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Oct 22, 2013 10:37 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Allows Vehicles To Access Beach

Oct 22, 2013 6:43 PM

At the request of local fishermen, Westhampton Beach Village trustees are permitting both village and Southampton Town taxpayers with the proper permits to drive onto the beach with four-wheel-drive vehicles via an access road located just east of Lashley Beach on Dune Road.

Though this is the first time, at least in recent years, that drivers have been able to access the beach in the village, the trustees explained that they are only giving the new policy a trial run until December 15, the end of bass season.

“If it turns into a nuisance then we’ll rethink it,” Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller said on Monday.

The road has traditionally been used solely for emergency access, though earlier this fall officials from the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested that it be opened for their use as part of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, a project dedicated to preventing storm damage and controlling erosion.

Mr. Teller said local fishermen made the same request about five or six years ago, though the village opted at that time to limit the road to emergency use only.

The Southampton Town Trustees permit driving on town beaches between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. from the Friday preceding Memorial Day until September 15, and around the clock after that date. Drivers cannot travel above 10 mph and are prohibited from driving on the dunes or beachgrass areas, as well as in any areas roped off to protect piping plover nests.

Town Trustee Bill Pell said last week that he supports the new village policy. “I think it’s good anytime there is more access for anyone on the beach,” he said.

Ken Densieski, the president of the Hampton Surf Fishing Club, which has about 200 members, made his case for allowing town taxpayers to drive onto the beach at the Village Board work session on Thursday night, October 17. He explained that it is possible to drive onto the beach at the town-run Pikes Beach in West Hampton Dunes Village, but the jetties prevent vehicles from traveling east along the beach and onto Westhampton Beach Village beaches. The next access point is at the south end of Beach Lane in Quogue and at the Quogue Village beach.

Mr. Densieski, a Riverside resident, explained that local fishermen and families want the road open so they can access the beach for recreation, and he has never experienced any problems, such as partying. He added that the fishermen, including himself, often pick up trash on the beach and alert police of any suspicious events on Dune Road.

“We’re the first one to tell you when we see a window broken in the back of a house,” he said.

An avid fisherman, Mr. Densieski also noted that it is too risky to leave his fishing rods and gear, which cost thousand of dollars, in his truck and parked on Dune Road while he fishes.

Town taxpayers are required to spend $20 on an annual permit from the Town Trustees to drive on any of the beaches within the municipality, including those that fall within the incorporated villages. The Town Trustees also require that all vehicles on the beach be equipped with a jack, a jack board, a cable, a chain or rope, an air pressure gauge, a tire inflation device and a shovel.

Bill Merritt, whose family has lived in the area for generations, said permitting vehicles to access the beach at Lashley will provide an opportunity for older residents, specifically those with difficulty walking, so they can enjoy the beach. “That’s a wonderful reason to support it,” he said during last week’s meeting.

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Teller approves another fiasco. How many more months until he's out of office?
By realistic (464), westhampton on Oct 22, 13 7:38 PM
And did Teller read the letter in last weeks Press about the abuse of vehicles on the beach? The beach is not for vehicles.
By realistic (464), westhampton on Oct 22, 13 7:41 PM
People have been driving for years between Quogue and Moriches Inlet. This just makes access a little easier.
By tenn tom (234), remsenburg on Oct 23, 13 7:45 AM
You two must live on dune road.
By GoldenBoy (341), EastEnd on Oct 22, 13 9:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
No I don't live on Dune Rd. But I do like to use the beach for reading and enjoying the ocean during the day. It does get dangerous with those trucks coming down the beach. Sit down there sometime and see for yourself.
By realistic (464), westhampton on Oct 23, 13 8:21 AM
Given that the time restrictions in season this is perfectly reasonable. You won't have cars on the beach during the day and who cares once Labor Day rolls around?

I'd really like to see them extend it to surfers also. Waves don't always occur where there is parking. NY as compared to NJ is radically different in their concept of beach access. In NJ you can park near any beach access point and walk on (beach tag may be required). As we know in NY parking on Dune Road and hence beach ...more
By Hambone (510), New York on Oct 22, 13 11:00 PM
So go live in NJ or buy a house in the Village and pay the extra taxes for having the privilege. Cars drive crazy on the roads. Now we let them onto the beaches?
By realistic (464), westhampton on Oct 23, 13 8:23 AM
ahh the if you don't like it leave post. So original! under that logic we'd still be bear baiting. First the differential in taxes between the Village and Southampton township isn't the "privilege" of the beach but more so the police force that a WHB Village owner funds versus a Speonk or Quiogue owner. Secondly, I think there is a vast difference between someone accessing the beach with a vehicle to fish or surf and someone buzzing through town on a cell phone trying to beat the line at the ...more
By Hambone (510), New York on Oct 23, 13 8:30 AM
You can't equate people's driving habits on the road to those of people on the beach. The overwhelming majority of people driving on the beach (in their 4WD vehicles) are responsible and are doing it for the purposes of fishing or surfing. You see someone driving crazy on the roads everyday - it's rare to see someone driving "crazy" on the beach, and when they do they usually get stuck or sink and that pretty much keeps them off the beach after that!
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 23, 13 9:15 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By winkelby (38), westhampton on Oct 24, 13 12:48 PM
Winkleby stated (at least partially: "the beach is impossible to walk on now, with all the tire ruts."

How do tire ruts make the beach "impossible" to walk on?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 24, 13 12:56 PM
nature : go to lashley and try walking around and you will see what I mean.
why was my previous post taken down - was it because there was a link to a petition to ask the village government on it?
By winkelby (38), westhampton on Oct 24, 13 3:21 PM
Seriously tire ruts? Again, if you read the article and I mean really read it, it speaks about fishermen. I am NOT a professional fisherman or even an avid enthusiast but my recollection is most fishermen tend to catch the fall migration or spring seasons. Mid summer fishing is not a big thing here.

So try again as to why this is the most godawful thing. Hey I'll help. In NJ a guy got run over. Well that was an inattentive cop who refused a breathalyzer. Not a fisherman. Air pollution. ...more
By Hambone (510), New York on Oct 25, 13 2:44 PM
Walk in the ruts and you'll be fine....
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 13 11:15 AM
Silence = I win
By Hambone (510), New York on Oct 26, 13 10:48 AM