During a discussion last week at their August meeting, the East Hampton Town Trustees decided to once again deny the Devon Yacht Club’s application to create a “deposition basin,” a hole on the beach to fill with sand excavated from its marina inlet. The project had approvals from the zoning board of appeals and the Army Corps of Engineers.
However, according to the trustees, the yacht club’s property ends well above the mean high-water mark. The beach is trustee-owned, and therefore public — a fact that Devon has not acknowledged. The trustees have sent a letter to the Army Corps informing the agency that the application has been denied.
Reached after the meeting, Diane McNally, the trustee clerk, said “there seems to be an assumption among Z.B.A. members that the beaches on Gardiner’s Bay are not trustee-owned. They can’t do that on public property. We don’t want to get into a legal fight with Devon, but that’s a stable shoreline. What they want would be environmentally detrimental. Ownership of the beach aside, the board doesn’t like the concept. It would be a bad precedent.”
Separately, if and when the Suffolk County Department of Public Works sends its dredge to relieve Accabonac Harbor of serious shoaling, the trustees will pull out all the stops to have the dredge dig farther south to free the boat-launching ramp. The nine-member board agreed to come up with the cash to pay for overtime, as much as $10,000, if it would keep the dredge in place long enough to do the job.
In another matter, Mollie Zweig of West End Road was given permission to replace a 13-foot-long staircase from her badly eroded dune to down to the beach. Ms. Zweig, whose house faces Georgica Beach, took a lot of heat last year when she attempted to fence off a portion of beach that was being used by the public after the usual access was badly eroded.
The fencing was later obliterated by wave action. Ms. Zweig agreed to remove a pole left over from don’t-fence-me-out days, and to remove “private property” signs, except for one on her front gate.
Also during the Aug. 21 meeting, trustees discussed the purchase of a third marine sewage pumpout boat, smaller than the two (one in Montauk, one on Three Mile Harbor) in service now. A 19-foot boat was envisioned, powered by a four-stroke 90-horsepower engine. Trustees said they would apply to the Environmental Facilities Corporation, a state body that could provide the major share of the cost, as it did for the other pumpout boats.
With the East Hampton Town Board beginning budget hearings, trustees agreed it might be wise to request an increase in their “outside counsel” budget, primarily due to the cost of hiring Anthony Tohill to defend them against lawsuits lodged by oceanfront property-owners who are claiming sections of public beach. From Jan. 1 through yesterday, Mr. Tohill was paid $52,330.29 in suits filed by Lloyd and Barbara Macklowe, the White Sands Motel, and nine property owners and individuals with property on the ocean side of Napeague.
In other business, trustees approved the application of the Clearwater Beach Property Owners Association to replace 300 feet of bulkheading along its section of the Hog Creek inlet.
The board denied an application for a mass-gathering permit to hold three days of windsurfing lessons on Napeague Harbor from the end of Lazy Point Road.
It was announced that weigh-in ceremonies for this year’s Largest Clam Contest will take place on Sept. 23, the day of the big event. This year there will be separate white and red clam chowder competitions.