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Oct 22, 2015 2:42 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oceanfront Homeowners Sue Over Trucks On Southampton Beach

Residents of Meadow Lane in Southampton Village  filed a lawsuit against the Southampton Town Trustees and the village in an effort to shut down public access to a stretch of beach known as “The Picnic Area.”    PRESS FILE
Oct 27, 2015 5:11 PM

Residents of Meadow Lane in the Village of Southampton have filed a lawsuit against the Southampton Town Trustees and the village in an effort to shut down public access to their backyard, a stretch of beach known as “The Picnic Area.”

The lawsuit was filed by Nica B. Strunk on behalf of Kathleen Araskog Thomas, Andrew S. Thomas, Rand V. Araskog and Jessie M. Araskog on Wednesday, October 21.

According to the lawsuit, the claimants believe 2,500 beach permits were issued in 2015. The suit says that the Town Trustees and Village of Southampton did not make any effort to control the number of vehicles that occupy the area at one time. The Araskog and Thomas families also believe that there were in excess of 500 vehicles parked in five rows parallel to the ocean during peak times.

With this many people on the beach at one time, the families say the village allowed “unsafe overcrowding, uncontrolled public intoxication, urination, defecation and littering on the claimants’ private property, outdoor fires, unleashed dogs and an illegal thoroughfare across the claimant’s land for ingress and egress to Suffolk County’s Shinnecock East Park.”

The Southampton village code does not allow people to drive on the beach between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the majority of beaches, but an exception lies with a 2,000-foot section of beach between the western boundary of the village and Road F, where residents of Southampton town and village are permitted to drive on the beach.

The piece of property in question has been open to the public for as long as Southampton Town Trustee Eric Shultz can remember.

“The property owners knew the easement was there before buying, and knew the people had the right to use the beach” said Mr. Shultz. “The people that use the area respect the beach and leave it cleaner than when they arrived. I have always seen it orderly, and the continued use needs to be preserved.”

Members of Southampton Association for Beach Access, or SABA, said tn a prepared statement that Southampton residents have been regularly using the drive-on picnic area “since long before 2004, the year the Araskog/Thomas family purchased the property.

“They cannot expect local laws to change to benefit one or several homeowners [to] the detriment of the remaining freeholders and residents,” the statement said.

When Ms. Strunk was asked whether the owners knew about the public beach access behind their property, she said, “After speaking with my clients, they’ve asked me not to elaborate on the case.”

The State Department of Environmental Conservation was also listed as a defendant in the case, with the suit saying that the state allows the heavy use of the beach despite more stringent controls at other bathing beaches.

According to Mr. Shultz, the popularity of the picnic area is proof that additional beaches should be opened. In particular, Mr. Shultz feels more beaches should be opened on the west side of Shinnecock Inlet, and he has been an advocate for this proposal for many years.

“We plan to support the Trustees in any way we can for as long as we can. Hopefully something good will come of this,” SABA said in its statement. “Perhaps we can get the space allowed for all-day [four-wheel drive]access expanded so we aren’t concentrated in one area.”

This isn’t the first time that homeowners on Meadow Lane have sued over the used of the Picnic Area. Attempts were made to have it closed in 1997 and 2005, but both claims were dismissed.

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what undue burden forced Kathleen Araskog to buy a house on that stretch of Meadow Ln which has always been driven on by trucks?
By SHResident (49), Southampton on Oct 22, 15 2:50 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By H2O (84), easthampton on Oct 22, 15 3:33 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Undocumented Democrat (1799), southampton on Oct 22, 15 5:07 PM
Hey I'm not militant! Did I have comment in here somewhere???
By Arnold Timer (306), Sag Harbor on Oct 22, 15 10:37 PM
go back where you came from and respect our way of life
By JMKG228 (12), Southampton on Oct 22, 15 4:02 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By goldenone (1), Southampton on Oct 24, 15 12:13 PM
The plaintiffs are: Kathleen Araskog Thomas, Andres S Thomas, Randy V. Araskog and Jessie M. Arraskog. v Southampton Town Trustees, The Village of Southampton and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Sme of their claims are "inter alia, unsafe overcrowding, uncontrolled public intoxication, urination, defecation and littering on claimant's private property, outdoor fires, unleashed dogs, and an illegal thoroughfare across claimants' land for ingress and egress to Suffolk ...more
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 22, 15 5:18 PM
Is there a way to look up the complete lawsuit online I'd love to print it out to get a laugh at it.
By BeachBum545454 (9), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 11:03 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BillSutton, Westhampton Beach on Oct 23, 15 12:56 PM
The notice of claim is now linked above the story.
By Bill Sutton, Managing Editor (112), Westhampton Beach on Oct 23, 15 1:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's getting harder and harder to tolerate these people
By GoldenBoy (333), EastEnd on Oct 22, 15 6:50 PM
The 27East Censors?
By Arnold Timer (306), Sag Harbor on Oct 24, 15 10:28 AM
D>>b a>s Sue your real estate agent. Been here done that all our lives. SUE SUE SUE and be a member of our village...
By knitter (1506), Southampton on Oct 22, 15 7:16 PM
Row after Row.........
By jpwork00 (2), southampton on Oct 22, 15 7:38 PM
There's plenty of oceanfront property from here to Florida.

The gall of the locals to use the beach in such a manner as they have for decades since you bought your house, eh? Caveat emptur, honey.

BTW, [expletive deleted] you. Have a nice day...
By Mr. Z (10649), North Sea on Oct 22, 15 9:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
The people who use the helipad sure are lucky all these homeowners are aviation enthusiasts. The last legal wranglings concerning the helipad and the Dune Road residents I could find were from 1988 and that was in opposition to making it bigger, NOT removing it. I wish I had a helicopter. I would fly everyone to the beach on Sundays. That, it seems, wouldn't be a problem.
By rgfaron (1), Water Mill on Oct 22, 15 9:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
I think things are different now that the courts have ruled the trustees overreached their power. This lawsuit may not get dismissed that easy.
By Summer Resident (222), Southampton N.Y. on Oct 23, 15 1:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well it finally happened. As a SH Town taxpayer I encourage the Town to use every penny of my hard earned tax dollars to hire the most skilled and ruthless lawyers available to shut this down and close the door on the possibility of it ever happening again. The beaches are more than property to locals. It's part of our life.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 23, 15 5:56 AM
Go buy a house wherever you were born Kathleen, your kind are not wanted here. By the way, because of your lawsuit and this article many more people will now know there is a spot in Southampton where you can drive on the beach all day. Enjoy the larger crowds next season, way to spread the word.
What gives this feeling of entitlement to someone who's not even from here? What gives you the audacity to tell us that have been using this place for decades, that we don't have the right? ...more
By icecreamman (398), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 8:11 AM
3 members liked this comment
Live with it Kathleen-you were stupid enough to buy a home there
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Oct 23, 15 9:49 AM
who cares if they win or not. who is going to enforce it? village cops? the bay constables? none of them are gonna be down there writing hundreds and hundreds of tickets. let them do it and watch barbara wilson issue $1 fines for everything. local is still local and these elitist see you next tuesdays will get theirs. enjoy your peaceful winter in nyc cuz next summer is gonna be hell in the hamptons. i dont kno about tar and feathering but some quid pro quo is definitely in order, north sea style! ...more
By em (49), sagaponack on Oct 23, 15 11:53 AM
3 members liked this comment
This is an excellent point. There are many rules/laws in this area that go unenforced. Many conflicts of interest mixing business with village officials and family members for high profits. People do what they want around here, nothing is enforced because the system is broken. People have high salaries and cush jobs, expect more of the same. The beach will continue to be our playground and no elite sloth with a strong sense of entitlement and $$$ for expensive lawyers will ever change that. ...more
By icecreamman (398), Southampton on Oct 24, 15 7:49 AM
2150 Meadow Lane?...if this is the same woman (looked up google images) I believe it is she and her clowny husband, etc pay the surf school(s) almost everyday there is waves to surf at this beach...and she drives on the beach with her blue jeep wrangler to do so..bs
By GO HOME (7), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 12:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
The permit for the surf school allows them to use a previously designated beach in the village from 8 AM till noon, period. There is a clause prohibiting private lessons. They operated at the picnic area 7 days a week after the legal hours of business, every hour they would run a truck or 2 to the helipad lot and pick up the next group. The police had their hands tied with orders from the top not to hassle them, that is, not too enforce the law. This increased the traffic on the beach and exacerbated ...more
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 24, 15 8:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
Kathy Thomas, Andrew Thomas, their kids and anyone/ everyone they bring out there (or anywhere in SH) will NEVER EVER GET WAVES IN SH AGAIN...the surf school(s) and "instructor(s)" that bring them there/ cater to them should be ashamed...thinks she can just hide in plain sight surfing all over town and then try to stop us...boo this woman and her "instructors"
By GO HOME (7), Southampton on Oct 26, 15 2:16 PM
Wait until they discover we've now converted the area to a nude beach!

Locals unite---it's time to exercise our right to bare bottoms.

The view will be glorious. I for one will proudly lead the parade of nekkid locals next Memorial Day.

Rally round folks! This is going to be a hoot.
By Uncle Fester (58), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 2:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
On a quick check~ Kathleen (Kathy), a blonde, is about 45 yrs old, her parents are Randy (Rand- father) and Jesse (mother). She graduated in 1987 from Kennelon High School, in Kennelon, NJ. Attended Duke from 1987-1991, MBA from Duke, Fuque School of Business in Marketing & New Technology. She is a Principle in Management for Sony Music, Wells Rich Greene, BDDP, Inc.
This is all public information. Always good to know who the we are dealing with.
Participates in many society events.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Oct 23, 15 9:58 PM
Creepster!!!
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Oct 27, 15 7:33 PM
Friends of Scot Horowitz received campaign contributions from Lingnelli homeowner at Mecox doesn't like people on his BEACH in front of his house ,South Shore Docks & First Coastal who Promotes and Build steel bulkhead on the beach . Thanks Scot Horowitzless
By Beachrat (6), Southampton on Oct 23, 15 10:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Articles in the Southampton Press show plenty of $$$$$$ going to Bill Pell from the exact same homeowners, That homeowner has worked hard for a wide beach for the benefit of everyone. Being heavily invested in the erosion control district. All he expects is respectful stewardship. Not BS campaign Rhetoric.
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 24, 15 12:43 AM
007, didn't I see you in a movie?
By Jmears (2), Sagaponack on Oct 27, 15 10:43 AM
Do I detect some friction between Scotty and Mr Pell? Wide beach for the benefit of everyone? Really? He has been trying to restrict if not eliminate our 4x4 access. He has not been successful , but he now seems to have an advocate on the board of trustees. Time will tell
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 24, 15 6:08 AM
Its really all about money. They view the homes to the east that trade in the $20-$30mm range and figure that when they paid in the low $10mm or less that if they rid themsleves of this open public use, they would be in line for a windfall. Whats next suing Suffolk COunty to rid themselves of Shinn?. Its my understanding that there is no check in on the weekends at Shinne due to these owners who dont want to see rv's coming down the road an lining up to get in. Wagon train time.....

By North Sea Citizen (503), North Sea on Oct 24, 15 8:02 AM
The Southampton Town Trustee Board has stood shoulder to shoulder in the defense and protection of public access.The Best Lawyers and consultants on board, and successful advocacy to the Town Board to fund 50% of the prior Appeals. Don't confuse campaign season antics with real life handling of serious matters.
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 24, 15 9:00 AM
Sorry Scotty just because Bill Pell takes money doesnt mean you should from people acting counter to the trustees mission. The problem is this country is it's men have been replaced by pandering whores. Grow a set and do the right thing.
By chief1 (2550), southampton on Oct 24, 15 1:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who calls this the picnic area? Been gong there my whole life and never have I heard it referred to as the picnic area.
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Oct 24, 15 8:06 PM
FYI-For the last three campaigns I have not taken a penny in contributions - Lingnelli offered me a contribution during the last campaign and I declined his offer. Any money that was spent, which was minimal, was my own money. As you can see, there aren't any signs littering the neighborhood with my name on it. Check out Suffolk County Board of Elections to see contributions for candidates. This is public knowledge. If anyone has further questions, feel free to email me at onthewater2@optonline.net ...more
By Bill Pell (2), Southampton on Oct 24, 15 11:01 PM
Then Bill has my vote. If Bill is being truthful then this is what we need in an election. We need people voting their constituents wishes not the highest donor.
As far as these people on Meadow Lane they are disrespectful to locals. I hope they are nicer to the locals when they need an ambulance or fire truck. I don't understand the rationale of the selfishness of these homeowners.
By chief1 (2550), southampton on Oct 25, 15 10:00 AM
Since both Mr Horowitz and Mr Pell are involved here may I pose a question to each of you? Do you support expanding the "picnic area" to the east? If so, will you try to make it happen. If not , why not. Thanks for your time.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 25, 15 11:10 AM
Bill Pell is a class act-even gives out his personal email. Not many politicans do that, they only talk thru the press.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Oct 25, 15 1:12 PM
Hello Hello 007 are you there? Any response? (must be on a secret mission)
By PoliticallyIncorrect (45), earth on Oct 25, 15 7:26 PM
3 members liked this comment
Just bought a 2005 Tahoe and 4 huge cooper tires, going to get my sticker,
By LovinLife (57), East Quogue on Oct 26, 15 5:11 AM
Pell closed Mecox at Lignelli's order, building a dune across the cut to keep it closed long term. The result was a huge die off of marine life in Mecox. Thanks, Bill.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Oct 26, 15 8:03 AM
as much as everyone enjoys typing their comments and opinions, On official matters and issues very serious in nature, anyone in the public that wants answers to specific questions would be much better served by attending an open meeting, as the Trustees always welcome the public, or by simply calling Town Hall at 287-5717. Trustees routinely take and return calls. They even schedule meetings with concerned citizens. Trustees take matters of protecting and defending public access very seriously. ...more
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 26, 15 2:10 PM
Araskog has embellished every part of this lawsuit. I've been going down to that beach since I was a little kid. I was down there many times this past summer, I have seen her and her husband with there vehicles on the beach along with over 30 surf vehicles. Those surf instructors are down there giving lessons the plaintiff and her family and friends. I guess if she wins the surf instructors won't be permitted down there either. The locals who go down to the beach on Sunday's are respectful, courteous ...more
By rjhdad (73), southampton on Oct 26, 15 2:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Southampton Town Trustees have a record right to this very day of protecting and defending public access. That point is indisputable. They are strong and will stand strong.
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 26, 15 2:27 PM
Or you could answer questions posed here Scott, there are many more folks using this website and keeping track of what's going on with the Trustees than attend the open meetings. What a great way to communicate with a much larger audience.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 26, 15 5:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
FYI - Mr. Crabby - I'm one out of five trustees who vote to open and close Mecox cut. Mr. Lingnelli had nothing to do with opening or closing the cut. In November, there was a drastic unexpected temperature change overnight and a handful of fish couldn't adjust to the change and unfortunately died. The trustees learned by this mistake and hopefully it won't happen again. If you wish to discuss this further don't hesitate to email or call me. - Bill Pell
By Bill Pell (2), Southampton on Oct 26, 15 6:09 PM
It seems that every week the Press reports yet another outrageous property action brought by some nouveau riche, psychopathic parvenu attempting either to finesse an exceptional privilege - - - to overturn a restriction on her behavior - - - or to forbid others from behavior that annoys her.

To these repellent arrivistes, neighborliness is foolishness that impedes fulfillment of their egomaniacal appetites.

The poor East End. So far from god. So attractive to WallStreeters.
By highhatsize (3767), East Quogue on Oct 26, 15 6:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
It's pretty incredible that some of these folks love out beautiful area so much that the decide to purchase a second, or perhaps third home here ,then attempt to turn it into the very hell hole they came from! Greedy , self centered , entitled in their own minds, shall I go on? The plaintiffs are quite possibly not aware how important our beach time is to us, there are multi generational families there every Sunday making memories that last a lifetime, this is a vital part of our lives, one of the ...more
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 26, 15 7:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
Now maybe you begin to see what I have seen for a very long time. And, it's not limited solely to our area.
By Mr. Z (10649), North Sea on Oct 26, 15 8:53 PM
First, The Trustees need to shore up the preservation of the picnic area to the East of the Inlet, And then immediately work with the other entities involved to assure an excellent picnic area to the West of the inlet. Trustee met yesterday to discuss expansion with County officials and secured a better working relationship of restoring public access faster after the piping plover season. This has been a concern to many avid beach enthusiasts and is clearly a small victory for the Trustees and the ...more
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 27, 15 6:54 AM
You raise some interesting points. Bill Pell Has been open and honest, I wish Scott Horrowitz would do the same. I wonder what he would think about your ideas... But he probably too busy making movies to communicate openly with his constituents...must have something to hide.
By Jmears (2), Sagaponack on Oct 27, 15 7:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Some would consider that a successful mission!
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 27, 15 7:00 AM
I said shaken NOT stirred daaaammmmiiittt!!
By PoliticallyIncorrect (45), earth on Oct 27, 15 1:55 PM
There are many ways of influencing elected officials besides donating directly to their campaigns. This holds true especially for the Trustees because most do not fund raise for their own elections. Unlike candidates running for the Town Board, the Trustees rely primarily on ads and signs paid for by the political parties that endorse them. A look at the previous election cycle's donations to the Independence Party would be enlightening.
By heythere (2), Southampton on Oct 27, 15 8:02 PM
“The property owners knew the easement was there before buying, and knew the people had the right to use the beach” said Mr. Shultz. “The people that use the area respect the beach and leave it cleaner than when they arrived. I have always seen it orderly, and the continued use needs to be preserved.”

AMEN
By Trish (90), Sag Harbor on Oct 28, 15 1:51 PM
He has my vote along With Trustee Pell and Tim Corwin.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 28, 15 4:21 PM
Remember that although their are 5 Trustee positions on the ballot, you are not obligated to vote for 5.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 28, 15 4:23 PM
why would anyone vote for less then 5
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Oct 29, 15 2:30 AM
Perhaps there are less than 5 that deserve your vote.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 29, 15 6:53 AM
Perhaps reading the Southampton Press editorial commentary "WE MARK OUR BALLOT" would be enlightening to you...........
By 007 (45), East Quogue on Oct 29, 15 7:56 AM
perhaps the electorate is intelligent enough to make up their own minds.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Oct 29, 15 8:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Has the office that was served with the lawsuit made a formal response yet?
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 29, 15 9:55 AM
I have a question about the new photo now posted with this story. Is that a picture of the alleged surf camp and there abusive practices of overcrowding the beach in the said area or is this a photo of open space loving tax payers who are making no profit off of running an illegal business? I expect an answer Mr. Shaw being that the photo was added by the press news group.
If one didn't know any better and looked at this photograph they might think there is indeed a vehicle overcrowding ...more
By icecreamman (398), Southampton on Oct 29, 15 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
crickets
By icecreamman (398), Southampton on Oct 30, 15 10:43 AM
That isn't the surf school, it looks like a family or group of friends barbacuing on a Sunday. I'm not sure why you're targeting the surf school being that they are also locals enjoying the beach but also work there. As a surfer I respect what they do, making a living doing what you love to do shouldn't be targeted by people who care far less for the beach than they do.
By Respecttheshred (1), Southampton on Nov 8, 15 10:21 AM
OK - Claimants - 2,500 permits were issued - however - that was for the entire Town of Southampton - which includes quite a number of beaches - Spin doctoring your belief with that photo creates bias - obviously 2,500 cars were not at that location at any one time. Secondly - anyone with beachfront property can only claim to own the land above the high-tide mark at its highest tide - which is usually right along the front of a property. Anything below that is public property all over the entire ...more
By Vikki K (487), Southampton on Oct 29, 15 4:54 PM
You can not, in my opinion, complain about something occurring near your home after you had the option not to buy that particular home. Just like those who complained about the race track, or the airport. Both were there before you purchased your home so deal with it.

These people should live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. And then they can complain about the quiet and we won't have to hear it.
By scottso (16), southampton on Oct 29, 15 8:10 PM
That's pretty weak logic there, scottso.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (580), southampton on Oct 30, 15 8:27 AM
If Village law is enforced re: illegal commercial activities, there will be a lot less traffic on the beach in question. Private lessons are not allowed to be given by the surf school! Not sure why the powers that be refused to enforce the law for the past three summers.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Nov 2, 15 6:43 AM
When I grew up on Long Island, nobody was allowed to own the beach. Common sense dictated that the ocean owned the beach and only a moron would build right on the ocean (or bay). Only fishermen's huts, clam shacks and docks/marinas were on the beach. The huts and shacks were considered temporary by those who used them. Houses on Fire Island weren't even built on the beach, they were built a decent distance away from water's edge. Nobody in their right mind would build an expensive house on a beach ...more
By btdt (425), water mill on Nov 4, 15 2:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
It is different on the East End especially since the village of Southampton is the first place that one can reach the ocean without going over a bridge. I can understand the life there at fire Island it being a barrier island. I know this was mentioned in the text of the article still it doesn't hurt to remind the newbies that there is an official document that has been thru the courts and has always been upheld.. The Dongan Patent going back to the late 1600's assures the local residents of their ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Nov 4, 15 2:51 PM
why is there no credit given to the photographer,?common practice in most publications.
By bigfresh (3850), north sea on Nov 4, 15 7:44 PM