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Beach Driving


Dear Editor,

The 7/12/06 article entitled "Call for More Plover Patience" was in error when it stated that, in the past, beach driving has been prohibited between Napeague Lane and Atlantic Avenue.

In truth, beach driving has never been prohibited in that area at any time or season.

The vast majority of beaches in the town are open to beach driving.

Only three beaches are closed to vehicles at all times: 1) The Accabonac Harbor side of Louse Point except the launching ramp; 2) The Gardiners Bay side of Louse Point from the point south 300; and 3) The bay beach at Maidstone Park from Flaggy Hole Road to the jetty.

Five beaches have part-time beach driving restrictions. These restrictions prohibit driving between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from the Thursday before Memorial Day to September 15th. They do not apply to commercial net fishermen, handicapped individuals or people engaged in crabbing in Georgica Pond. The five beaches are: 1) The ocean beach between the westerly boundary of the town and the westerly boundary of East Hampton Village (Wainscott); 2) The ocean between the westerly side of Indian Wells Beach and the easterly side of Atlantic Avenue Beach (Amagansett); 3) The ocean beach lying south of Napeague Lane, as designated by the Trustees (Napeague); 4) The ocean beach lying between the western boundary of Camp Hero State Park and the easterly boundary of Hither Hills State Park (Montauk); and 5) All town beaches fronting on Fort Pond Bay to the north and bounded by Navy Road to the south (Montauk).

The only other restriction prohibits beach driving within or upon any protected bird nesting area which has been designated and marked as such by the Trustees or the Town Board.

Town Code 91-4 (F) states that "No person shall disturb or endanger any protected bird nesting area on the beach . . . The Trustees or the Town Board . . . will cause each nesting site to be fenced, roped or flagged in a manner designated to alert the public that entry is prohibited." I am not aware of any court interpretation of that section but believe that it applies to walkers as well as drivers. (Section 91-4 deals with prohibited conduct laws regarding beach driving are in 91-5.) Pedestrian beach goers should be aware that they may be violating the law when they enter, sit or walk in an area that has been designated as a protected bird nesting area.

With conflicts raging around the world, it is my hope that all beach users have the opportunity to enjoy a few hours of surf and sun without unnecessary and unpleasant confrontations.

JOHN P. COURTNEY
July 18, 2006

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