Government: Rose Hill Controversy, Historic Life-Saving Station, Rogers Elected Dem Chair

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The Amaganset Life-Saving Station has been listed as a historic structure on the the National Register of Historic Places. Michael Heller photo

Town Looks to State on Rose Hill Road Controversy

The Southampton Town Board and Southampton Town Trustees have formally requested a determination from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and State Park Commissioner Rose Harvey whether or not a Rose Hill Road, Water Mill property is considered parkland.

The property, transferred to the town trustees by the town board last year, has been the subject of public outcry, after work began on the property in accordance with a maintenance agreement struck between town trustees and an adjacent property owner.

In the agreement, the trustees allowed exclusive use of a portion of the property by the neighbor in exchange for the maintenance of a boat launch ramp and parking area on the remaining trustee property. Some members of the public questioned whether that was legally permissible. According to a press release issued by the town last week, if the state determines the property constitutes parkland, the agreement between the town board and town trustees — as well as the agreement between trustees and the neighboring property owner — could be voided.

The 475 Rose Hill Road property has been traditionally used by residents as an access point to Hayground Cove and Mecox Bay. Uses include boating, shellfish harvesting, fishing, and ice boating. A boat ramp is located on the premises, and has been maintained by the Trustees since the 1970s.

Local residents and community leaders argue that appropriation of any portion of the property for any use other than that of public access and enjoyment constitutes alienation of parkland, and therefore requires state legislation. As the letter states, “…community input about the history and use of the property has led us to petition your opinion whether any of these transactions may have violated the parkland alienation doctrine.”

Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving Station Listed on State Register of Historic Places

The Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station in the Town of East Hampton has been listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced Tuesday. It has also been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. State and National Register listings can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

The station, which served in its formal capacity as a life-saving and Coast Guard station from 1902 to 1944, is on Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett. Now a museum, it was restored to its original appearance and relocated to the same spot on which it was built in 1902.

The Amagansett station was constructed on Atlantic Avenue and was one of a network of 30 life-saving stations on the South Shore of Long Island. The crews kept watch from the lookout tower and by patrolling the beach. Discovering a ship in distress, the life-savers would perform a rescue by launching their surfboat or by firing a line to the ship and taking people off with a breeches buoy.

From 1902 to 1937, the crew of the Amagansett Life-Saving Station, most of whom were experienced local fishermen and shore whalers, kept watch over this beach and rescued sailors and passengers from several shipwrecks. The station is also associated with an incident in World War II when Coast Guardsmen discovered four boxes of explosives buried in the sand by Nazi agents who had landed on the beach from a U-boat. The agents were later apprehended and tried. This incident led to the establishment of the Coast Guard Beach Patrol, which grew to consist of 24,000 men and played an important role in coastal defense during the war.

 Rogers Elected Chair of Democratic Committee

Cate Rogers was elected chair of the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee this week to replace retired Chairperson Jeanne Frankl. Ms. Rogers was elected by a majority of 29 members of the committee, according to a press release issued Tuesday, besting challenger Rona Klopman. The split was in Ms. Rogers’ favor 60 percent to 40 percent, according to the committee.

Ms. Rogers is a longtime East Hampton Town resident who recently retired as the vice chairperson of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. She currently serves on the town Energy Sustainability Committee.

“I am excited that Cate Rogers has been elected by a strong majority of the Democratic Committee to lead and take us into the future,” said Ms. Frankl. “Cate has the experience and vision to inspire us and the temperament to bring us together in working for sound, progressive, forward looking Democratic governance both locally and nationally”.

Ms. Rogers thanked Jeanne Frankl for her long service and stated that “we will work hard collaboratively and fulfill our mission as Democrats dedicated to our community and our country.”

Zeldin Secures $1.9 Million for Lake Montauk Harbor Dredging

Congressman Lee Zeldin announced this week he had secured $1.9 million for the dredging of Lake Montauk in the 2018 Army Corps of Engineers work plan.

“Lake Montauk is a critical waterway for our local fishing and recreational boating industries and the Long Islanders whose livelihoods rely on our coastal economy,” said Mr. Zeldin in a press release. “Ensuring the proper maintenance of this important harbor is critical to supporting our community’s vibrant maritime economy and preserving the rich heritage on which it was built.”

“The fishing industry is a vital part of the fabric of the East End,” said New York State Senator Ken LaValle. “Montauk is one of New York’s largest commercial fishing ports and we must work hard to ensure that it remains viable. I am pleased that Congressman Zeldin was successful in obtaining $2 million for the dredging of the Harbor. It will go a long way to keep a sustainable and productive commercial fishing industry on Long Island.”

“As the largest fishing port in New York State, Montauk serves a key economic role in the seafood and tourism industries,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. “The safety of all vessels using Lake Montauk and the docks inside the harbor depends on regular dredging, and we look forward to this project.”

Sale of County Buses Supports Sag Harbor Non-Profit

A resolution co-sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming on June 19 and approved by the legislature allows the Suffolk County Public Works Department to sell four surplus paratransit buses to organizations that benefit East End residents, including the LGBT Network, which operates the East End LGBT Center out of the Old Whalers’ Church in Sag Harbor. The Shinnecock Senior Citizen Nutrition Program will also receive a bus.

“The approval of these resolutions is a victory for both the programs and the county,” said Ms. Fleming. “These buses are no longer useful to the Department of Public Works and can now be repurposed and continue to benefit the residents of the South Fork. This also allows the county to get a fair market value for the surplus vehicles while simultaneously strengthening two of our important local community organizations. This is just another example of good government in action.”

“We are so thankful and grateful for Legislator Fleming’s leadership and advocacy to secure the sale of four paratransit buses. We will now for the first time ever have full accessible transportation year-round, so that all East End LGBT and ally youth and families can access services and programs at the LGBT Network’s Hampton’s Center in Sag Harbor. The sale of these surplus buses is more, though, than just having transportation; its impact is enormous and will save lives,”said David Kilmnick, president and chief executive of the LGBT Network, in a statement.

At the same meeting, the legislature also passed a bill sponsored by Ms. Fleming to support state legislation introduced by state Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele to discontinue county use of the Shinnecock commercial fishing dock and transfer it to the Town of Southampton, fixing a technical error in a previously approved bill. The state legislation passed both houses of the New York State Legislature earlier this week.

The legislature also approved a measure that will allow for improvements to County Road 41, also known as Springs-Fireplace Road, in East Hampton, including continuous sidewalks on the south side of the roadway, new drainage and leaching pools, and a resurfaced roadway.

“The county’s plan for improvements to Springs-Fireplace Road, also known as County Road 41, including drainage improvements to alleviate potential flooding, will help to improve safety along a key access road to the heavily populated hamlet of Springs. We appreciate Legislator Fleming’s efforts on behalf of our town residents,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.

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