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Access to shoreline restrictions under fire

Don’t blame the Shoreline Access Committee; blame the mandate with which it was charged, resulting in recommendations that no one seems to like, all involved agreed.

Problems at Bootleggers Alley last summer focused the Town Board on the effort to look at all shoreline access points with an eye to controlling uses.

Two major issues emerged for the Shoreline Access task force: parking and signage.

Neither, it appears, will satisfy needs at Bootleggers, where crowds of nonresidents fished and camped last summer, using the dunes as toilets. Residents complained they left garbage in the area and often infringed on private properties. Temporary installation of a Port-A-Potty did little to alleviate the problems.

Supervisor Gerry Siller said Tuesday he wants a solution to Bootleggers in time for the upcoming summer season, but there are probably limits to what the town can do.

Both he and Councilman Albert Dickson want a parking plan there — and all sites — to provide for residents and those who opt to purchase day, week or month-long permits, but at least a few spaces where anyone can park without any permit.

Bay Constable Beau Payne was at the Town Board’s Tuesday work session to focus on the eight sites considered most critical for attention in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.

He outlined the committee’s recommendations at each of the eight, but it appears if nothing else happens in time for this summer, rectifying the situation at Bootleggers is the most critical need.

Current plans would restrict parking along the roadway, but others without permits could park about 80 feet from the beach area. Signs would be erected to notify those coming to Bootleggers of restrictions and requirements.

What rankled the many who accessed Tuesday’s work session was a feeling that changes would benefit nonresidents, but do little to protect the rights of residents.

“What public are we trying to serve?” resident Duke Foster asked.

Councilman Mike Bebon, the Town Board’s liaison to the task force, read the charge to the committee. It appears on the town website.

Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. advised the Town Board to keep any permitting regulations as simple as possible and said it’s easy to add restrictions as circumstances merit, but more difficult to take restrictions away.

On April 27, the Shoreline Access Committee will meet at 9 a.m. and Zoom access requests should be directed to Mr. Payne at [email protected] The Town Board will continue to discuss the issue at its April 27 work session at 1 p.m. That, too, is being done via Zoom and access can be had by requesting it from [email protected]. If any regulations are to be changed, they would have to be subject to a public hearing. Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar said the Town Board could set a hearing date when it meets on May 7 but the hearing would not occur until May 28. On that date, the Town Board could vote after the hearing to enact changes that would go into effect when they are filed with the New York State Secretary of State.