Sagaponack Considers Oceanfront Taxing Districts


A few years ago, the Town of Southampton voted on a resolution to approve the creation of a new oceanfront district that included residences in Sagaponack. During this week’s regular board meeting, the Village of Sagaponack board members said that option of a possible coastal erosion control district is back on the table.

“I have seen a keen interest from a number of individuals [about the creation of this district],” parks and recreation liaison and board member Alfred Kelman said on Monday. Kelman explained that resident Alan Stillman, who owns a 15-acre piece of oceanfront property in Sagaponack, proposed the possibility of the district again recently. 

In October of 2005, the Southampton Town unanimously passed a resolution allowing for the establishment of a Beach Erosion Control District in Sagaponack, known as the Southampton East Beach Erosion Control District. After the approval, residents filed for a permissive referendum to let voters have a say on the creation of such a district, but according to village clerk Rhodi Winchell, that didn’t happen.

The Town of Southampton’s resolution, initiated by then-councilman Dennis Suskind, outlined that the town is aware that certain areas within its borders have suffered severe coastal erosion as a result of the placement of the Shinnecock inlet jetty and the Georgica groins.

The resolution stated, “It has caused erosion to down drift beaches within the town…along the Atlantic coastline.” The resolution also said that both past and recent weather events had caused these conditions to deteriorate and the board “further recognizes that the erosion is such that it has, at times, threatened to severely damage both public and private structures as well as the barrier beaches and protective dunes within the town.”

Now, Kelman said there is an interest in re-visiting the creation of this district, but it will have to go through the Town of Southampton.

“But we have lost the town board member who was a main proponent of it,” he added.

“And whether or not the town is willing to do that, we don’t know,” said mayor Don Louchheim.

“I will speak to the supervisor but it probably has to go through the county,” he added.

At last week’s work session, Louchheim also announced that the developers of a 44-acre oceanfront property, known as Sagaponack Realty LLC, are “bickering” over drainage issues within their subdivision.

Marc Stanley Goldman, one of three owners of the property, has filed a $30 million dollar suit against his partners because his share of the property has drainage issues, making it difficult to build on.

The lawsuit indicates that Michael Hirtenstein and Milton Berlinkski purchased part of Sagaponack Realty LLC from Goldman for $15 million apiece. This is one of the last remaining major parcels within the Village of Sagaponack, the owners of which filed an application for subdivision, but the application has been inactive because the owners were discussing drainage issues.

“Interestingly enough…there was always problems with drainage on this property,” board member Lisa Duryea Thayer said.

The adjacent 19-acre property owned by Brenda Earl also has similar drainage issues, and Louchheim said the board would have to be careful in considering this property.  

During Monday’s planning board meeting, the board decided that the Brenda Earl application is now going to be put on hold, because members want to discuss a common driveway for both the Sagaponack Realty LLC property and the Earl parcel. Winchell said the board is looking to hold a meeting where both applicants can attend to consider the common driveway.

In other news, building permits, which were submitted to the town, prior to the incorporation of the Village of Sagaponack, will expire on April 1. Those that have not been completed will have to be renewed by the town or taken over by the village, according to building inspector John Woudsma.

“The town has been good about notifying those that are outstanding,” Woudsma said.

Woudsma explained that applications would be valid for 1.5 years and after that applicants would have to re-file with the village.


At top, some of the Sagaponack oceanfront. (Google Earth Image).