The Southampton Town Trustees will hold a public hearing on May 6 to gauge whether to assign the use of a Water Mill beach area to a specific surf camp this summer.
Trustee Fred Havemeyer introduced a proposal this week calling for the Trustees to put out a request for proposals for a single surf camp operator to be licensed to use the beach at the eastern end of Flying Point Road, where Mecox Bay meets the Atlantic. The beach would remain open to other residents at all times.
Mr. Havemeyer said that he worries the beach at the Mecox cut could be overrun by too many surf camp students if Southampton Village takes steps to force out a large surfing program that used a beach on Meadow Lane last summer, or if Mother Nature has changed the sandbars so the breaking waves elsewhere are not favorable to surfing.
“What I’m looking not to have is that Flying Point turn into a madcap kind of thing,” Mr. Havemeyer said during a meeting of the Trustees on Monday. “[Superintendent of Parks] Chris Bean said he doesn’t want anything to do with surf camps on town property and I just want to make sure that if Southampton Village does something, we don’t all of a sudden have 125 surfers at Flying Point all over the place.”
Mr. Havemeyer said that a small surf camp has been utilizing the beach at Mecox in recent summers, primarily in the early mornings. He said if the Trustees put out an RFP for a single licensee to the use of the beach, they could keep the reins on the number of surfers using the spot and the hours during which the camp operates.
Other members were circumspect about the idea of a lease or license for the use of the spot, saying they fear it could corrupt the Trustees’ underlying mission of keeping beaches open to any and all town residents.
“I do not agree with the idea of leasing out the beach,” Trustee Bill Pell said. “I don’t want to say that only so-and-so’s company can do it because he paid more? Are we going to be leasing out lands for hunting then?”
Trustees Eric Shultz and Ed Warner agreed that the issue is one for a public hearing, to garner input on the prospect of having a single lessee or license holder for the use of the Mecox beach for surf camps.
“We’re treading on a bunch of new ground here,” Mr. Shultz said, agreeing that a hearing should be held before any decision is made. “But we want to get a handle on it because it did get out of control for other people.”