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Beaches, Bootleggers Alley on Town Board’s agenda

Sunset Beach Hotel will not be serving food this summer at Crescent Beach, but the Islander will.

The Town Board has agreed to approve an application by the popular Center eatery to have a food trailer serving its usual fare at the beach starting soon.

Ashley Knight and Chris Chobar, owners of the Islander, went before the Zoom Town Board work session Tuesday to lay out their plans.

The trailer will be towed to the end of the beach near the boat ramp and bathroom at around 7 a.m. seven days a week and open for business around 10:30. Cones will direct customers to the trailer’s window and strict social distancing will be enforced. There will not be beach service. The plan is to close at about 4:30 or 5 p.m., and the area will be cleaned by the staff. The Islander will bring its own waste bins.

Other business applications for Crescent Beach are pending, with the paddleboard rental business likely to be approved, but the massage service is still under review.

Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams noted that all plans for beaches will have to take into consideration Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directives that will be forthcoming.

Beach stickers

Resident beach stickers to park legally are available from the Town Clerk’s office online or by phone, and Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar said she’s been filling many requests. The free resident stickers are up this year for renewal. The town will not issue day passes this year, but weekly, monthly and seasonal stickers are available for a fee. For residents who still have the expired yellow stickers on their vehicles, there will be a grace period until June 15 to get new passes. Those without stickers will be ticketed.

Bootleggers Alley

For the second week in a row the board has discussed the beach at the end of Bootleggers Alley being used by crowds of people fishing and picnicking. Tuesday the board proposed new parking regulations to resolve several problems.

Last week, Councilman Jim Colligan said he and others have heard complaints about people from off-Island coming in significant numbers to fish from the beach. Mr. Colligan said he has personally noticed large groups there. Many come from “Brooklyn and Queens,” Mr. Colligan said last week, and are mainly Spanish-speaking.

Supervisor Gerry Siller said that the spot had been discovered by “off-Island working families.”

He and Mr. Colligan agreed that uncollected trash was not a problem. But on weekends the visitors can spend up to 10 hours a day there, Mr. Colligan said, and there had been complaints they use vegetation near the beach as toilets.

This has become an issue, Mr. Siller said, that had to be resolved.

The board on Tuesday came up with plans to make parking on one side of the street resident-only, with stickers; part of the other side of the street near the boat ramp and fire lane will be off limits to parking; and public parking will only be available farther along toward Nostrand Parkway.

There are currently no public toilets open on the Island so far this year, and Mr. Siller said that has to be resolved quickly.

The board, under its state of emergency resolution in response to the pandemic, can act immediately to place parking and no-parking signs. But there will also be a public hearing on the issue, “to see if we need to do it long term,” Mr. Siller said, and make the restrictions permanent.

Shanty Bay

The board heard arguments on a zoning and wetlands application that stretched back more than a decade. Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. noted that the issue concerning 44-46 Tuthill Drive on Shanty Bay began 12 years ago when the ZBA denied a merger of two small lots. It was taken to court by the applicant and the court overturned the ZBA’s decision.

The applicants are now seeking a wetlands application to build a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house there, but are being challenged by a homeowners’ organization, represented by Island attorney Bob Kohn.

Mr. Kohn challenges the processes the court and the town have been involved in and calls for a third party, outside town departments, and the town attorney, to look into the matter. The merger, he said, is illegal, and takes away beach access from the neighboring houses. John Wagner, attorney for the applicant, said Mr. Kohn has misrepresented the court’s and the town’s decision.

The board asked for documents to be shared between the attorneys and will hear more on the matter at a later date.