly a week later for a follow-up inspection. Both crews discovered that permits were not obtained by the Trustees for any of the work that Mr. Frankel had done on the Trustee-owned property.

In a letter dated August 7, the DEC specifically noted potential violations when it came to repaving a road next to a regulated wetland, installing a parking lot next to a regulated wetland, and dredging within the regulated wetland—all of which require a permit from the department.

“Conducting regulated activities without the required [DEC] permits is a violation of Article 25 of the State’s Environmental Conservation Law,” the letter read. “Such violations may be subject to a maximum penalty of $10,000 per day violation.”

Rather than enforce the matter, the DEC said in the letter that it would just issue a warning, and “consider this violation resolved.” They warned, though, that all other work requires permits in the future.

Mr. Fonda said the Trustees received the warning rather than a notice of violation because the work performed was something the DEC likely would have issued a permit for. He added that no fines were issued.

When the Trustees entered into the agreement with Mr. Frankel, it stipulated that he would dredge the ramp twice a year to allow people to launch boats, put asphalt down to the ramp from Rose Hill Road, and lay crushed clam shells in a parking area south of the ramp. Mr. Frankel also is responsible for obtaining all federal, state and local permits, especially with regards to the dredging of the ramp, according to the agreement.

Two Trustees both said it should not have been up to their board to get the permits.

“It wasn’t on my radar,” Trustee Bruce Stafford said on Tuesday. “We turned the property over to the homeowner.”

Trustee Scott Horowitz echoed Mr. Stafford: “Why would we apply for the permits if it was his responsibility to get the permits?”

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“It wasn’t on my radar,” he said. “We turned the property over to the homeowner.”-Town Trustee Bruce Stafford

Maybe, just once, consult your Legal Counsel. You do have Legal Counsel, don't you, Bruce?

I'm wondering who cut this deal, really cut this deal? Who is Randy Frankel's Insurance Broker?
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Aug 14, 18 1:17 PM
Stafford: "It wan't on my radar."

So why are you at the helm, if you can't read the radar screen?


By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 14, 18 1:41 PM
It's a miracle the SH Town Trustees have not gotten SH Town sued off the map.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 14, 18 1:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
I'm very disappointed that the Trustees have bungled this entire matter so terribly. It was ill-conceived, not made public prior to being finalized, and there has been nothing but a string of lame excuses for allowing this debacle.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Aug 14, 18 2:28 PM
All this was done before they legally had the land??? And who is really his insurance broker or just a guess???
Bruce your radar is defective... Sounds like district attorney should investigate attorney, board and the town. Stinky bunker smells...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 14, 18 2:33 PM
Let's not forget that this property was "leased" to the homeowner in an improper conveyance. There was no required Public Hearing! Further, this property was historically used as a park, and a park cannot be transferred to private hands without agreement by the NYS legislature. This improper deal will be undone in the Courts.

By WMCAC Member (5), Water Mill on Aug 14, 18 3:07 PM
five stooges!! they will end up being sued by everyone including Frankel. Bring back Fred.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Aug 14, 18 3:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
You didn't "turn the property over to the homeowner" Bruce, it's was leased.Perhaps you were compensated by the homeowner and feel that you actually did "turn over" the property? How in the name of all that's holy did Trustee Stafford get so deep into this??!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 14, 18 3:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
DEC dropped the ball, if someone else did it there would be Big fines, attaboy!!!
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 14, 18 5:33 PM
DEC dropped the ball, if someone else did it there would be Big fines, attaboy!!!
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 14, 18 5:34 PM
bruce is deep into everything without a clue
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Aug 14, 18 6:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
These guys would be better off staying on the dock, not taking care of our waters.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 14, 18 10:24 PM
Are these ILLEGAL actions by the homeowner in violation of the terms of the lease? Does the property now revert back to us? Of course not, the contract was written by the homeowner's attorney, rubber stamped by a Town attorney no longer involved with the Trustees and approved by our Trustees. Just pitiful!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 15, 18 7:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
If Bruce Stafford leans back any further in his chair, at Board meetings, he is going to find himself on the floor. Didn't he learn in school how to sit up and pay attention?
Oh, maybe it's all the stuff in his pockets that are weighing him down. It's time for the county to come in and follow the money - Frankel, Stafford, Horowitz, Warner??
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Aug 15, 18 7:28 PM
1 member liked this comment