Old Field Looks to Compromise on Beach Access

Some residents wary of allowing passage to waterfront.

Old Field mayor Michael Levine addressed several residents' concerns at the board's meeting Tuesday night over a proposed resolution that would allow limited beach access for non-residents near Old Field Point.

The board discussed a proposed law that would allow for a maximum of 20 permits to be issued which would grant the permit holders the right to park their vehicles at Old Field Point and use the nearby village-owned walkway to access the beach.

One Old Field resident in attendance said that the law passed in October restricting access to village residents only had solved the problem of significant numbers of fishermen abusing the area and leaving garbage and other refuse behind. He questioned the need for a change that could mean a return to that situation.

Levine responded that the proposed law is an attempt to be fair to those who have fished at the site for years and do it responsibly.

He said the resolution is modeled after a similar one in place for Crane Neck Beach, where local residents sponsor 20 permit holders who are allowed access in exchange for a $100 fee and participation in a yearly beach cleanup.

Other concerns raised by residents at the meeting were the intrusions on their privacy by fishermen who line up at the waterfront behind their houses and the lack of an adequate parking area at the Point, where they said visitors often park on the grass. There was also the complaint that the wording of the resolution's first draft was too broad concerning permits.

Village attorney Anthony Guardino said the wording was purposely left vague to allow for future amendments to it without having to pass new resolutions. He noted the possibility of raising the fee or reducing the number of permits issued as examples.

The hearing on the proposed law was adjourned until next month's board meeting. 

 The village has collected more than $2,000 in fines for violations of the resolution passed in October restricting nighttime beach access over the lighthouse grounds at Old Field Point, according to village treasurer Andrea Brosnan.

That law was passed in response to complaints by local residents about activity including bonfires, littering, urinating and large groups of non-residents being dropped off at the site at all hours to gain access to the beach.

Residents of Old Field and the surrounding area, many of them fishermen, packed the board's October meeting to debate the issue. Levine and the board agreed at the time to consider some future solution that would accomodate those who fish at the site responsibly.

The beachfront below the high water mark is public property, while the adjacent grounds which allow access to it are either private or village-owned. 

Discriminated Against January 14, 2011 at 05:11 PM
What gives the Village of Old Field the right to charge anyone to access a public park?
Discriminated Against January 15, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Also what gives them the right to post a sign that says restricted beach/resident use only? I believe that would be considered discrimination. How can they justify letting the residents enjoy the beach adjacent to the lighthouse while not permitting non residents usage of the beach? It is a stipulation in the conveyance of the property that they must provide access for recreational purposes. A former Town Attorney named Victor Yannacone filed suit against the Village back in the 1960's for the same exact thing the Village is currently doing. A declaratory judgement was granted and the general public has every right to use that beach for recreational purposes. Also the passway has been historically used by the general public for access to the beach. The general public was using the passway under the direction of the Village to do so for many years. What is currently going on is a travesty of justice. The Village's issues are not caused by fisherman. They need their Code Enforcement Officers to step up and take care of anyone breaking any laws. The people they are really complaining about would have never have known about the area if they were not employed to clean their homes and cut their lawns. I can only assume that they are good enough to work on their homes but not good enough to enjoy the same beaches?
Discriminated Against January 19, 2011 at 06:18 PM
The public is too have access and the gates are to be open 24/7.
Discriminated Against January 20, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Whitehall Beach The Village of Old Field maintains a right of way from Old Field Road (South of the Lighthouse) to Old Field Beach (known as Whitehall Beach). Residents are invited to park on the Lighthouse grounds and walk south on Old Field Road to the right of way. "Whitehall Beach offers some of the finest salt water bathing on Long Island. Between April 1 and November 1, no cats, dogs, horses or other domestic animals are allowed on the beach. No open fires or motorized vehicles are allowed at any time. Residents are asked to keep the beach clean and responsibly dispose of all litter." One: Whitehall Beach is not a Bathing Beach. Two: Residents Should stop lighting campfires. Three: Residents should stop walking their Dogs down the beach as well because they are leaving a mess behind. Four: People that live in Glass Houses should not throw stones. Five: The public access that was supposed to be provided to the beach needs to be taken care of . This is a stipulation under the FEMA funding provided for the revetment. This is also as per the NYS DEC and the US Coast Guard.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something