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Dec 11, 2013 7:03 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oceanfront Boardwalk Part Of Town Plans For Neptune Property In Hampton Bays

Dec 11, 2013 12:05 PM

For decades the Neptune Beach Club and Summers Beach Club on Dune Road in Hampton Bays were connected by sound waves as DJs at the notorious neighboring party spots competed for loudest musical beats.

Now, the two might again be connected, more directly, by a rambling wooden pathway through the dune grass, leading visitors from the Tiana Beach pavilion to the east, past the former Summers, now a town-owned catering site, to the area’s soon-to-be newest historical attraction: a museum honoring African-American Coast Guardsmen stationed decades ago in the building that eventually became the Neptune Beach Club.

On Tuesday night, the Southampton Town Board approved the purchase of the Neptune building, for $3.2 million, and board members discussed plans to erect a wooden boardwalk stretching some 800 feet from the property to the Tiana Beach pavilion.

The plans, board members said, also call for a museum and educational center to be created in the Neptune building, which was originally a Coast Guard station manned by an all-black garrison in the years before World War II when the armed services were still segregated.

“They are not making any more oceanfront property, but what’s really important with regard to this property ... is it is one of the earliest known African-American Coast Guard stations in the nation,” Councilman Jim Malone said. The plan is a “pathway that I think is going to offer a sensational cultural benefit to the town on the beaches in Hampton Bays. It’s such an important property and the cultural component goes beyond measure.”

The board agreed on Tuesday night to amend the town’s 2014 capital budget to include as much as $1.2 million in additional Community Preservation Fund money to pay for renovations to the Neptune building, restoring some architectural elements that had been part of the original Coast Guard station, and constructing the boardwalk stretching eastward.

Mr. Malone, who offered the resolution, said that preliminary estimates found the renovations to the building would cost about $500,000 and the construction of the boardwalk would coast about the same. Additionally, water mains to the building would cost an additional $100,000. He suggested allowing another $100,000 for unforeseen “contingencies that always come up.”

The board had apparently discussed the plans for the property in a closed-door executive session following a public meeting last week. Mockups of the plans, showing the boardwalk running through the dunes, were not displayed publicly at Tuesday night’s meeting, which was attended by dozens of Hampton Bays residents who were there to address the proposed Canoe Place Inn Maritime Planned Development District. The proposal to amend the capital budget for the work to the Neptune building and boardwalk was offered as an unannounced walk-on resolution by Mr. Malone and was the last piece of business the board discussed on Tuesday night, after most of the crowd at the meeting earlier had departed.

The plans for the museum and boardwalk came out of discussions between the board, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and CPF managers.

Parks Commissioner Chris Bean said the boardwalk is something town officials and users of the Tiana Beach area have long wanted.

“We have the bayside facility and the oceanside facility at Tiana and the Tiana Activity Center, which is the old Summers, and with the addition now of Neptune, we wanted to tie it all together,” Mr. Bean said. “Tying the whole facility together and the museum and the center for educational things and a little snack bar on the deck there would add to the ambiance of the whole area.”

The preliminary plans, according to Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, would be vetted further by the board and then put out to bid as soon as possible. She said she did not know if the facilities could be readied in time for the 2014 summer season.

Mr. Bean acknowledged that the town would have to get permits for the boardwalk from the State Department of Environmental Conservation and possibly the Southampton Town Trustees and that such a structure has never been built on the oceanfront of the East End. But, he said, he was hopeful that it would win support from environmental regulators.

“I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow it—they do it from every house on the ocean,” he said. “It would just be on pilings, so above the dunes, not laying on them. But we have to go through the process, so we’ll see what they say.”

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Everyone loves a boardwalk... but the Tiana pavilion nearly falls into the ocean every year. Do we seriously expect this boardwalk to stay up?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 7:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is the biggest waste of money. Could you imagine if the Rechlers wanted to do what the Town is suggesting? As much as anyone hates to admit it...many businesses will be affected by the lack of young people coming into the hamlet because they have no place to go. (I swear, some posters on this site were young once). So another club bites the dust. Knock it down and move on. Save the taxpayer some money. The herds of people going to the Coast Guard Museum may have to go to a movie instead.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Dec 11, 13 7:39 AM
Kill the boardwalk plans. What kind of message does it send to build on top of one of out most important natural assets? Not to mention that it will be damage prone and costly to maintain.What happens if the dunes build up around the boardwalk? Will we keep knocking them down to keep the sand off the boardwalk?
By shocean (16), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 8:06 AM
What a waste, and let's not hear any whining when taxes go up because of the lack of revenue from the club.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Dec 11, 13 8:21 AM
How about a restaurant, oceaning learning center and park equipment? Really a politically correct African American museum? The politicians have lost their minds not to mention over paid for a piece of property that is prone to erosion.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 11, 13 8:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Under CPF law none of these things are allowed except a musuem really... and even that is questionable. If the Town bought it outright with other funds, they could put whatever they want there but it's CPF funding so they are limited.

That being said, the proposed musuem is a really stupid idea. It's not like any relics exist from that time - what are they going to put in it? It will have the same attendance as the Native American Musuem on the Shinnecock Reservation is my guess. And ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 9:09 AM
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a BOARDWALK??? are you kidding me. doesn't that go against all codes in allowing or even wanting increased hard structures and development closer to the ocean. Haven't we learned recently?? what is wrong with a simple beach path? last i checked that was free.
By tito (56), e hampton on Dec 11, 13 8:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
Fascinating-So the Ponquogue USCG Station-with lighthouse was all African-American when Hampton Bays had one of the largest Klan chapters in the north. I bet there are some stories around that.

East Hamptons Maritime Museum is housed in a similar building moved back to Bluff Rd.
By Lester Ware (15), Sag Harbor on Dec 11, 13 9:17 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Jim H (2), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
I often take a contrarian point of view but this is a really poorly thought out idea. Personally, I don't have a problem with Neptune's though I don't live near it. I do think the younger people need a place to go and it is an overall draw of outside dollars. To build a boardwalk is inane. Who the heck will be on this thing? If I were spending the money I would 1. Use the lot and existing access as another public beach. 2. add to the existing footprint 1-2 restaurants so there is a reason ...more
By Hambone (514), New York on Dec 11, 13 9:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
. Failing that it would make more sense to build the Boardwalk in the other direction and connect it to John Scott's so people could walk to a nice deck lunch.

John Scotts is in WHD - and on the bay side. Perhaps you meant Dockers? (Also on the bay side, but at least it's a lot closer to Tiana)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 10:02 AM
My bad. Brain malfunction.

Thank you for the kindly correction
By Hambone (514), New York on Dec 12, 13 9:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
if any one else tried to construct anything on top of the dunes the Town and State DEC would fight it tooth and nail. Plus, using CPF funds to buy private structures in non-watershed areas was never the intention of the fund. Those funds should come from general obligation bonds. This is a very mis-managed proram, the CPF was intended to preserve open space and help protect the water table, not acquire developed lots for recreation. Got to Wonder who's watching the hen house here - Mary Wilson, ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 10:09 AM
"Plus, using CPF funds to buy private structures in non-watershed areas was never the intention of the fund."

That's not true. There are several criteria for using CPF funds, including buying historic structures (which the town is claiming this is). Additionally, amendments were made to the law allowing for the purchase of developed parcels along the oceanfront or in flood zones.

I completley disagree with having any type of concession/restaurant at this location, because no ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 10:15 AM
Time to check the drinking water at Town Hall?

And please remind the Supervisor and Town Board that they have yet to explain in detail why the SHT PD waited 11 days to release the ID and photo of the (alleged) driver who hit Sister Walsh 17 months ago, and then ran from the scene and out of the country, never to be heard from again.

An uncorrected "miscarriage of justice" like this [to quote the Press's editorial from last summer] makes the current proposal look like a walk on ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 10:14 AM
PBR - must you continually interject your opinions regarding that case in things wholly unrelated? Your penchant for hijacking threads with off topic claims appears in conflict with your dislike for others doing the same.

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 10:17 AM
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Point taken, however the comment about Sister Walsh was meant to illustrate that the SHT Board and Supervisor do have their wild moments and lapses of judgment, as here.

Stretching "on topic" a bit, but only a bit in my opinion.

Question authority . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 1:20 PM
... opportunity exists here top build a world-class beach facility. Does not need to be commercial facility replete with restaurants. Repave the parking lots, construct recreational play areas, build a boardwalk. It would be a great place to bus senior citizens for a few hours and allow them to sit and take in the beach views. Place a monument commemorating the African-American contribution somewhere on the property. The museum would not draw significant numbers and would become a nonentity, much ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Dec 11, 13 10:30 AM
I think its good to want to honor African Americans. By the way, what is the percentage of African Americans employed by the Town of Southampton?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Dec 11, 13 11:11 AM
A terrible decision. Those who decry decry the Neptune Beach Club cannot ever have been there. It was a quintessential meat market where single, young people flocked to get loaded and (try to) get lucky to the incessant, overamplified beat of rock music. In short, it had the fundamental attributes of every club that attracted me when I was young. (I might add that the clientele of Neptune's was better-looking than most since it's hard to conceal one's physical defects when wearing so little. ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Dec 11, 13 12:06 PM
Good idea HHS.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 1:18 PM
What is the rationale here: If we don't have a club for the people from the Rockaways and Jersey, at least we can have a boardwalk just like theirs...???
By Tay (35), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 2:02 PM
The board would be remiss to not include in the museum an exhibit depicting how an earlier board required previous owners to destroy the architectural significance of the building by cutting off the observation tower simply to demonstrate their pigheaded power.

They could also show how it has been the position of every town board for the past forty years to do everything in their power to harass and eliminate any local businesses that have been successful at entertaining people and boosting ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Dec 11, 13 2:08 PM
Great observations VOS, especially the first one about the observation tower being removed by order of an earlier board.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 11, 13 2:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
While some of your point is valid and interesting, let's not forget that the property owner was a WILLING SELLER to the Town. The Town did not force or coerce them into selling. He could have continued to run his business, altered his business, or sold to somoene else who wanted to run a nightclub.

I think it's fair to say the Town gave Neptunes a LOOOOONG leash with respect to the operation of their business. Look no further than the HB Diner for a comparison at how the Town can take ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 11, 13 2:18 PM
I wish I wrote this (Sigh)
By Hambone (514), New York on Dec 12, 13 9:36 PM
leave it as nature intended no Boardwalk
By roddy (1), NYC on Dec 11, 13 2:08 PM
So far there is the Tiana Bayside pavilion - boarded up and not used at all by the town or public, the Tiana oceanside pavilion - has restrooms that are open sometimes, the summers property, never open - only if you want to pay to rent it, and now the neptune club - which will be boarded up until the town actually decides on a plan and the construction phase which will take a minimum of 5 years.

So who can tell me how much money the town has spent on the Tiana oceanside beach in the last ...more
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Dec 11, 13 6:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wouldn't a paved path along dune road or thru parking lots be more feasible?
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Dec 11, 13 6:34 PM
A museum that will most likely be open in the summer months only, unless the town wants to heat it. Now we need town employees to maintain and staff the museum. A museum we have to worry about during storms and over the winter. Added legacy costs into maintaing for future budgets. Look at the old Summers Beach Club. How's that working out for the town. Let's have a museum of old photos of Hot Dog Beach, Summers, Neptunes, Hampton Beach Club, Drift Inn, Canoe Place Inn, Tiderunners. All History!!!
By harbor hound (31), southampton on Dec 11, 13 7:57 PM
You forgot The Barge. Like Hampton Beach Club and Drift Inn, it too mysteriously burned down in the off season.

Hampton Bays has to be the last place any young person would want to come out for the weekend. It has become the land of NO. No fun!
By KashMinbar (6), Tucson on Dec 12, 13 8:06 PM
Though the idea for a museum and boardwalk is pretty cool, it simply just isn't whats wanted or needed right now. And judging by the pictures, the boardwalk is 200 meters long and only wide enough for 2 people to comfortably walk side-by-side? Come on now, that's useless. With all the efforts done to preserve the dunes this boardwalk will probably hurt it more than it will help it.

If they want to make a boardwalk and make something people will flock to, then they should have thought of ...more
By ChristianBerglin (3), Hampton Bays, New York on Dec 11, 13 7:58 PM
NO to the boardwalk, NO to the museum which both are a total waste of taxpayer dollars! That area is prone to wash overs during severe storms. Put the money into fixing the NORTH PONQUOGUE FISHING PEIR that was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Fix and shore up ROAD H at Shinnecock Inlet which was damage and washed out from Hurricane Sandy. You see, these are fine examples of what can happen to the Neptune property! smh :/
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Dec 12, 13 12:09 AM
Its easy to spend and waste money when it is not yours. Its easy to build things when you do not have to abide by the rules that you set up. 'Tis the season for our tax bills to be received. How about show some fiscal responsibility and stop wasting taxpayer dollars on these pet projects.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Dec 12, 13 7:47 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 13 9:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 13 9:13 AM
Wait a minute- Jughead Jim Malone, who will be in office for a whole two more weeks-is spearheading this project?? Is he trying to establish a "legacy" of himself at this late date? How about waiting until the newly elected board members are on board to make a decision of this magnitude and expense.

And you can forget about building anything if the trustees have any say in the matter, our disfuctional board of trustees couldn't agree on whether or not fish swim in the ocean or the sky, ...more
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Dec 12, 13 10:56 AM
3 members liked this comment
Montauk is the new Hampton Bays

I agree with most as this is an extreme waste of money.
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Dec 14, 13 2:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Seems like a complete waste of money. The taxpayers would be far better off if the property were leased long term to a commercial enterprise as a restaurant or beach club. The town could put some reasonable restrictions in the lease and the costs of operation and maintenance could be picked up by the lease holder. The town might even make a few bucks instead of hemoraging more money.
By bird (829), Southampton on Dec 14, 13 3:45 PM
Bird said: "The taxpayers would be far better off if the property were leased long term to a commercial enterprise as a restaurant or beach club."

That's illegal under CPF law. The Town can't (and shouldn't be able to) buy land from a private owner with public preservation funds and turn around and let someone else run a commercial operation from it.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 14, 13 4:31 PM
Well if they have the money to do that, they can then fund the rebuilding of the Tupper Boat House as well. A small marine based museum to educate on the Peconic estuary and our heritage at Conscience Point would be a great public benefit.Perhpas more than a coast guard museum. While I never knew that Neptunes was a coast guard station we certainly are losing our kitchiness through developement. Just look at the Rechlers Town House project which will destroy the kitchiness of the canal all for ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 15, 13 7:57 AM
Well, the Barn is really going to be hopping this summer. Last Club standing?
By G (342), Southampton on Dec 15, 13 9:14 AM
1 member liked this comment