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May 13, 2016 12:51 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Denied Temporary Restraining Order Against Sand Land

The Sand Land mine in Noyac. Press File
May 17, 2016 2:36 PM

A Suffolk County judge this week denied a temporary restraining order sought by Southampton Town officials to immediately stop the processing and selling of mulch and other materials at the Sand Land mine in Noyac.

According to Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, however, Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Denise Molia set a hearing for June 3 to hear from both the town and Sand Land’s operators.

“The judge did not want to impose the immediate TRO,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I think they have stopped taking in material, but they need time to process the material that they have already taken in.”

In March, the State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the 50-acre sand-mining operation can no longer be used to process “trees, brush, stumps, leaves and other clearing debris into topsoil or mulch.” The business is also prohibited from storing, selling or delivering mulch, topsoil and wood chips.

Nevertheless, the mine has continued to process such materials, as well as sell them to the public, in an apparent effort to clear the site of materials that were collected prior to the decision.

“They are clearly in violation of the town code,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “In terms of a question of injunctive relief, it seems like the judge was sympathetic to giving them time to remove the materials from their site.”

He added, “The Sand Land folks are looking for more time to phase out their operation, and the town wants a cessation of all the activities that were deemed to be prohibited.”

During the June 3 hearing, Justice Molia also will address Sand Land’s request for an extra six months to remove mulch and other materials from the mine.

Town Attorney James Burke said recently that Sand Land and the town were brainstorming ideas about how to resolve the problem. He noted that the town hoped to reach “some type of agreement” with Sand Land’s operators about both accepting materials and processing materials already at the site. “One of the positives of what has been happening so far is that they have not been bringing more landscaping debris on the site to be processed,” Mr. Burke had said.

When reached on Monday, John Tintle, the owner of Wainscott Sand & Gravel, said he has voluntarily stopped accepting landscaping debris, such as branches, although the court decision does allow him to take that material in. He did not comment further on the matter, however.

The Noyac Civic Council is encouraging the town to appeal Justice Molia’s ruling, as well as to send code enforcement officers to the site to “enforce the law,” according to an email from the council’s president, Elena Loreto. “Sand Land is ignoring the law,” she said.

Mr. Schneiderman said on Monday that the town has not yet decided whether it will appeal this week’s court decision.

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