Gurney's Inn
August 09, 2006

Clark's Beach Sale to County on Horizon?

The sale of Clark's Beach may soon be a done deal.

After months of waiting to see whether or not the parcel in Greenport would be sold to the county, sparking a public outcry among some village residents, it seems a resolution may soon be in sight.

Ed Dumas, spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, said on Friday that while there is "no contract" at present, "negotiations are continuing. We'd like to bring this into the county's holdings. We're doing our best to make it happen."

Greenport Mayor David Kapell concurred: "We have been talking actively with the county and are hopeful that a transaction will ensue."

In April 2005, the Greenport Village Board unveiled the 2005-2006 fiscal budget, which featured a plan to declare surplus and sell a number of village properties not needed for village-related purposes. Those parcels, including Clark's Beach, a 15-acre Long Island Sound-front property located outside the village had become valuable in the real estate market and could be sold to generate revenue.

"In the face of relentless development of the shoreline of Southold Town and a consequent loss of public access, Clark's Beach is a growing liability for the village because it offers unrestricted and uncontrolled public access to Long Island Sound," said Kapell, adding, "It is not the village's duty to provide a park at its sole expense for the entire town."

Kapell pointed out that Greenport features other parks, including Moore's/McCann's Woods, Fifth Street and Mitchell Park, the centerpiece of the village's revitalization efforts.

Since Clark's Beach is contiguous to Inlet Pond County Park, Suffolk County, which has the financial and technical resources, should consider acquiring the parcel, said Kapell. Meanwhile the village should concentrate its resources on maintaining parks and other facilities.

Sale of Clark's Beach and other village properties would generate several million dollars in non-tax revenue to fund $950,000 worth of projects in the Greenport budget, with the remainder geared toward retiring village debt.

News of the proposed sale sparked upset residents who spoke out about saving natural resources for posterity and pursuing other avenues before considering the sale. Greenport resident David Nyce suggested the matter should go to public referendum before any course of action was taken, something not required for the sale to proceed.

During Levy's recent daylong-tour of the North Fork, he made a stop in Southold Town to discuss a number of issues, including the possible sale of Clark's Beach to the county.

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