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Oct 28, 2019 1:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Former Southampton Village Mayors Ask Warren To Not Lift Surfing Restrictions

Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren and Trustee Mark Parash did not see eye-to-eye when it came to lifting a law surrounding surfing, from the books. GREG WEHNER
Oct 30, 2019 10:37 AM

Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren’s recent proposal to lift surfing restrictions in the village drew opposition from two former village mayors last week, yet neither was able to convince their 36-year-old successor that he should consider otherwise.

They did, however, seem to have a receptive audience among the other four Village Board members, who seemed to agree with their argument and convinced the new mayor to push off any action to repeal the law until next month.

The Village Board held a public hearing on Tuesday, October 22, on a measure that would abolish a law from the 1970s that prohibits surfing between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. from June 15 through September 15. Instead, it would allow the board to place surfing restrictions on certain beaches in the village, but only when needed.

“I would love to have this language lifted from our books,” Mr. Warren said, acknowledging that the code was not relevant at this time of year. “I don’t like the language that is in our books.”

Former Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving spoke out against the measure during a public comment portion of the meeting and said that, as a surfer who has been surfing in the village since long before Mr. Warren was born, he understood the inherent safety issues when surfers and swimmers share the water.

While many surfboards are made out of fiberglass or epoxy, those made of soft foam — the same as “boogie boards” — appear safer than the real deal. Either board, however, could pose the same threat if they get loose and strike a swimmer.

“If you are going to have someone swimming at a beach and another person surfing, [when] that board comes in … [and] you get hit with those, you’re out of commission,” Mr. Irving said. “The purpose of the previous law was so we could designate areas to surf. There was never, in Southampton, a moratorium on surfing. This way, we could control the safety issue of surfers and swimmers.”

In August, many surfers were stunned when Village Police officers began actively enforcing a section of the code that prohibited surfing along a nearly one-mile stretch of beach between Halsey Neck Lane and Old Town Road during the summer months. The rule has long been in place but rarely enforced.

Mr. Warren chose to support the surfers rather than the police department and has since been moving toward the abolishment of surfing restrictions altogether.

He has also been moving toward allowing numerous surf schools to operate in the village, as opposed to just one, as has been done in the past.

Mr. Irving said if the schools are getting beach parking passes and taking up many of the available spots for residents to park, it can become an issue. “If you plan to promote surfing and promote the surf camps, you’re going to have chaos between parking and safety issues,” he said.

Former Mayor Mark Epley also spoke during the public hearing and asked the sitting board what the current status of the lawsuits surrounding driving on the beaches was.

The village was named in two lawsuits when Mr. Epley was mayor that aimed to stop beach driving at the Picnic Area in the western portion of the village. The people who filed the lawsuit against the village, the Southampton Town Trustees and the State Department of Environmental Conservation, claimed that it was unfair to allow beach driving at the Picnic Area during the day in the summer months when it is banned everywhere else in the town between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the same months.

When none of the board members could provide Mr. Epley with a status of the lawsuit, he explained that his administration did not make changes to the surfing restriction portion of the code because of the lawsuits — any changes to the section of code were reserved until the lawsuits were resolved.

“You have the ability already in the code to do a resolution to identify beaches, exactly how you are talking about,” Mr. Epley said. “Now you’re modifying the chapter in here that is currently under fire in a lawsuit, the beach driving lawsuit, and I would say, stay away from it.”

But his plea fell on the current mayor’s deaf ears.

“There you have it — our two former mayors giving us some advice,” Mr. Warren said. “The good news is that we do have a new board, so we can make our own decisions.”

When it came to the board taking action to lift the code, though, everyone besides Mr. Warren chose to hold off.

Village Board member Mark Parash said he was not in favor of repealing the law because not having a law did not make sense — Village Board members Richard Yastrzemski and Kimberly Allan agreed.

“We don’t want lawlessness,” Mr. Parash said. “It’s not hurting us right now.

Village Board member Andrew Pilaro echoed Mr. Parash and said, “having a law is better than not.”

Although Mr. Warren was ready to take action and approve lifting the restrictions, he agreed with the other board members to adjourn the public hearing on the matter until it reconvenes on November 26 at 6 p.m.

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LOL. SHvillage cannot ban surfing anyway so it doesn't really matter.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Oct 28, 19 3:40 PM
the law should not be lifted!!!!! The Board is Correct .. Don't listen to the Mayor.

They just need to designate a spot or spots each spring. Very simple.

Focus on better issues.. Most of those surfer don't live in the Village...
By Local247 (39), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 3:51 PM
not only can SHvillage not ban surfing (anywhere) - people who do not live in SH village can surf within the village whenever they like.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Oct 28, 19 4:22 PM
Local247, the surf spots change all the time. Designating a spot is only good if the waves are breaking in that spot all summer. The village does not own the ocean, just a few parking beaches.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 4:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Seems like all this nonsense is designed to keep the locals and surf school suppressed .
By lo-cal (78), southampton on Oct 28, 19 4:33 PM
The surf school can have there campers meet them off site and run them over on a small bus or van, to alleviate any parking issue. I do agree that the surfers should be mixing with the bathers/swimmers. Reverse the thinking and have designated swim zones so surfers can steer clear. Epley has a point and perhaps the Village lawyer hold be consulted about changes while in litigation.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 28, 19 4:38 PM
How about seating the committee charged with coming up with some solutions to the surf school debacle? Get off your ass Jesse!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 28, 19 4:46 PM
Enforced designated surfing areas makes more sense than an unenforced ban.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 6:28 PM
If you’ve ever surfed, you know designating a surf area never works. Different swell direction makes places break differently. Surfers are out 12 months of the year, not just 3 months during the summer. Input is fine, but if the results don’t impact you , it makes no sense.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 6:39 PM
The Village can ban carrying a surfboard. They have no jurisdiction on the water.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 7:56 PM
Old Man Yells at Cloud
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Oct 28, 19 8:58 PM
It's pretty hairy in there, it's Charlie's point.
Charlie Don't Surf !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Nov 1, 19 8:23 AM
Slowly pushing out the locals
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 28, 19 11:24 PM
The Village code states that there is to be "no commercial activity" on Village beaches with the exception of the concession stand at Cooper's beach. An exception has been made , not sure if the Code has actually been modified, for caterers but a permit must be issued for EACH event and there are conditions placed on said permit . Not sure how the surf school mess fits in here legally. No one is against kids learning how to surf and learning about ocean safety, the issue is how to legally allow ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 29, 19 12:40 PM
What about the two beach clubs? How about the yoga on the beach at the beach club. How does that impact guys who take out duck hunters for a fee, or fishing guides? They all have to go over a beach, not necessarily an ocean beach, but still a beach.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 29, 19 12:50 PM
Yoga on the beach is in violation of Village code but is somehow allowed, Not sure about the beach clubs, fishing guides on Village beaches are in violation ,not aware of any duck hunting guides gunning on the beach.Care to elaborate?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 29, 19 9:29 PM
“They all have to go over a beach, not necessarily an ocean beach, but still a beach.”if you want to “split hairs” that’s the point I’m making. You are fixated on surf schools. Our waters and beaches have plenty of commercial endeavors going on. Times change, uses change.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 29, 19 10:18 PM
Then the Village Code must change.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Oct 30, 19 6:44 AM
Whoa, pull in the reins and take a breath. Slow down on the firing, won't have anyone at village hall.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 30, 19 6:25 PM
Where did this amateur Mayor come from? He has no idea what Southampton Villlage people feel. What a disaster.
By niblicksreach (14), Southampton on Oct 31, 19 3:42 PM
Fred S you are the man! All the kooky grumps been hiding all fall when we have some decent swell not summer mush! Times change why regulate surfers teaching surfing, for two months, when our towns being completely exploited in every other way by outsiders. Any surfer with a problem should be able to hash it out at the beach, now you guys are wasting time and money on nonsense. All you've done is lose the respect of your fellow surfers by failing to communicate directly.
By flyslocal631 (1), Southampton on Oct 31, 19 5:36 PM
Fly, on our way to montauk today the boys made that exact point. It’s surfers fighting surfers.it makes no sense.everyone has got to get a grip.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 31, 19 5:54 PM
Fly, on our way to montauk today the boys made that exact point. It’s surfers fighting surfers.it makes no sense.everyone has got to get a grip.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Oct 31, 19 5:54 PM
Agreed! There is a common bond between all of us who love our beaches and surfing, now we need to straighten out the mayhem that occurs when the sanctioned surf school plus the guys giving private lessons plus a couple of shady , out of town kooks giving lessons plus the rest of the surfing community all end up in the same place. Watching kids learn to surf is a great thing, not sure if anyone isn't stoked by that,we just need to hammer out a plan that accommodates everyone .
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 1, 19 6:35 AM
Surfing at it, no
Driving on it, yes

I don't get it.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Nov 1, 19 7:18 AM
Key word is “sanctioned “. I don’t get why it’s a problem if the schools have a permit.As to the mayhem, I haven’t experienced it. Go to the air base during a big swell, or any break that holds a big swell, that’s mayhem. Grommets groveling in crappy summertime sure is just groveling.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 8:03 AM
Those ''groveling Grommets'' were you once.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Nov 1, 19 8:05 AM
Until this past Summer when the Village declined to issue a permit for a surf school, Flying Point was the only legal one. Their permit limited the amount of students and hours or operation, Monday through Friday from 9 till noon at one designated area. From the beginning the terms of the permit were blatantly violated, too many students and lessons going on 7 days a week , sometimes until late in the afternoon at multiple locations plus a thriving business of "private" lessons. For some reason ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 1, 19 1:00 PM
Even flow, kids are called grommets. Groveling is a term used for surfing in crappy waves. It’s not an insult , it’s surfers lingo.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 8:16 AM
That’s a contradiction, kids flailing on soft tops , but you like seeing kids learning to surf. It’s a changing dynamic , worldwide , as well as our beaches. The surf is crowded regardless of surf camps. You can cite all the rules and regulations, it’s not going to eliminate one surfer or surf school. As I stated above there’s all kinds of stuff that goes on daily on the beaches. Be it perceived to be “illegal” or not. It’s the year 2019 not 1978. It’s ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 1:20 PM
II agree that calling the police over illegal surf lessons is not the right thing to do,enforcement is up to ordinance control. The only legal surf lessons/school happened in August after the Village issued ONE permit that allowed lessons at Cryder, the rest of the circus was in violation of Village code, the same set of rules that forced the elimination of gas leaf blowers, controls noise related to night clubs and assorted other activities. Not sure why you're adamant that the commercial activities ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 1, 19 3:57 PM
I’m not adamant about the surf schools being above the law. I’m saying it’s a non issue. From reading the comments on here, most were complaining about parking. As I stated times change and there’s a multitude of stuff going on the beaches. As to leaf blowers, I wish they’d outlaw them. Most obnoxious things out there.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 4:03 PM
surf schools on long island are baby sitting services, nothing more.
surfers regulate themselves via ability level.
baby sitters can be helpful but if the sitters are irresponsible they facilitate chaos.
baby sitters have a documented history of profiting at the expense of other surfers.
baby sitters will continue to exist, unfortunately - selfish and self serving surfers will continue to exploit what they claim to cherish, wrecking things at scale (they know who they are)
if ...more
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Nov 1, 19 5:25 PM
Maybe you should go to the beach next summer and express your views to the surf school instructors. Many are world class surfers and world travelers. But I’m sure you’d rather denigrate them anonymously online . Many are my friends, they’d appreciate you calling them out.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 1, 19 7:49 PM
I've watched most of the players in this situation grow up and am proud of the businesse(s) they have grown. That being said the situation the last few years has been chaotic and the circus at the Bathing Corp this past summer was just f'ed up. All that's being asked for is to adhere to the terms of the permit issued, nothing more, nothing less.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 1, 19 8:22 PM
I’ve watched them too. From stick figure gromms, to full grown men. I know they take there job seriously. Teaching ocean safety and surfing. It’s a few people with nothing better to do dividing everyone and causing this fake concern. The faux concern is misguided. Times have changed.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Nov 2, 19 6:37 AM
who does not like to see people enjoying the ocean surf? homeowners who destroyed dune habitat and pushed the nesting piping plovers to the foot of the dune on the seaward side? ridiculous and ignorant. how did they ever tolerate Russian trawlers off shore of our beaches?
By sstorch (49), water milll on Nov 2, 19 7:08 AM
Irving and Epley giving advice? lol
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 4, 19 11:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 4, 19 5:43 PM
Plain and simple , designate 'swimming only' locations . Surfers can go everywhere else ...
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Nov 8, 19 6:59 AM