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May 7, 2012 5:00 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

At Georgica, Road Work, Dimming Swimming Prospects And A Plea of Not Guilty

May 8, 2012 5:05 PM

The prospects for Georgica Beach opening as a bathing beach this summer are growing slimmer, East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday. Tropical Storm Irene took a huge bite out of the beach, and the shore is still eroded and strewn with exposed rocks. At the moment, Mr. Cantwell said, village officials are anticipating opening Wiborg Beach to swimming for Memorial Day weekend instead.

Meanwhile, reconstruction of the Georgica Beach road end, which buckled during last summer’s storm, was started this week. Keith Grimes contracting is doing the work, which is expected to be completed by early next week.

And on Monday, Mollie Zweig and Robert Sullivan appeared in East Hampton Town Justice Court to answer village summonses related to a fence placed on Georgica Beach in front of Ms. Zweig’s property after the storm caused erosion there. Ms. Zweig and Mr. Sullivan pleaded not guilty to 11 alleged violations apiece on Monday.

They were each charged on three separate dates with violations of East Hampton Village Code that ranged from impeding foot and truck traffic on the beach without the consent of the East Hampton Town Trustees to building a structure within 100 feet of the high water line to disturbing an area within 150 of beach grass.

The fence has since washed away, although a pole close to the eroded sand dune is still in place.

Summonses were issued on September 8, September 30 and on January 4—on the third date, for a pole placed farther inland, the village’s special counsel, Brian Lester, said after Monday’s arraignment. “The fact of the matter is that every week those structures remained on the beach, we could charge” another violation with another potential fine, Mr. Lester said.

Village fines could range from $100 to $1,000 per offense. Meanwhile, on September 9, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent Ms. Zweig a notice of violation for building an unapproved structure in an area next to tidal wetlands. The potential fine for that is $10,000 per day, per violation.

Bill Fonda, a spokesman for the DEC, said that Stephen Angel, one of Ms. Zweig’s attorneys, met with the DEC on January 12. However, the DEC did not receive a follow-up response, “and the case has been referred to our legal department for future enforcement actions,” Mr. Fonda said. Mr. Angel could not be reached for comment early this week.

Ms. Zweig and Mr. Sullivan appeared in court with William Maloney, an attorney from the same firm, Esseks, Hefter and Angel of Riverhead, before East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana on Monday. Their next court date is scheduled for June 18, which Mr. Lester said would be a conference date. If there is no plea agreement, he said, a trial date may be set by the court. He declined to speculate on what route they would take, although he did say, “Certainly they haven’t put the fence back after it got washed away.”

Mr. Maloney could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

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these people still has no respect for the beach and mother nature. more so, they have NO respect for their neighbors and fellow east hampton residents. THey put a metal fence up and it gets washed away by a storm.....go figure. where did all the poles and fence go??? watch yourself when you swim at georgica beach this summer, metal poles can hurt you, but the zweigs didn't think about that. they just thought about themselves.
By tito (56), e hampton on May 7, 12 10:35 PM
Oh, please! Those metal poles were a dangerous hazard for fishermen and people walking or driving on the beach, especially in low visibility. These homeowners had no regard for public access or safety. They should be fined up the wazoo to send a message that actions like this will not be tolerated on public access beaches.
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on May 8, 12 10:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
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