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Sep 25, 2018 1:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Wants To Reclaim Road From Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

A fence blocks off the St. Andrews Road extension, which cuts through the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.  DANA SHAW
Sep 26, 2018 10:15 AM

Southampton Town’s highway superintendent wants to take back a private driveway that cuts through the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, a stretch that was once used as a town road, to create a safer route for drivers to turn onto County Road 39 from St. Andrews Road.

However, the golf club is calling for Alex Gregor to mind his own business.

For a number of years, the golf club has blocked off the stretch of road that connects Tuckahoe Road and St. Andrews Road with barricades and signs, using it as a private driveway. Shinnecock Hills officials claim that the town signed ownership of that section of road over to the club in the 1930s as part of a land swap during the creation of County Road 39.

But Mr. Gregor maintains that the road was never actually turned over to the club—he suggests that the 1930s agreement focused on a different stretch of St. Andrews Road that has since been abandoned—and wants to make it, once again, a public town road.

Earlier this month, Mr. Gregor sent a letter to the club asking it to remove the barriers and submit to an inspection of the road for possible acceptance into the town system, claiming that the town has continued to maintain the right-of-way to the road.

In response, the club’s attorney, Anthony C. Pasca, shot back a strong rebuttal, asserting ownership of the land and road.

He went on to blast Mr. Gregor’s “threats and antagonism,” noting that his letter “can be characterized as nothing short of slander of title (which is a form of defamation that could give rise to a [sic] civil damages).” He stressed that the town does not have the authority—or permission—to enter the club property to examine the road, and he demanded “a formal retraction of your statement that the driveway is town-owned.”

Mr. Pasca claimed in the letter that the town abandoned the road to the golf club in 1932 in a three-way deal with Suffolk County, which sought club land to construct County Road 39.

According to town records, the Town Board adopted a resolution requesting then-Highway Superintendent Richard Culver to abandon sections of St. Andrews Road, on the condition that the club agreed to the county’s plan. County records show the length of St. Andrews Road, which cuts through the golf course property, as “to be abandoned” in a 1932 site plan for County Road 39. Deed transfer records, and the eventual construction of County Road 39, suggest the deal was completed.

Mr. Gregor contends that the section of road in question was never abandoned, or was improperly abandoned.

“I checked, and a title report came back and said that the right-of-way had never been … abandoned,” Mr. Gregor said. “Plus, only the town highway superintendent has the right to abandon a road, not the Town Board.”

Town records also show a 1947 map with St. Andrews Road not turned over to the golf club.

In an effort to make a safer route for commuters entering County Road 39 from St. Andrews Road, Mr. Gregor said he wants drivers to be able to access Tuckahoe Road from St. Andrews Road, and use the traffic signal there to enter the highway. Mr. Gregor called the current intersection of St. Andrews Road and County Road 39 “dangerous.”

In his letter, dated September 11, Mr. Gregor gave the club a month to remove the signs and barricades on both sides of St. Andrews Road, so that the Highway Department could inspect the road this fall. He said the department would set up its own barricades during the inspection so that officials could assess the condition of the road.

The club was also encouraged to submit the proper documentation, if it believed it had the legal title to the road.

Mr. Pasca said officials at the club were shocked by the letter. “This came out of the blue for us,” he said Friday.

He noted that the club hasn’t heard from the Highway Department since 2016, when the club made a bid to take over Tuckahoe Road from the town, turning the entire stretch that bisects the historic golf course into a private road, in exchange for the right to build a new road to the east of the club property, and other considerations. It met with stiff opposition from the community.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman had met with Brett Pickett, the club’s president, and Michael Bloomberg, who is a member of the club and also owns a house in the neighborhood, to negotiate the deal. The proposal, which Mr. Gregor didn’t support, never came to fruition.

The letter from Mr. Pasca also declined to supply Mr. Gregor’s department with documentation to prove the club owns the road, saying it would deal with the town attorney’s office to discuss matters of public record.

Town Attorney James Burke said in an email Monday that he has asked Mr. Pasca to send “all of the information they are relying on regarding the abandonment” to aid in the investigation.

“We simply asked politely,” Mr. Gregor said in response to the accusation. “We did our due diligence, [and] we don’t see anything that says that the [club] owns the right-of-way. And we asked for them to do the same.

“I found the letter I got back to be a little offensive and threatening,” he continued. “It’s probably just attorney bluster, but they declined in their letter to give us documentation … But I guess when you ask questions that are difficult to the über-rich, this is the kind of response you get.”

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By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 25, 18 2:52 PM
Who’s bringing the popcorn?
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Sep 25, 18 3:23 PM
There are enough potholes to patch elsewhere.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Sep 25, 18 3:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Map looks clear to me. Gregor is a low panderer.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Sep 25, 18 3:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
Will be safer to use the road to get to the light on tuckahoe for a left hand turn. Thank you Alex...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 25, 18 4:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
just find an old body near it and the town will have to buy it
By BrianWilliams (87), on Sep 25, 18 7:24 PM
Nice looking stretch of public road according to all the old old old maps..
Oh, and please Ask for 7M back rent for this summer
By dave h (193), calverton on Sep 25, 18 8:48 PM
Jay will take care of it. He's looking out for us. No worries right Jay? Jay what are you doing with that shrimp cocktail in your mouth at the club get over here!
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Sep 25, 18 9:24 PM
Jay Schneiderman looks out for JAY only. He's a political animal only interested in moving up the political ladder. He has found ways to raise revenues through creating excessive fines and delayed resets of alarm periods, even though the rest of the committee wanted more information. Even the Southampton Fire Departments were against Jay ... but Jay got money from our pockets. The sooner we are rid of him from the entire political arena, the better off we are.
By jediscuba (71), Suthampton on Sep 27, 18 4:32 PM
Annnnd, cue the pin striped suit lawyers...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 25, 18 10:25 PM
Give Perry Gershon a call. He's usually surrounded by quite a few at the country club.
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Sep 26, 18 9:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
Make it part of the future network of safe bike paths in the Hamptons
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Sep 25, 18 11:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Bully for you Alex! Thanks for caring for the safety of the common people and not gushing over the elite.
Related to the stature of Shinnecock is the insignificant amount of school taxes paid. Since attempts by the school district to get financial data have been blocked we can only guess how many millions Shinnecock took in during the US Open. Did one cent more go to the kids in Tuckahoe Schools? How selfish not to support our schools when you get a windfall. Couldn't they at least put a change ...more
By TheTurtle (143), Southampton on Sep 26, 18 3:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Gushing over the elite:

Town in 1930: We're building a road, and using a piece of your land would make it much easier for us, want to make a deal?

Club owners: What are you offering in exchange?

Town in 1930: How about this piece of road cutting across your property?

Club owners: OK

The Turtle in 2018: OK deals off, give us your land, oh, and we're keeping the land we took from you in 1930 as well.

Is that about right?
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Sep 26, 18 9:12 AM
Sounds right. A deal is a deal.

By jowamba (7), Southampton on Oct 4, 18 11:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
The members would prefer the locals die off on the road.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Sep 26, 18 12:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Money talks in politics. Jay duck your head in the sand again. Same goes to the rest of the board.
Keep pressing Alex....
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Sep 26, 18 5:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you Alex
By clamdigger (85), Quogue on Sep 26, 18 9:30 PM
Southampton. The only town in America where the leaders try to welch on an 80 year old deal by seizing private property from another resident, and there are actually some who say “well done”. Then they complain about those leaders later. We get the politician we deserve. We deserve Alex Gregor.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Sep 27, 18 4:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
This golf course does not pay its fair share of taxes
By kuali (32), southampton on Sep 27, 18 11:30 AM
I hear you my friend...my kids went to Tuckahoe. But I’ve studied it, and your beef is in Albany, not with these people. The state tells these golf courses how much tax to pay, just like me and you. In any event, not an excuse for this highway guy trying confiscate private property. That’s just playing ugly games to win cheap votes. Sorry
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Sep 27, 18 4:26 PM
This road is the property of the town of Southampton. It was never given, sold or gifted in any way to the private golf club. The fence should be ripped from the ground and the club fined for misappropriation of public land.
By jediscuba (71), Suthampton on Sep 27, 18 4:27 PM
Well then Mr Gregor will be glad for your vote. I hope this never happens with your property, and your fence.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Sep 27, 18 4:37 PM
I hope Mr Gregor takes back what belongs to the people of Southampton!! I see he is the ONLY one fighting for the people!!! The other politicians are all BS!!!!! from BOTH parties!!
By deb (2), Southampton on Sep 29, 18 1:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank You Alex Gregor. I am so very happy I VOTED for you. Keep on fighting for the rights of Southampton Town residents..
By SpeedRacer (160), Southampton on Oct 1, 18 7:59 PM
Yes! Nice job Alex. SHTB look out for the big money. They crap all over onto East Quouge, Riverside/Flanders and Hampton Bays. The repave job on Dune Road was to please the big money down the road.
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on Oct 2, 18 9:42 PM
Thanks Alex, maybe my grandchildren can enjoy the great sleigh riding off this road like I did Oh no, here come the lawyers already
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on Oct 3, 18 5:33 PM
Save your money on that sleigh. Gregor is already taking you all on a ride. Probably laughing at you right now that you are buying his baloney escapade. Calling him working class hero, instead of what he is: the playground bully with bad grades and a detention problem, who picks fights and tries to steal stuff from rich kids because a few think that makes him worthy. Prediction: in this case, he is trying to steal too much and the rich kids will smack him right back in the nose. And this blog ...more
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Oct 4, 18 7:04 AM
The tax map seems clear.
By jeank (1), southampton on Oct 4, 18 8:39 AM
1 member liked this comment