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Sep 14, 2010 4:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Committee to study beach safety in Amagansett

Sep 14, 2010 4:58 PM

After a woman drowned at an unprotected beach in Amagansett in August, a group of residents has formed the Amagansett Beach Safety Advisory Committee, which will work to review and improve the town’s response to such events, Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione told the Town Board on Tuesday.

Leslie W. Sgaglione of Old Brookville died and many others had to be rescued at Deerfield Beach, between Napeague Lane and Atlantic Avenue, after sudden rip currents made swimming conditions dangerous. In the weeks following the death, community members have requested better protection for East Hampton’s beaches, and especially in Amagansett. The suggestions included adding lifeguards and a flag system to unprotected beaches, and purchasing ATVs to aid in rescues.

The committee will be responsible for “organizing, coordinating and recommending workable beach safety activities to local government, including the East Hampton Town Board and the Town Trustees,” according to Councilman Stanzione, who will be the group’s unofficial liaison to the board.

The committee will be headed by Amagansett resident Vicki Littman, he said. Mary Lownes and Mary Hantz; East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker, Marine Patrol Chief Ed Michels and East Hampton Town Chief Lifeguard John Ryan will round out the committee.

The committee’s first act will be to raise money to buy an ATV to be donated to the nonprofit group the Hampton Life Guard Association. The group has already raised about $5,000, Mr. Stanzione said.

Mr. Stanzione said he was approached by Amagansett residents, who wanted to find “creative solutions” that would be fiscally feasible for the town.

“At a time when the town is nearly broke, we need to support and encourage this kind of direct citizen action,” he said.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled tentatively for the first week in October.

The board’s work session was held at the Montauk Firehouse for the first time, and meetings on the second Tuesday of the month will continue to be held in Montauk in the same location.

Also, on Tuesday, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said a business summit for the public will be held at the end of October. The date and place have not yet been set. “We want all the businesses involved to discuss the major issues that have come up for businesses lately,” he said. Issues such as parking, empty storefronts, lighting, and other issues that businesses wish to address will be discussed.

Town Councilwoman Julia Prince told the board that several citizens of Montauk believe the fee charged to local production companies for photo shoots or filming should be higher than the $250 a day now charged by the town. The issue was discussed at the Montauk Concerned Citizens Advisory Board Monday night, Ms. Prince said. She is the liaison to the CAC.

But Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said the fee charged shouldn’t go up “because these kinds of production shoots bring revenue directly into the hands of businesses. Why should we charge what amounts to a tax to people who are helping generate business in the community?” she asked.

She said she heard that one recent photo shoot brought $100,000 worth of business to Montauk.

A public hearing on lighting laws for businesses will be held Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Under current code, all businesses should have night lights shielded so they project downward. Light cannot go across a business’s property line.

Ms. Prince said the goal was to have every business in compliance with the local code.

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Good luck to this new committee. You may have a rough row to hoe with this Town Board IMO.

Mr. Stanzione and the rest of the Town Board did not really listen to the Airport Noise Abatement and Advisory Committee (ANAAC), after its many years of dedication, so why are we take this effort seriously?

The operative phrase here is IMO "fiscally feasible." The informed read on this is -- if someone else will pay for it, we will consider it. In the case of the airport Master Plan, this ...more
By PBR (4940), Southampton on Sep 15, 10 6:34 PM
You can't protect every sq inch of beachfront, it comes down to the fact that the ocean is not a pool RESPECT ITS STRENGTH!!! Its again a waste of taxpayer money to buy more equipment and salaries. My condolence goes out to the families who lost lives here but keep in mind if you are not a strong swimmer go to a protected beach.
By OldSalt (10), Sag Harbor on Sep 17, 10 8:44 AM
It is not government's responsibility to protect people from their own stupidity. Just think of all the lawyers it would put out of business.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 12:22 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton