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Nov 13, 2013 11:21 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Considering Commercial Options For Neptune Property In Hampton Bays

Nov 13, 2013 12:55 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst told those applauding the town’s planned purchase of the Neptune Beach Club in Hampton Bays on Tuesday that the town is still considering its options for the future use of the oceanfront property, and how it will fund the deal.

While the top priority for the pending $3.2 million acquisition is clearly the end of decades of nuisance and allegations of drug sale and use at and near the oceanfront bar and outdoor dance club, Ms. Throne-Holst said the town is still working with local business groups to find a way to allow some form of public, commercial use at the Dune Road property. She noted that the town ultimately might utilize some form of funding other than the planned tapping of its Community Preservation Fund reserves, which could limit the way the property is used.

“We’ve had conversations amongst ourselves and with the public [and] restaurant owners about pursuing some sort of establishment for the structure that is there,” Ms. Throne-Holst told the audience at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

In a conversation after the meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst compared the possibilities for the purchase of the Neptune property to the town’s acquisition of the Poxabogue driving range and golf course on the East Hampton Town border, as a blend of preservation and business interests. She said if the town could preserve the recreational beachfront of the 2.8-acre property and still allow a business to operate in the building, helping both the local economy and providing the town with a revenue source, the dual nature could fit into the town’s plans.

“The thinking around this comes from the yin and the yang that we want to preserve and protect that property, but also where we worry about economic development,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “A lot of the attraction that brought people to Hampton Bays has gone, because so many of these establishments have been closed.”

In 2004 the town purchased Summer’s Beach Club, the neighboring bar that competed with Neptune for the loudest music and rowdiest crowds. CPF proceeds were spent to finance that purchase, and the property is now a town-operated public bathing beach.

Ms. Throne-Holst emphasized that the town would place strict covenants and restrictions on the Neptune property, in relation to occupancy limits, noise and hours of operation, if it were to attempt to keep the commercial building in operation.

Residents of the area surrounding the notoriously troublesome club applauded the town for its efforts to do away with Neptune, but were apprehensive of Ms. Throne-Holst’s talks with business leaders about a commercial use at the property continuing.

“When I heard you say it could possibly be another facility with the public invited, it concerns me that it could turn into something that would not be welcome there,” said Sally Pope, a former town councilwoman who lives in Resmsenburg. “Please be careful what you’re doing when you’re inviting members of the public to a facility that had the history this place had.”

Others were mostly concerned with eliminating a nightmarish neighbor; many urged the town to demolish the Neptune building in favor of returning more of the property to its natural state.

“We are beyond elated,” said neighbor Sadie Mitnick. “We have seen the massive amounts of inebriated patrons wandering the streets. I know about 10 other homeowners on the street—we all feel the same way. It would be beneficial to turn this into something beautiful we can cherish and not have drunk people falling in our pools.”

Depending on the nature of the deal that the town ultimately pursues, the supervisor acknowledged that it might require a more complicated funding source than just the use of CPF money, which is restricted to the preservation of land for open space, or for recreational or historic preservation. She said a combination of CPF money and general fund surplus proceeds, or even borrowing, could finance the purchase, with revenue from the operation of the building directed toward repayment of any taxpayer supported funding sources.

“We’re looking at it with the town attorney’s office and [CPF Director] Mary Wilson’s office to see if it’s something we can do,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “I think everyone feels a responsibility to hear everyone on this and if there are some interesting possibilities, we should explore them.”

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"In 2004 the town purchased Summer’s Beach Club, the neighboring bar that competed with Neptune for the loudest music and rowdiest crowds."

"Residents of the area surrounding the notoriously troublesome club..."

"Others were mostly concerned with eliminating a nightmarish neighbor..."

It appears that Mr. Wright and the Press have abandoned the concept of objective journalism. If they feel so strongly about this topic, their words of bias belong on the editorial ...more
By VOS (1200), WHB on Nov 14, 13 2:02 AM
Mr Wright and the Press accurately and objectively described this facility.

If anything, the term "troublesome" and "nightmarish" are too sedate in describing this blight on our area for the past 40 years.

If we wanted to live in Ft. Lauderdale or the Jersey Shore, we would have moved there.

Last remaining problem: Boardy Barn
By aging hipster (184), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 7:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
No, AH, you also don't seem to understand the difference between fact and opinion. The terms used are subjective opinions and are not attributed to any speaker - they don't belong in a news story. It's obvious the Press has taken a position on the future of Neptune and is utilizing this article to forward their position and the position of a very few deep-pocketed newcomers whose presence is long preceded by the club. Is there a financial connection between the management of the Press and those ...more
By VOS (1200), WHB on Nov 14, 13 1:47 PM
Yep, why don't we set up a tollgate at Westhampton and not allow anyone under the age of 65 to enter.
By tenn tom (236), remsenburg on Nov 14, 13 8:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Town of Southampton should not be in the business of purchasing commercial properties. They have created the loss of those recreational areas on Dune Road. They currently own, too much old bar locations which all no longer pay taxes to the Hampton Bays Schools, and such. Now the community has to bare those costs. They have not been able to also manage those properties they have purchased with CPF money, as it requires tax dollars to do general maintenance to keep them up. Look at Mermaids ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Nov 14, 13 8:45 AM
2 members liked this comment
That's right--$8,000 in Town Taxes--$40,000 in police expenditures

Probably another $10,000 in damaged public property (road signs, etc…) when these up-Island drunks hit our streets at 4:30 a.m. and try and make it home.

Don't you love it when these business "analysts" break it all down for us?
By aging hipster (184), Southampton on Nov 14, 13 6:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
So I have been going to the Hamptons for years, and have noticed a steady decrease in the amount of nightlife and bars. On the flip side there has been a steady rise in the amount of for sale signs in front of houses as well as plenty of vacancies in the hotels. The Hampton's has always been a "summer" town, so good luck by closing businesses just because they make to much noise
By j-rod (1), glendale on Dec 5, 13 8:40 PM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser