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May 11, 2019 6:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Nation Leaders Say Signs On Sunrise Are Essential To Tribe's Economic Well-Being

Council Chairman Bryan Polite speaking about the Shinnecock Indian Nation billboards being built on tribal land along Sunrise Highway. ANISAH ABDULLAH
May 15, 2019 4:18 PM

First, it was a simple stand along Montauk Highway, where Jonathan Smith, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, began selling tax-free cigarettes in 1984. Southampton Town Police charged him with violating state law.

Then, in 2003, the Nation broke ground for what it said would be a gaming facility on tribe-owned land on Peconic Bay. Until Southampton Town went to court in an attempt to stop it.

Today, it’s a pair of two-sided electronic billboards being erected along Sunrise Highway just west of the Shinnecock Canal, on the southernmost portion of the tribe’s bayfront property, Westwoods.

Tribal officials say the latest controversy must be seen in that context: years of the tribe finding new economic development opportunities, and town officials immediately rushing to snuff them out. And they see motives beyond “quality of life” concerns.

“As long as the town has been able to keep us subservient and held down, we’re not a factor,” said Lance A. Gumbs, vice chairman of the Nation’s Council of Trustees. “But once we are able to establish any kind of a monetary gain, we become a major player in this game of the Hamptons.”

Speaking last week, tribal leaders said the 61-foot twin billboards on tribal land along Sunrise Highway will bring significant revenue from advertising—reportedly in the millions each year. They insist that there is no local, state or federal rule stopping them.

As to any suggestion that the project was a “surprise,” they say they first told town officials a year ago, and have been communicating, mostly a one-sided conversation, with state officials for many months.

To town officials, and others, who say they are “disheartened” by the proposal, the tribe’s leaders suggest a new perspective: the view from the humble Shinnecock Indian Nation territory outside Southampton Village, in the midst of opulence and wealth.

“Since 2003, you’ve seen the development in Southampton—it certainly isn’t the Shinnecocks who’ve changed the face, and the vibe, of the Hamptons. That’s an unfair characterization that we continuously see perpetuated,” said Bryan Polite, the chairman of the Council of Trustees. “We’re hearing words like ‘appalling,’ ‘eyesore’ … ‘Those Indians are going to change the dynamics of the Hamptons.’ And I just think that’s the height of hypocrisy.”

The sense of pride the project is bringing to the tribe, Mr. Polite said, is “indescribable” after years of feeling a loss of identity, even feelings of inadequacy. Of his Nation, he said, “Now they’re going to see something that’s prideful.”

“A lot of people don’t even know we’re here,” Sachem Donald Williams Jr. said. “Now they will.”

‘Marking Our Territory’

Four members of the Council of Trustees—Mr. Polite, Mr. Gumbs and Mr. Williams were joined by Treasurer Seneca Bowen, plus tribal attorney Tela Troge—agreed on Thursday, May 9, to talk in detail about the project and what led to it.

Many details are off limits. Figures published in The Press last week—showing that the billboards will cost the tribe’s partner in the venture, Idon Media LLC, $3.5 million, and that the two entities will split $4.6 million in advertising revenue in the first year and a projected $78 million over a quarter century—were dismissed by the Nation’s leaders as “wholly inaccurate” and outdated. But Mr. Polite noted that a non-disclosure agreement prevents them from offering alternate numbers—at least until the billboards are completed.

They also deflected questions about timing. Crews have installed the support posts and electric for the pair of towering billboards, which will have two screens on each face. How soon will it be done? “As fast as possible” is the only reply.

But they were eager to defend the project as one that will bring a steady, significant flow of much-needed revenue to tribal coffers for important programs, and will do so with as small a footprint as possible—less than 500 square feet, they say.

Ms. Troge noted that the billboard will comply voluntarily with the town’s Dark Skies regulations and will feature state-of-the-art electronics, including dimming at night. The tribe also is hewing to state safety measures for roadside structures.

“We’re the first people of the Hamptons, and we’re always going to be here, and we want to be good neighbors, and we have been good neighbors, and we’ll continue to be good neighbors,” Mr. Polite said.

Added Mr. Williams of the signs’ messages, “We’re going to say ‘welcome’ when they come and ‘goodbye’ when they leave.”

The tribal leaders say the decision to call the towering structures “monuments” was not just an exercise in branding. “Everybody wants to call it a billboard, but for us it’s a monument,” Mr. Gumbs said. “It’s a marker—it’s marking our land. … We’re marking our territory.”

Some have used the term “gaudy,” a term he bristled at. Referring to nearby County Road 39, Mr. Gumbs said, “It’s just as gaudy. It’s not pretty. … It’s okay for the non-Indians to do it. It’s okay for the non-Indians to desecrate the land. … But when we do it? ‘Oh, you’re supposed to be the stewards of the land.’”

A nearby cellphone tower, just east of the Shinnecock Canal, is much taller than the proposed signs, he said, and erected for business purposes. “But that’s not an eyesore? … It’s hypocrisy.”

“We are the stewards of the land,” Mr. Polite said. “… I just think it’s laughable to say that we’re going to lose the moral high ground, when all we did was clear out some dead trees and put in a sign that encompasses less than 500 square feet.”

The tribe goes so far as saying the signs will serve as an “oasis” along a stretch of highway where billboards have been banned since the 1970s, with plantings and other amenities to dress them up.

What Makes An ‘Eyesore’?

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has said—and the tribal officials agreed—that the tribe first mentioned the billboard proposal a year ago, in a rundown of a series of economic development opportunities the tribe is considering or pursuing. They say tax-free gas stations are a possibility, along with a cannabis processing facility and other proposals.

Mr. Schneiderman said he told them then—and, again, tribal leaders confirm this—that the billboards would be the one proposal he would fight.

“But he had no valid reason for his opposition,” Mr. Gumbs said, noting that the supervisor referred to the signs as a potential “eyesore.” “That’s not a valid reason to us, because—we see an eyesore. From our perspective, this whole area around us is an eyesore.”

Mr. Polite noted that, as a lifelong resident and a graduate of Southampton High School, he’s particularly offended by the notion that what the Nation is planning is somehow out of character in a community that has become an international symbol of excess and wealth.

“To me, it’s hurtful. Growing up here—you know, I’m a Mariner, captain of the football team, played sports here, have friends—Coopers Farm Road used to be nothing but potato fields. Fowler’s used to be nothing but potato fields. Halsey Street used to have modest homes—now you have million-dollar homes on these quarter-acre lots.

“The whole dynamic of the Hamptons has changed, for me growing up here—and it wasn’t the Shinnecock Indians.”

He said the billboards were an appealing option for the tribe, both because they offered “a small footprint and a big economic gain,” but also because they offered a reliable stream of revenue—quickly. “We already have this money allocated in a budget for tribal programs,” he said. Any effort to fight them, he said, “It won’t just be a loss of money—it’ll literally be taking food off our tribal members’ tables.”

The tribe plans a revenue allocation plan for infrastructure and programs, which all tribe members will have to approve. Among the plans, Mr. Polite said, are the creation of a tribal police force, repairs to long-neglected roadways, an affordable housing program, education, health, and a child welfare program—“real social programs we’re able to do now.”

No individual tribe member will experience financial gain from the signs, he added. “This is not about us trying to drive a Bentley or Maserati, or have mansions. These are real-world consequences.”

Mr. Gumbs noted the “gulf” between the surrounding community and the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, where the last census showed 60 percent of the population below the poverty line. “Living in the richest community in America, it’s unacceptable for us to be in poverty, in any way. We’re not going to have it anymore. It’s done. The town can like it, lump it, whatever.”

He added, “Our neighbors around who feel that their sense of entitlement doesn’t entitle us to anything—that’s unacceptable.”

A Land Dispute

Economic development has been a source of friction between the tribe and the surrounding community dating back decades. The dispute in 1984 over the nascent effort to use “tribal sovereign power” to sell tax-free cigarettes to the public led to the Nation’s most lucrative business community 35 years later—smoke shops, including one owned by Mr. Gumbs, along Montauk Highway just outside Southampton Village, a major employer and economic driver for the tribe’s members.

In 2003, the idea of a gaming facility first became public, with Mr. Gumbs again a key supporter. The tribe had a ceremonial groundbreaking for a facility at Westwoods, a 96-acre property on the bluffs overlooking Peconic Bay. It has been a property in dispute over the years: For centuries, it was where Shinnecock settlements nearby harvested firewood, and it remains a site of cultural and religious significance where ceremonies are held.

But in the mid-1800s, a group of white landowners convinced a select group of Shinnecocks to sign over a 1,000-year lease on the land in exchange for outright ownership of Shinnecock Neck, the peninsula that makes up what is now the 800-acre Shinnecock Reservation. The tribe challenged the exchange as fraudulent, but for years the courts upheld the transaction—which, in the eyes of the courts, meant that the land was no longer “ancestral.” That became key in the debate over whether a gaming facility could be built there, a dispute that sparked a new legal battle.

To a degree, however, Ms. Troge, the tribe’s attorney, said the matter has been resolved since the tribe won federal recognition in October 2010—the genealogy and in-depth historical research needed for the effort clearly laid out the case that Westwoods is part of the tribe’s “aboriginal lands.”

In fact, the tribe says the same research has strengthened its argument that thousands of acres adjacent to the reservation—extending as far west as Quogue, potentially—represents “Niamuck,” also known as Canoe Place, which was a primary settlement for historic Shinnecocks.

That dispute, which the tribe sees as settled, but the courts have never resolved, could be significant to the billboard project, and not just because a tiny portion of Westwoods straddling Sunrise Highway is where they’re located.

Under The Radar

Mr. Gumbs and his colleagues on the Council of Trustees make no secret of the fact that the billboards are just the first in a series of economic development proposals: “That first win for our people. That’s going to send a message to our people as well, that, yes, we can do these things.”

It also will provide a steady flow of revenue, which will help fund gas stations, cannabis facilities—possibly even a gaming facility, though Mr. Polite stresses that while the tribe continues to explore gaming options elsewhere on Long Island, there are no plans to build a gaming facility at Westwoods.

But he flatly declined to rule that out as a future option.

“If we get more resources … I know that they’re scared we’re going to develop more of the Westwoods property, which is 96 acres of pristine property—we haven’t touched it at all, our development,” Mr. Polite said, referring to town officials.

Mr. Gumbs dismissed the town’s new eagerness to discuss alternatives to the billboards. “As soon as we do something, then everybody’s, like, ‘We have some ideas—let’s talk about other ways of doing economic development.’ And the same thing now—we’re back to the same thing. But it’s tired. It’s tired. We’ve had enough of it.”

“We can’t keep waiting and waiting for people to come with ideas to us,” Mr. Williams said. “We have ideas. We have projects that we’re going to complete. This is the first—and there’s ones right behind it. … It’s been lip service. That’s all it’s been. We said we’re tired of listening to that. We’ve got to move forward.”

But Mr. Gumbs sees something more at play.

“We’ve been under the radar, so to speak, for a long time. We have, as a Nation, not exerted our abilities to improve the lives of the people in our community,” he said. “We’re just taken for granted here. As long as we’re the ‘good little Indians’ that stay in the corner, everything is fine. But as soon as we want to do something economically …”

Mr. Gumbs added, “There’s this pattern that’s been established by the town to, really, hold us down economically. … It’s been the way that Southampton Town has been able to put their thumb on our necks.”

Why? “It’s about the potential of what we can become. They’re not stupid. They’ve looked around, they’ve seen what Foxwoods and Mohegan [Sun] and the Mashantucket Pequots have been able to do. The bottom line is, one-quarter of Connecticut’s budget is now reliant upon those two casinos up there. With financial strength comes power. We really think that’s what the factor is.”

He suggested that an influx of cash also could strengthen the tribe’s ability to fight a protracted legal battle over its “land claim.” It might argue in court that, as it did in a 2005 lawsuit, that thousands of acres of Southampton Town—including the Stony Brook Southampton College campus, the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and hundreds of private properties in Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills—were illegally taken from the tribe. If founded, the claim could be a fiscal windfall, or valuable leverage in winning approval for gaming facilities here or elsewhere.

Constant Contact

The tribal leaders say they will keep a line of communication open with the town, and have been regularly reaching out to the state over the project—without much success in the beginning.

Mr. Polite and Mr. Gumbs said the tribe contacted Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. in November, asking for help connecting with the appropriate state officials about the Sunrise Highway proposal. Mr. Thiele’s office attempted, without success, to get state officials to respond to the tribe.

Until 14 live trees and a cluster of dead ones, all infected with Southern pine beetles, along the highway were taken down by crews working for the tribe. That got the state’s attention—since then, “we’ve been in constant contact with them,” Mr. Polite said. With a laugh, he added, “Then we got the whole entire regional operation here—in suits.”

In April, the tribe met with a dozen regional State Department of Transportation officials, and has been directly working with them all along, asking for guidelines for safety protocols and keeping them informed of progress. The state so far hasn’t attempted to intervene, though the attorney general’s office and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office were said this week to be in discussions about whether the state has any authority to stop the work.

But Mr. Polite noted that the tribe is only working with the state on a voluntary basis and doesn’t recognize its authority over sovereign land, which they say Westwoods is. “We’ve made that very clear—we weren’t asking for their permission,” he said. “We are trying to work [with them], being good neighbors.”

“In all honesty, we don’t have to answer to the town,” Mr. Gumbs said. “To a certain extent, we don’t even have to answer to the state. We’re a federal tribe. That’s where this disconnect comes.”

The disconnect was evident, they said, when the Southampton Town supervisor approached them to try to resolve the situation with an offer: The town would purchase the portion of Westwoods along Sunrise Highway, Mr. Schneiderman said, using Community Preservation Fund revenues.

“It’s just a slap in the face,” said Ms. Troge, who noted that the tribe would never, and could not, consider a sale of ancestral lands.

Added Mr. Polite, “It’s just a fundamental misunderstanding of this relationship since 1640. To even, in 2019, come to the Shinnecock Nation, asking to buy more of the land that you’ve taken from us—it was an affront. It was an insult. We were shocked by it—we thought it was a joke at first.”

Sunrise Highway crosses Westwoods, and Ms. Troge maintains that the easement for the highway—and only for the pavement carrying vehicles, not a wider right-of-way—was an “illegal taking” in 1959. Both the state and federal government are not permitted to take Native American ancestral lands by eminent domain. An agreement struck at the time, they said, is invalid, because it was not subject to congressional action.

Which could give the tribe additional ammunition if the state attempts to stop the project. There are echoes of the upstate Seneca Nation and its battle over the New York State Thruway on its lands. “The bottom line: New York has a problem,” Mr. Gumbs said. “They made a mistake.”

Ready For A Fight

There is an irony that local officials opposed plans for a gaming facility at Westwoods in part because of the traffic it would generate to the site. The billboard proposal? It’s a “niche market,” tribal officials say, precisely because of the parade of year-round traffic that passes back and forth over the canal each year—traffic this project will take advantage of but not add to.

Forty-one local companies have expressed interest in advertising on the signs already, they say, noting that each side of each sign will have two screens, one for local and one for national advertising. “For anybody to say that townspeople don’t want it? They’re chomping at the bit,” Mr. Gumbs said.

The progress so far has “galvanized our community to move forward,” Trustee Seneca Bowen said. “They finally see something happen. We’ve had a lot of failed starts over the years. But now they see this, it’s real—there’s some pipes in the ground, and it’s a reality to our people.”

Of past economic development efforts, Mr. Williams said, “It’s like we go to the door, get to the door but don’t go on the other side.” The current Council of Trustees, continuing the work of the previous one, “just went right through the door.”

The erection of the two billboards in the Hamptons is a national story in the Native American community, said Mr. Gumbs, who is a regional vice president of the National Congress of American Indians: “Indian Country is watching us right now, to see how we handle this situation.”

Tribal officials say that despite concerns from local officials, and possible action from the state, they are confident that the law is on their side, and they are exempt not just from town restrictions, but also state and even federal highway rules, from which tribal lands are specifically exempt. The tribe has gone so far as to tell Southampton Town not to repeat an earlier mistake, sending an employee onto tribal lands to issue a stop-work order. Next time, they say, the town representative will be arrested for trespassing.

Mr. Polite acknowledged there still could be a fight over this latest plan to bring the tribe a taste of the prosperity it can see all around from its ancestral lands.

“Given our history, and the historical trauma, we’re never surprised if tomorrow the town or the state files an injunction.” He added, “But we’re damned prepared for it.”

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The Southampton Town Board is the real eyesore.
By themarlinspike (307), Northern Hemisphere on May 11, 19 7:50 AM
Out of those 41 companies, how many have signed a contract?
By April1 (154), Southampton on May 11, 19 10:13 AM
So Jay sat on his hands for over a year on this...And Fred Thiele was actually trying to push it forward...Was the rest of the town board aware? Vote!
By V.Tomanoku (728), southampton on May 11, 19 10:50 AM
So Jay sat on his hands for over a year on this...And Fred Thiele was actually trying to push it forward...Was the rest of the town board aware? Vote!
By V.Tomanoku (728), southampton on May 11, 19 10:51 AM
I wouldn’t be opposed to a monument of some sort in honor of the nation, but it obviously not really about that.
The nation stated that the billboards advertising wouldn’t just be for their smoke shops? It would be to advertise everyone else? That’s even less acceptable. You put that thing on a local road like that? Is the argument that that shouldn’t matter because they claim other things the town has done are not desirable, so why criticize this one? Bad argument. ...more
By resident9 (10), hampton bays on May 11, 19 11:16 AM
Jay and the Town Board are totally powerless in this. Blame Fred Thiele if you want to blame a local politician. He knew, and is supposed to represent us in Albany. Vote him out if anyone. But really, just give the Shinnecocks their due. They saw an opportunity and took it. Just like every other developer in our area. No different. But there moral high ground is now fully gone. Again, they are now just like every other developer in our area. After their own $ interests and don’t care ...more
By CPalmer (62), Southampton on May 11, 19 11:25 AM
Wow talk about a one sided "puff" piece! What I read is nothing but hate, anger, and envy. Makes the Shinnecock Nation seem very small and short sighted. It's only about the money.

As stated by Ms. Troge she "maintains that the easement for the highway—and only for the pavement carrying vehicles, not a wider right-of-way”—was an “illegal taking” in 1959." This is an illogical argument. If the easement was an "illegal taking" so was the land used for the pavement. ...more
By nobody200 (10), Southampton on May 11, 19 12:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
As they say, there are three sides to every story. I think the crux is when you're dealing in vice (personal level), it's going to attract attention. Usually negative attention. Smoking is seen as a vice, as is gambling. Farming or restaurants ordinarily are not. Honestly, these "monuments" really do not qualify as rural or bucolic. As far as 1959 agreement being invalid, is the federal recognition ex post facto?

BTW, part of this oasis' character is it's lack of billboards.
By Mr. Z (11278), North Sea on May 12, 19 1:38 AM
LOL, "character" sounds like the euphemism Hampton's racists and elitists use to justify exclusion and denial of property rights of "undesirables".

Typical leftist, advocating and attacking everyone else with slanderous accusations about their character and motivations (IE, those who object to illegal immigration are inherently racist, according to you), but when it's your turn to suffer the slightest impact by this marginalized group, your true colors come to the fore.
By MoronEliminator (185), Montauk on May 13, 19 10:40 AM
Property rights are one thing. Decorum and decency are another.

And, you're full of ****.
By Mr. Z (11278), North Sea on May 13, 19 10:48 PM
If only there was some kind of fund the town controlled that would enable them to buy properties up in order to preserve the integrity of the community! Lol clowns. A bunch of faux outrage. We all know how this will end. Good for the Shinnecock, they’re better at negotiating than any of the former bars or nightclubs apparently.
By banned (185), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 2:11 AM
The outcome of this case will depend on what the courts decide the "Westwoods" property IS - - - a mere freehold or sovereign Indian territory.

To date, its status is undetermined. (An earlier state decision that it was NOT sovereign land was vacated for lack of jurisdiction.) If it's sovereign territory then the tribe has a case.

So why hasn't an injunction stopping work been generated at the state or federal level while its status is sorted out? Surely there is SOME judge ...more
By highhatsize (4002), East Quogue on May 12, 19 3:02 AM
Twin Nails In The Coffin Of Southampton
May 12, 19 9:03 AM appended by themarlinspike
An appropriate payback for the already blighted looking Section 8 housing project on Sandy Hollow Road. Down with this Town Board.
By themarlinspike (307), Northern Hemisphere on May 12, 19 9:03 AM
Jay went on a very public attack against not just the PROJECT but the PEOPLE behind this project, in writing, on TV, at public meetings in Hampton Bays. I find it disgusting and unbecoming a Town Supervisor. He didn't know all the facts when he came to the Hampton Bays Civic Association meeting when he was asked questions. In November, we all should boycott Jay.
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 9:41 AM
What about our real estate values? Do you actually think that anyone would want to buy our home with an obtrusive 60ft sign that is lit 24/7 in the backyard? I think not. So who's going to make up the difference to us, that's the question that doubt will ever be addressed. Very sad that they or NY State do not think about those that it impacts. It's always about $$$
By ToniQ (9), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 10:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am not saying that the signage is or is not appropriate and certainly, I hope that it does not interfere with anyone's quality of life or property values, but it is just related to the dysfunctional leadership of the Town. There are two sides to every story, but publicly criticizing people when they are not around to defend themselves in unprofessional and personally rude and arrogant.
When you compare this to their political appointed Zoning Board of Appeals "rubber stamping" applications ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 2:19 PM
Directions to my new $1.5 million dollar townhouse on the canal " head east on 27 and then make the first right past the large neon bill boards." We can have a few drinks and discuss how my townhouse is now worth half what I paid".

HBBA is great group and has done wonderful work. But it now wakes up to the issues of Hampton Bays as it and others turned their backs on CCHB along with the Civic and Chamber of Commerce.
By Hamptonsway (52), Southampton on May 12, 19 8:30 PM
Rather than the CPF buys the Westwoods property at fair market value, why not donate those same funds in annual payments to the Shinnecock Nation and have a mutual agreement to preserve the property undeveloped for as long as the money is annually donated. Plus, when the tolls begin at the canal for the SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION PRICING plan, the Shinnecock’s get a percentage. That’s a win-win deal for all parties. The native Americans in the USA have legitimate reasons to seek compensation ...more
By Non-Political (102), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 11:08 AM
Much like The Mueller Probe, it's all over, case closed.
By themarlinspike (307), Northern Hemisphere on May 12, 19 11:49 AM
If the Supervisor was aware that that The Tribal Leaders were contemplating erecting two signs on their property why did he not have his legal team research the law as iit related to this project.Coming to Hampton Bays and talking about a protest is insulting to the tribe and to the residents of Southampton.Our elected officials are failing us both at the State and local level.The Shinnecock Nation are in need of an infusion of capital and who are we to deny them this right.after a while the sleeping ...more
By watchdog1 (524), Southampton on May 12, 19 1:16 PM
The problem is when the Lion wanders off the nature preserve and starts interfering with the local villagers. Unfortunately, it never ends well for the Lion.
By nobody200 (10), Southampton on May 12, 19 1:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Isn't it the case here that the villagers wandered onto the the Lion's preserve? THAT never ends well for the Villagers especially after a long hibernation.
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 2:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Luckily that is why the villagers get to define the boundaries of the preserve. BTW you need to watch more Nat Geo, Lions don't hibernate. Bears hibernate. Lions just lay around all day. It's the lionesses that do all the hunting/work.
By nobody200 (10), Southampton on May 12, 19 2:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
LOL - about the lion hibernating - my partner and I always say "don't go poking the bear".so I had bears on the brain.". The courts will decide what the boundaries are not the HBBA or the Town of Southampton Board. ..and BTW - the leadership of the HBBA may be made as h*ll and not going to take it anymore", but they don't want to get wet so they changed the date to Wednesday.
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 3:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
should be "mad not made"....
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 12, 19 3:15 PM
Step 1- Start Wildly Unpopulari Project
Step 2- Claim Your Survival Depends On Said Project
Step 3- Get Paid
By even flow (821), East Hampton on May 12, 19 7:21 PM
I purchased my property in Southampton Town the same as them. Why am I held to codes and permit requirements?
By BlackLab (39), Southampton on May 12, 19 9:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
You mean the Shinnecock Indians? You are wondering why - because you bought property - you don't have rights to your "land". HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA Oh my gosh....crack a book. We STOLE their land from them. STOLE IT. Sailed on in and F&&KING STOLE it.

Let them build whatever the hell they want and I hope to all that is good and holy your properties all lose value. Serves you right you entitled bunch of arrogant, elitist ass***
By Polandspring (85), Southampton on May 21, 19 10:39 AM
The tribe is only privileged to erect the billboards if it is immune from state and federal law. That immunity depends on whether or not the Wildwoods property is sovereign Indian land. In the absence of a legal resolution of its status, the tribe's land use must conform to civil law.

So why is construction continuing?

Fred? Kenny? Lee?

Get a stop-work order, post cops at the job site, and give Lance the Memorial Day circus that he is looking for. Then we can all go ...more
By highhatsize (4002), East Quogue on May 13, 19 3:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
The tribe is only privileged to erect the billboards if it is immune from state and federal law. That immunity depends on whether or not the Wildwoods property is sovereign Indian land. In the absence of a legal resolution of its status, the tribe's land use must conform to civil law.

So why is construction continuing?

Fred? Kenny? Lee?

Get a stop-work order, post cops at the job site, and give Lance the Memorial Day circus that he is looking for. Then we can all go ...more
By highhatsize (4002), East Quogue on May 13, 19 3:41 AM
I hope they don't force them to stop putting them up until they are fully built and paid for! Then they will be forced to take them down When NYDOT says they are illegal and pose a SAFETY hazard. Anything that has to do with safety a judge will side with the state. https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/engineering/real-estate/repository/Part%20150-Book%20Copy.pdf
TITLE 17 TRANSPORTATION
§150.7 Sign spacing restrictions.
(b)On interstate highways and controlled access highways on the ...more
By rrrglynnn (11), Hampton Bays on May 13, 19 12:50 PM
They will be permanent and will be there forever. Nothing more here to see, drive on.
By themarlinspike (307), Northern Hemisphere on May 13, 19 12:58 PM
Haha I don't think so. It's a safety hazard any judge will side with the state. Just like how if you blow though a school bus sign or speed in a school zone. It gets thrown out of court. Not even our friend Mr. Cuomo could keep his signs. It wont happen right away, but they will be taken down.
By rrrglynnn (11), Hampton Bays on May 13, 19 1:15 PM
How is it a safety issue? There are millions of things on the roadways that grab our attention. You have nothing there and the judge you speak of doesn't exist.
By lursagirl (206), southampton on May 14, 19 2:39 PM
Ummm it is something called the law that says it's a safety issue. Your opinion on what is safe and what is not doesn't really matter. It is there in plain text. If NY state doesn't comply with it the federal government will pull highway funding from the state. They won't let that happen over two signs. If it weren't near that spot near an on and off ramp they probably could get away with putting the signs up legally. Right and there is no judge in the state or federal level who decides these types ...more
By rrrglynnn (11), Hampton Bays on May 14, 19 7:09 PM
How is it a safety issue? Have you every been west of Hampton Bays? I would like you to get in your little (or probably BIG), foreign car, grab yourself an overpriced coffee and drive just a little bit west or hell go to Connecticut. Billboards everywhere. Everywhere. When you pass Suffolk County Community College you see flashing sign - register for classes...blah blah. But seriously - go to any other place and billboards are just part of the landscape. You won't even notice after a few weeks. ...more
By Polandspring (85), Southampton on May 21, 19 10:45 AM
Another folly, the only thing they ever made money on was tobacco. Museum, failed, garden center, failed. Boycott the advertisers.
By zeke (35), southampton on May 13, 19 5:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
The museum is still there, it’s not failed. Do you have the same criticism for a non- native business that fails? No. Very selective
By Fred s (2463), Southampton on May 13, 19 5:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
I was wondering the same thing about the Townhouses. Is it the developer that raised the issue that finally got Jay's attention and now stands in righteous indignation? He never took a stand on any of the other eyesores around the community. I agree that HBBA does a great job planting flowers, but the leadership often oversteps their role in government operations even though they are a 501(c)(3). I also find it odd that they say they didn't get involved int eh squalor and overcrowding since it ...more
May 13, 19 7:14 AM appended by G.A.Lombardi
this was in response to Hamptonsway's comment above
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 13, 19 7:14 AM
PLZ STOP with the boycotting nonsense. Why should we boycott our local Tribe , or any of the future advertisers when Ive seen a local business owners excavating trucks, with a changed business name, still snowplowing our roads! His business is right down the road from the school and he's not on the registered sex offender list. Our Town/County allow this business to snow plow and yet nobodys pitching a fit about that. Complain about something substantial.
By toes in the water (805), southampton on May 13, 19 7:20 AM
*makes more popcorn*
By Preliator Lives (389), Obamavillie on May 13, 19 7:56 AM
2 members liked this comment
It seems to me that Jay skillfully orchestrated yet another circus, this time at the expense of the Shinnecock Nation - maybe to cover up for his administration's incompetence or to prepare for his next career in show business when he loses the election in November.
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 13, 19 9:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
Boy oh boy, look at all the liberal bigots eager to snuff the attempt of this marginalized group to become self sufficient. It's a sign on a highway, big deal.

27 is about as scenic as any other four lane highway in the country, that is to say, not at all. A thin buffer of trees between an ugly road and the typical low end suburban sprawl abutting it.

You want everyone else to suffer at the hands of the policies you seek to impose, an acceptance of mass illegal immigration among ...more
By MoronEliminator (185), Montauk on May 13, 19 10:52 AM
Moron, I’m not following. Where did you pick up that it’s liberals that are complaining the most? Fill us in on your super powers.
By Fred s (2463), Southampton on May 13, 19 1:09 PM
I like how they want to advertise the tribe, and then you get there to see all the "No Trespassing" signs at every road. You can drive through to buy cigarettes, but don't step onto their property on non Pow Wow days... Or else! And don't venture too close from bay side.... Might hear a bullet whizz past your ear. Very welcoming.
By CandDHB (3), Hampton Bays on May 13, 19 1:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well it is private property - so some areas are designed to accommodate patrons of businesses while others are not . I'm guessing that you would not want anyone who felt like it coming in to your back yard or driveway to explore or hang out.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (662), southampton on May 13, 19 2:07 PM
2 members liked this comment
That’s funny, I go on the Rez all the time. I have never been threatened or harassed by anyone. There is one big annoying thing though, why does everyone have to wave at you? It’s unsettling, every car waves, I guess it’s their way of saying keep out.
By Fred s (2463), Southampton on May 13, 19 1:49 PM
This article, as others have, mentions the route of Sunrise Highway in this area as being an easement with the amount of property controlled by it being a matter of debate. This would be quite unique in that the normal process for government to obtain land for public use is through voluntary sale or through the process eminent domain. Why was this property treated differently?

If there is actually an easement controlling the property was there a financial consideration given for it at ...more
May 14, 19 11:25 PM appended by VOS
Federal recognition of the Shinnecock nation does nothing to answer the questions asked but may add a few to the debate.
By VOS (1184), WHB on May 13, 19 11:25 PM
The Sinnecock Nation is now federally recognized and I believe many of your questions are answered based on court decisions already.
By G.A.Lombardi (432), Hampton Bays on May 14, 19 8:52 AM
As long as the state refuses to comment what's to stop the tribe from continuing construction? They're being built, might as well get used to it, I don't blame them at all for trying to make money. Not crazy about the idea but town government caused it with their ineptitude. Slow clap
By rn1967 (1), Hampton Bays on May 14, 19 4:49 PM
Ok ,today was one of the first non-rainy weekdays since the billboard posts have been finished, but the signs have not yet been installed. Why not? You have to assume that the tribe would want to install them as quick as possible, right? One of the 27East articles talked about concrete footers being installed. If this is the case, they may be waiting for the concrete to reach optimal hardness which is ~28 days. IF, this is the case it gives NYS some time to get its *ss in gear.. Hopefully this is ...more
By longtimelocal (48), Southampton on May 14, 19 7:40 PM
You're right they have stoped construction. I've noticed that too. However that is irrelevant. Whether they go up or not doesn't really going to make a difference on what their fate will be. If they decide they are illegal (which is pretty likely from what I read and researched) they can tell them to take them down just as easy as telling them to stop building them.
By rrrglynnn (11), Hampton Bays on May 14, 19 8:55 PM
Muddy grass feels good on barefeet : )
By Aeshtron (317), Southampton on May 14, 19 9:54 PM
There has to be a better way. If this is a move to make the larger community work with the Shinnecock instead of against them, then let it play out, let’s sit down and talk. But we have to leave certain things at the door or there’s no point in talking. Whites have to shed their complacent attitude of lip service to Shinnecock development that’s quickly forgotten when a crisis is past. The tribe has to leave its guns outside (literally in some cases) and shed its prickly hostility, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1940), Quiogue on May 14, 19 10:57 PM
I have one to add to the descreration and hypocrisy on the part of the "economic development" of the CR39 corrridor... The latest PSEG electric project that built MASSIVE CAVERNS near hill station road to increase the electric supply. Its disgusting. Shinnnecocks never did any thing like that to their land.
By deKooning (97), southampton on May 16, 19 11:28 AM
I would invite you to look at any aerial map to reference that section of the Westwoods property approximately 1500 feet north of Sunrise Highway. You may also be interested to look at the area north of there adjacent to the beach.
By VOS (1184), WHB on May 17, 19 5:37 AM
Its all about revenue and after it is up and operational I'll come back with how to stifle the flow. Look at those wonderful structures where cigarettes are sold. Con Ex Containers and all manner of shoddy structures. Definitely an enhancement to the bucolic look of the local area. Stay tuned this one may be short lived.
By Crusader30 (1), Speonk on May 16, 19 11:59 AM
How about a toll booth?
By yogi1 (13), on May 16, 19 3:07 PM
How about just getting jobs and working for a living to improve their economic conditions instead of destroying the look of the community. It’s bad enough they created the eyesore signage on Montauk highway.
By Ernie (86), Hampton Bays on May 18, 19 12:16 AM
Suffolk Designer Lighting, Tent Sale, Renovation Sample Sale