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Sep 8, 2011 2:09 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Court Summons For Georgica Beach Property Owner, Fence Builder

Sep 9, 2011 2:16 PM

The owner of an oceanfront house near Georgica Beach and her contractor have been issued summonses to appear in court for violating an East Hampton Village stop-work order on a disputed fence they were building on the beach.

Mollie Zweig, the homeowner, and Bob Sullivan, the contractor, were ordered to appear in East Hampton Town Justice Court on October 14 by East Hampton Village Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Lawrence on Friday.

Mr. Sullivan has been overseeing construction of the fence in front of Ms. Zweig’s property on Georgica Beach since the day after Hurricane Irene, which gouged away the dune between her house and the public beach.

Village officials contend that the fence violates three sections of the village code regulating structures on the beach. Mr. Lawrence said he hand-delivered a “notice and order to cease all activity within a regulated area” to Mr. Sullivan on Thursday, also sending it by certified mail. “Unfortunately,” he said, “later in the afternoon I observed that the poles were being extended,” that is, made taller, to compensate for a buildup of sand on the beach.

For that reason, Mr. Lawrence issued what he called “an invitation to court.”

The fence requires permits under state tidal wetlands and coastal erosion law, Peter Scully, regional director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said on Thursday.

“We think the installation of a permanent structure would be subject to the DEC’s permitting system,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan started putting in galvanized steel pipes, between which he said he intends to put snow fence, last week. He and Zach Zweig, Mollie Zweig’s son, have said they are trying to protect private property after the storm eroded the dune.

Neighbors and others say that the fence impedes access to the public beach.

Mr. Scully said he believed that a DEC Bureau of Marine Protection biologist had advised Mr. Sullivan to stop work on the fence last Thursday.

The DEC does not concern itself with beach access as a regulatory issue, Mr. Scully said, adding that it was his understanding, however, that people took it very seriously in East Hampton.

The fence project has incited complaints from neighbors, and a Facebook page, “Friends of Georgica Beach,” has been created to monitor the situation.

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OMG a FENCE! in the hamptons. at least not over 2.5 feet high. How will we see whats going on one the other side. Whats next maybe they will plant a non indigenous shrub. or even worse grassssssss!
By Undocumented Democrat (1939), southampton on Sep 8, 11 2:17 PM
Those poles should be removed until the permits are granted-that work was illegal.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 8, 11 2:24 PM
"Neighbors complained"... Every single person who goes to that beautiful beach has complained... and the longer this is allowed to stand the louder the complaints are going to get. What's next? Landscape lighting-spotlights onto the beach? East Hampton Village and the DEC need to get control of this situation!
By Georgicafan (7), East Hampton on Sep 8, 11 3:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
And what happens if these poles are allowed to stand, and one night in the dusk at high tide, a fisherman out for the Fall Blitz happens to not SEE one of these poles and smashes right into them - and damages his truck and possibly injures himself badly? Then what - just who assumes the liability here? I agree with EastEnd that these poles should be removed UNTIL the permits are legally granted (if ever). Right now, this is an illegal situation and a real hazard to fishermen and truckers in that ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Sep 8, 11 3:57 PM
Join Friends of Georgica Beach on Facebook
By Georgicafan (7), East Hampton on Sep 8, 11 4:32 PM
Fencing in a beach, insanity. What did these people expect when they bought the property? That it would remain untouched after a bad storm? Money does not buy intelligence, that's for sure.
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Sep 8, 11 9:04 PM
3 members liked this comment
Doesn't the word private property mean anything to you people? Granted it is not attractive and down right ugly to have on a beach but similar fences are all over on dune rd. What makes East Hampton immune to private property rights? if you don't like the looks of it then we should use town $ to purchase the land and preserve it until then, mind your own business.
Be curious to see what Jerry Della Femina as to say about this fence in his column next week since he lives on that stretch of ...more
By Undocumented Democrat (1939), southampton on Sep 8, 11 10:32 PM
The photo shows that the fence is not built on private property. It's smack in middle of the public right of way given by the Dongan Patent which extends up to the high tide mark. The East Hampton Trustees need to weigh in on the matter, pronto.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Sep 10, 11 12:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Below high tide mark is public property, as goldenrod stated.
By cochise316 (58), southampton on Sep 11, 11 3:29 PM
If you spend millions on a piece of property that you should know Nature can take and give back as she pleases, don't get surprised when it dissapears. The locals knew that from the day we settled here, and we and many others are glad to see that the state is on our side. If they were smart, they would of let it be, because the sand will come back with time, as it always has. If they wanted a real investment, they would of bought a house more inland, or at least been a bit more well read on our ...more
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Sep 8, 11 11:02 PM
6 members liked this comment
Hey undocumented - take a couple minutes to read the Dongan Patent. They supersede "property rights" when it comes to ocean living. Do you know who owns the land below the mean high water mark? The people, that's how.

"Similar fences all over dune rd" do not exist. Check your facts before spouting your undocumented mouth.
Sep 8, 11 11:02 PM appended by Nature
*the people, that's who
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 8, 11 11:02 PM
Oct 14th-the Town of East Hampton is a joke. They should have town workers removing those poles now-they were put up illegally.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 9, 11 3:51 PM
2 members liked this comment
Perhaps a concerned citizen will hitch his truch up to a handfull of poles and do the right thing. This BS can not be allowed to stand!
By bigfresh (4381), north sea on Sep 9, 11 4:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
I was under the impression it was where his dune once stood and the storm washed it away. But after I see the picture it does I understand your outrage and stand corrected. It seems to be way to far into the beach
By Undocumented Democrat (1939), southampton on Sep 9, 11 5:13 PM
That's totally understandable, especially if you haven't seen the fence in person. The pictures alone don't really do the subject justice.
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Sep 10, 11 8:03 PM
October 14??? So, a stop work order actually means "Please stop by sometime next month" That's good to know. And the kicker, an "invitation to court." Please bring a dessert and RSVP by...!
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Sep 9, 11 5:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser