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Sep 15, 2010 11:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

No smooth sailing for Mecox Bay sailing group

Sep 15, 2010 11:29 AM

There was less than smooth sailing for one Bridgehampton resident’s plans to revive the Mecox Yacht Club at town-owned property at the end of Bay Lane in Water Mill, as several neighboring residents lined up to criticize the proposal at a Southampton Town Board meeting Tuesday.

Jeff Mansfield of the Mecox Sailing Association, which is slated to manage the property as a nonprofit, came before the board in hopes of entering into a license agreement to resurrect the club—an organization that once taught children how to sail small sailboats two decades ago, he said. The club would include a sailing school and sailboat racing and would serve as a boating organization for people of all ages.

Part of the proposal for the property would include clearing about 6,000 square feet of vegetation to make room for 16 Sunfish sailboats. It would also include renovating a storage structure that is already at the site, and adding one portable restroom.

Mr. Mansfield kicked off his comments at a hearing on the request by acknowledging that there were those in the audience who opposed his plan. He thanked them for being there to listen to the proposal. He argued that the sailing school would benefit the children of the community.

“I believe that we are all here for what we believe is the best for the community at large,” Mr. Mansfield said.

Mr. Mansfield told the board that the Mecox Yacht Club has a special significance, serving as a longtime staple of the boating and sailing community in Water Mill and Bridgehampton. To bolster his argument, he mentioned that 250 residents had signed a petition in support of the yacht club. The proposal also comes with the approval of both the Bridgehampton 
and Water Mill citizen advisory committees, as well as the Bridgehampton Historical Society.

Residents and attorneys lined up to voice their concerns about the proposal, which mostly focused on issues of traffic safety and congestion.

One group, Mecox Bay Associates, is an organization of about 18 residents. It was represented by Bran D. Weber, a Melville attorney, who argued that allowing Mr. Mansfield to run the operation there would be a “potential destruction of a public resource.”

Other representatives of the group said the plans pose serious traffic issues, noting that Bay Lane in Water Mill, where the club would be situated, is too narrow and densely populated to accommodate additional traffic. They also expressed concerns about the clearing of vegetation.

Tom Neely, the executive director of the town’s Transportation Commission, said traffic concerns could be mitigated by additional parking spaces and possibly instituting beach permit-like regulations in the area.

Most residents who spoke denounced the proposal and asked why they were not consulted about the project.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst countered that the details of the proposal were made public for “quite some time.”

The board adjourned the hearing until October 12, at 1 p.m., when Ms. Throne-Holst said it’s likely the Town Board will make a decision on whether it will enter into a license agreement with the group.

After the meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst rejected claims that the town was secretive about the plans “The allegations that we’ve been somehow secretive of this or unresponsive is incorrect,” she said.

Ms. Throne-Holst also said she had heard that the resident group opposed to the plans may submit a counter proposal for the same project to be moved to W. Scott Cameron Beach on Dune Road in Bridgehampton, although she said “no proposal was ever submitted.”

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No, Now that the "residents" are there, they want to pull up the ladder. They should embrace a sailing program for crissake. Use the water for something good besides an overflow for their cesspools!

By clamdigger (85), Quogue on Sep 16, 10 4:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Stories like this leave me shaking my head and longing for the old days before all sense of community was sucked from the rich summer folk who built there huge houses in places they refer to as "Bridge" and "South" and East."
That a group of city folk would hire a Melville attorney who then argues with a straight face that sailing club with 16 sunfish sail boats could somehow "destroy" a public resource is so absurd it defies comprehension.
This attitude is so enraging to me--and I'm sure ...more
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Sep 16, 10 4:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
i have to comment on your post. lets get all the facts out here. The proposal call for clearing 6000 feet of wetlands and creating a parking lot..stripes and all. I wonder what you would think if you were one of the 70 families on bay lane that just wanted quiet enjoyment of there homes. I don't think the issue is when you arrived in southampton. The block is made up of 70 families . Some arrived 35 years ago and some as recently as 2010. We are not all the same but we are part of the community. ...more
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 16, 10 9:40 PM
James I'm not sure what site plan your looking at, but the plan submitted by the Yacht club doesn not call for creating or paving to accomodate any additional parking. Cars would simply park on the roadside or at the end of the road as they've done for years. And the 6,000 sqft that will be cleared is the same footprint that existed there before it all got overgrown a few years ago. It's not "new" clearing. You and the other uniformered NIMBYs living on that street should lighten up. Who knows, ...more
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Sep 17, 10 1:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks for the reply. The plan specifically calls for clearing 6000 feet of wetlands and has no mention of where they would replace the wetlands. Today I have access to the bay as I have had for years and years. I Sail and Kayak today!!!
The plan calls for striping the street and turning Bay lane at the end in to a parking lot.In addition it calls for Porta-potties to be placed at the site. how would you like porta-poties on your street. Sounds like a really bad idea. As far as the NIMBYs comment ...more
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 17, 10 5:48 PM
i believe it says 6,000 feet of "vegetation" , not wetlands
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 19, 10 5:58 PM
Exactly. I grew learning how to sail from Harry Ludlow at the old Mecox Bay Yacht Club (the chalk board he drew wind diagrams on is still in the old shack!) No longer live on the East End, but agree with you it's a sad day when local children are being denied the same wonderful experience I had decades ago.
By HarborBoy (7), Phoenix on Sep 16, 10 7:32 PM
While being a sailor and fully support groups bringing back "community" boating, why exactly do they need 6000sqft for 16 Sunfish? Why don't they build above ground racks? It'll take up much less room and the weed huggers can go away!
By omghi (20), EH on Sep 16, 10 8:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
And the citidiots shouldn't have any say in community projects.
By omghi (20), EH on Sep 16, 10 8:43 PM
To our community
Possibly its time for a sanity check here. I don't think that anyone would disagree with a sailing club for children,That is not at all the point. I live in watermill. i have seen lots of change in the time that i have lived here. Some has been good and some that i shake my head at. This one boggles me. Why would the town want to clear 6000 yes 6000 feet of wetlands for the benefit of 30 very special families that will have "exclusive" memberships to this club.On top of this ...more
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 16, 10 9:28 PM
Please let us know, Mr. White, whether you are ignorant of the true facts or are intentionally misleading the casual reader.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 17, 10 2:20 PM
again, 6,000 feet of "vegetation", not "wetlands"
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 19, 10 6:00 PM
Second home NIMBYs screwing over locals ... so what else is new?
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 16, 10 10:49 PM
The only destruction of a public resourse is the exclusion of the general public who have a right to access our town waters and if developed town property. My Uncle was part of the Mecox Yacht Club as was a famous painter from our area by the name of Cappy Amundsen. Its ok for these residents to congest the area with 20-40 construction vehicles at a house that they live or visit part time but god forbid we try to give our children constructive outlets to keep them out of trouble. These same residents ...more
By OldSalt (10), Sag Harbor on Sep 17, 10 8:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
"6,000 sq.feet" is only a patch that is 100 x 60, which is a tiny strip of land. Why didn't the article call it "about half the size of a buildable lot," or "about an 1/8 of an acre?" or about 650 square yards?
By Old School (22), Southampton on Sep 17, 10 10:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
As a summer resident in the neighborhood with 4 children, I would like nothing more than to have the serenity and convenience of what many had for their children years ago by bringing the "Yacht Club" (as it is known within the neighborhood) back to life. As I have been told, the "club" consisted of a tiny shack (the boathouse), a few sailboats strewn on the shore, and a wonderful neighbor who came every day and gave sailing lessons to whomever showed up. If this was the intent of Mr. Mansfield, ...more
By dogoodfeelgood (1), Watermill on Sep 17, 10 10:35 AM
O.K. this is my last comment, since none of you seem to have actually LOOKED at the site plan.
1) Your memory of the club as it existed before is exactly what is envisioned now.
2) It's 6,000 sqft, not 6,000 acres. And included in that area is the club shack, the side of the road and the same area alongside the shack (that is overgrown now) where the boat racks used to be and will be located again under the new plan.
3) There is no parking lot planned for the area.
4) It's not an ...more
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Sep 17, 10 1:42 PM
Lets set the record straight. The plan calls for a parking lot with stripes at the end of bay lane.This is what the town engineer testified to. It also calls for Sunday regattas which would mean visiting clubs and the transportation and carriers for the boats to boot. Bay Lane can't handle the traffic.As far as exclusive the "RFP Response" call for 30 members.As far as show up with your boat...you can do that today and never be turned away....."They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" Joni ...more
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 17, 10 6:00 PM
Bay lane already handles plenty of traffic. I guess you aren't around to see it though. You should come out and check out the ice boating that takes place on your street in the winter. Plenty of boats, cars and parking.

I live on Mecox Bay full year and I think your PR firm is disgusting. Stop stuffing our mailboxes with illegal flyers!!
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 5:34 AM
Dogoodfeelgood: You made me laugh with the 6000 acres !

Like Emily Litella on SNL, (RIP):

"OH...You mean 60 x 100 feet, not 6000 acres and that includes the shack ? NEVERMIND !" HaHaHa !
By Sag (54), Sag harbor on Sep 17, 10 1:57 PM
Thanks for the visual. Its not like they would be slashing down a major section of the marsh there. As long as the club is open to all, that lessons offered are just not for club members, that a fair rent is paid to the town, and that the road to the bay is open to all.... Why not. Of course future use and expansion should be up to town review.
If I'm not mistaken this is the same road that the apple picking farm is on? Would the sailing club be more disturbing than that place when all the ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 18, 10 11:13 AM
I hate to keep commenting here but your facts are NOT accurate

1 This is not horsemill where there is apple picking. That might be a better site. This is on Bay lane which is ONLY residential.
2. The town is basically giving this to the yacht club for free.
3.Who decides what lucky family's get to enjoy sailing lessons. Today anyone can sail, kayak etc.

By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 18, 10 5:18 PM
Thanks for clarifying for me. Why not give it a try for a summer or two and if it doesn't workout then close it again. If its town property, the town should receive some revenue, I feel, since it seems as semi private use of the property. Good luck all.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 19, 10 10:52 AM

are you a PR firm employee?
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 5:50 AM
MBYC- is an emotional issue. Heart rending really.

People love and remember the Mecox Bay Yacht Club because it was a great moment for the community and is remembered with fondness and a bit of romance. What was beautiful about it was that it seemed to have developed according to Harry Ludlow and others spontaneously. There wasn't a town meeting or an RFP in those days it was simply built because where there is a will there is a way. Even the name "the mecox bay yacht club" was ironic ...more
By bay lane resident (4), water mill on Sep 19, 10 9:14 AM
"Why should a community that exists now be displaced by one that existed before - decades ago?"

Nobody is asking for anyone to be "displaced" - it's called sharing the resources. Is sharing such an abhorrent concept to you? What's next, a locked gate across the entrance to Bay Lane? I think you'd probably get behind a campaign for that. Keep the local riff-raff at least a half mile away.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 19, 10 8:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
listen to all the mansion owners bitching about the wetlands- exactly how much vegetation/wetlands/etc are destroyed for each of the houses still being built around the bay?

how about letting up on the amount of fertilyzer you dunp in the bay to keep your "preferred vegetation" green?

if this is town property then it should be available to all town residents to use- and i don't care who lives on the block and doesn't like it. too bad. its enough to make you want to gag
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 19, 10 6:07 PM
2 members liked this comment
Its funny you mentioned wetlands. One of the latest mini hotels built on that road was built on top of wetlands. Dump truck after Dump truck rumbled down the street for weeks bringing in untold amounts of fill to 'correct' the former wetlands. It would appear the lot was about 1.5 acres, or an astonishing 65,000 square feet!

I did not hear anyone complaining about that monstrosity. I received no flyers in my mailbox to show up and oppose that.

The hyposcrisy runs deep on bay ...more
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 7:51 AM
locals do use the area - that's the point - it's already being used that way. the ill thought out mbyc proposal doesn't add up. and it's odd that a town that is so rigorous about regulation seems to be looking the other way. the two totems of East End development are untenable at this site - parking and cesspool. “Here’s Johnny” port-a-johns on the wetlands?! Where the water rises 2 or 3 feet from one rain shower and floods basements in the houses on the bay? Room for enough cars that could bring, ...more
By bay lane resident (4), water mill on Sep 19, 10 10:26 PM
#1 - How are yellow stripes going to prevent the bus from turning around? Stop with the strawmen.

#2 - I use the Bay all time time and I almost never see anyone using that entry for windsurfing, kayaking or kiting. And no one sunbathes down there. People walk there dogs down there to pee on the beach and thats about it. The fishermen will have plenty of parking since they usually show up at 4:30 am to work.

And if that road can't handle traffic, why are there 30 landscaping ...more
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 5:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am amazed that the town has not taken up on the suggestion of moving the idea to Scott Cameron Beach as presented at the town hall meeting. The facilities there would be perfect as there are showers, bathrooms and an 85 car lot. Why do it on Bay lane where they would have to clear 6000 feet of wetlands and disrupt a neighborhood, who by the comments, is concerned over the traffic and other issues it would cause.Is there something "going on" besides a quaint little sailing club?
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 20, 10 7:42 PM
Yeah, let the little SOB's sail by the cut. When they get washed out to sea White, bay lane res, et al will be vindicated.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 21, 10 1:07 PM
I have fond memories of Mecox Yacht Club. Future generations should be able to have this experience also. From what I recall no parking lots, facilities, showers, ect were available-only 2 things were necessary- your sunfish and the wind. I was encouraged to see that the Yacht Club was cleaned up after years of neglect-many thanks to those people who care.
It's really too bad there is an element of divisiveness in the equation of restoring a little history and equal access to the bay. The ...more
By semi local (19), southampton on Sep 21, 10 4:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
hey james white- you keep repeating "6000 feet of wetlands" instead of "vegetation" either you are ignorant and don't know the difference, or you are playing on peoples sensitivity regarding the preservation of wetlands.

i think its the latter- we are not stupid- we can read. vegetation does NOT mean wetlands. if in fact you are opposed to destroying vegetation, then don't cut your grass or pull weeds from your garden.
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 23, 10 5:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
The area effected is Tidal wetlands according to testimony from the town.Lets get the facts straight...
By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 25, 10 7:32 AM
Just read this in the East Hampton Star...>>>>>>>> " Marty Shea, the chief environmental analyst for the town, said the project would require a state tidal wetlands permit and POSSIBLE MITIGATION to see if clearing could be reduced or if management of the clearing was appropriate. He also expressed CONCERNS ABOUT SAFETY AND ACCESS for parking and pedestrians.>>Why Isn't the town listening to there own analyst about the REAL ISSUES. Mr. Mansfield must have great connections.

By james.white (8), watermill on Sep 25, 10 7:47 AM
It's ironic that "Mecox Bay Associates" a group of 18 residents got all lawyered up for this meeting citing "possible destruction of public resources." Since when is public recreation- a sailing club- a destruction of public resources?
If you read the permitting process @ http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6359.html
it can easily be seen what types of activities are permitted within tidal wetlands.
Coming up with bogus complaints, especially the comment about the applicant's purported "connections" ...more
By semi local (19), southampton on Sep 26, 10 10:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
I do believe i shall invite the members of ny cycle club to take a road trip to Bay Lane . how would 38 Harleys going up and down the block sound to you Jimmy Boy?? sorry- public street- nothing you can do. i guess a few kids learning to sail wouldn't be so bad after all
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Oct 2, 10 8:39 PM