Montauk United

Providing Montauk Residents a Means to Speak and Act as One!

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Airport Questionnaire

Posted by John Stikeman on October 7, 2017 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The folllowing is a Montauk United sponsored questionnaire sent to the six candidates for the East Hampton Town Board. An analysis of the results will be published on our website as soon as the results are available.


MONTAUK UNITED


As a service to the residents of Montauk, MONTAUK UNITED requests all Town Board candidates to respond to the following questionnaire. Upon completion, please sign, date and return the completed questionnaire, in the preaddressed and stamped envelope, no later than October 15, 2017 or, if you prefer, via email. Unanswered questionnaires and questions will be categorized as “no response”. All data will be published at MONTAUKUNITED.ORG and in the East Hampton Star.


1: I believe Montauk residents are entitled to the same degree of Town Board support, attention and protection from aircraft noise as historically provided to other East Hampton Town residents.

_______________ YES NO_________________


2: If elected, under no circumstances will I support an increase in aircraft traffic at the Montauk Airport due to any future proposed actions by the E.H. Town Board.

________________YES NO_________________


3: I do not support the closure of the E.H. Airport.

________________YES NO__________________


4: If elected I will support the ANCA, Part 161 airport noise control application process which will cost, at a minimum of $1.5 - $2 million dollars.

________________YES NO___________________


5: If a Part 161 application process is approved by the Town Board, there must be a monetary cap on funds to be expended on the project.

________________YES NO___________________


6: I believe the Town of East Hampton should purchase the Montauk Airport.

________________YES NO___________________


Comments_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Signature____________________ Date_________________



Thank- You for your cooperation,

MONTAUK UNITED



Airport Letter

Posted by John Stikeman on September 16, 2017 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

From: Tom Bogdan, MONTAUK UNITED.ORG 631 668 3290


To the Editor,


Quiet Skies, an anti E.H. airport special interest group has attacked the veracity of Montauk United and its efforts in defending the interests of Montauk and its citizens. In order to separate relevant fact from insinuation, the following is the basis for Montauk United involvement.


Both Montauk and the anti EH airport special interest groups have the same goal: to provide protection from the horrendous problem of increased helicopter traffic. The difference is the special interest groups already have the problem and are attempting any and all ways to rid themselves of it. The groups have spent huge amounts of time and money in lobbying the EH Town Board to restrict helicopter flights at the EH Airport. Conceding to these efforts the Board passed legislation limiting EH helicopter activity to one landing per helicopter per week, an action that would reduce overall helicopter activity by 85% or over 3,000+ flights per year. After Town Board spending of over $2 million dollars in legal fees in support of the above legislation, for whatever reasons, the legislation failed judicial sanction. As quoted by the Town Supervisor, the legislation “is dead and over.” Within a month of its failure, the special interest groups , again in unanimous conjunction with the Town Board, are hard at work exploring alternate methods to restrict helicopters at the EH airport. Included in these alternate strategies is a special interest group effort to close the entire EH airport facility thereby tremendously increasing the number of both fixed wing and helicopter flights that will be diverted to other airport destinations.


Montauk United’s concern is that all of the above Town Board and special interest activities ignore and fail to address the social and economic implications the restricted helicopters will have on Montauk if they succeed in their efforts. . Whether intentional or not, premediated or unplanned, their restriction strategies are not solutions but merely a transfer of a serious problem from one part of East Hampton to another. The only result being a EH special interest problem will instantly morph into a Montauk problem.


When queried in a MU sponsored telephone poll, over 30 Long Island aviation professionals , when assessing the issues, overwhelmingly agree that if commercial helicopters were denied access to the EH Airport, Montauk would be their favored alternate landing destination. Professional pilots presently flying the actual commercial helicopters to EH airport also agreed they would favor Montauk. Most importantly, executives and owners of the commercial helicopter companies presently servicing EH airport (the very same group causing the problems) also agreed they would transfer helicopter flights to Montauk. While all of the above professional groups clearly favored East Hampton Airport, Montauk would be their chosen alternate destination if not permitted access. The Montauk alternative is a fact, not a guess, not a supposition and certainly not a means to confuse agitate or mislead the people of Montauk. It is a clearly stated factual course of reaction to any future helicopter East Hampton flight restrictions as stated by industry professionals.


Who really is misleading the public? Quiet skies along with other anti-airport special interest groups have constantly claimed an East Hampton following/-membership of thousands (plural) of people. Montauk United believes, special interest E.H. citizen support is far smaller and consists mainly of property owners living in areas near the airport. MU believes they have inflated their numbers through the inclusion of other Long Island villages and towns that are affected by like helicopter problems. The primary responsibility and obligation of the EH Town Board is to the legitimate citizens of the Town of East Hampton of which Montauk is a far larger citizen segment and economic base than the entire anti-airport special interest groups combined. Montauk United can readily provide proof of its own 2,400+ Montauk citizen membership and the additional thousands of Montauk citizens who are a legitimate part of the East Hampton Town voting base that will be negatively affected if the Board continues on it present helicopter restrictive course. Montauk United challenges Quiet Skies and the other special interest groups to verify the legitimacy of their claims. Real people, actual certifiable citizens; the legitimate voting public of the Town of East Hampton, not mechanically produced mass robotic letters of complaint, dubious statistics or the inclusion of foreign population bases with no legal, moral or civic attachment to the Town of East Hampton.


MU is very much aware and concerned of the plight and problems the above special interest groups are experiencing. No matter the size of the group affected, the noise issues are enormously invasive and incredibly tragic that no one should have to experience. They have every right to and deserve effective relief from their airport problems. Montauk United and the people of Montauk pledge unconditional support in any and all efforts at finding a solution. However, it must be an honest and far solution, not a transfer, and certainly not a political strategy that aims to turn an East Hampton special interest problem into a Montauk problem.


In terms of airport issues, Montauk United believes the best interests of the citizens of Montauk, a legitimate part of the Town of East Hampton, have been ignored and ill served by the present Town Board in favor of these small special interest groups who have the money and power to demand their wishes be met. Montauk United will take significant electoral action in the coming weeks to unite its membership and the entire voting citizenship of Montauk in expressing their anxiety and concern. Montauk United will communicate, and share with all its citizens all relevant candidate responses in determining their position and commitment in assuring that the citizens of Montauk receive the same respect, attention, and protection that every and all citizens of the Town of East Hampton are entitled.


Citizens of Montauk, talk to your friends and neighbors, encourage them to participate and support our united cause at MONTAUKUNITED.ORG.

Airport

Posted by Bruce Lee on May 25, 2017 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (6)

Sorry Montauk residents---You might consider lobbying the EH Town into buying the Montauk airport--and then when the EH airport closes---Montauk's will close as well. You have can't force suffering onto others for your own gain. Only selfish weak people would engage in such rhetoric.

Residents all around the airport---including the entire North Fork of Long Island and the entire North Shore--all the way to Manhattan have been suffering for years--and it's time to stop. Pitting Montauk against the rest of E.Hampton is stupid. MontaukUnited is misleading the Montauk community---into thinking that the entire western half of EH Town should continue to suffer---so Montauk can be saved from more aviation trafic. 

This organization also has it wrong by stating taxpayer money is going into the legal battle. All monies being used to fight this--come from the revenue raise by the airport---not one penny from taxpayers. The aviation community is paying every cent. Where else is this organization wrong? Montauk better get on board or they may really be in real trouble soon. We also will be evaluating each canidate--and will not vote for anyone not willling to close or regulate this insanity. 

This organization offers no solution---other than hoping others west of Montauk--will continue suffer--to save himself. Anyone following this advice--may suffer the consequences. Don't be misled.

Surf Lodge Communication

Posted by joan on March 22, 2017 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (1)

From: Tom Bogdan

Sent: Wed 3/22/2017 1:25 PM

To: Jayma The Surf Lodge

Re: Meeting Request

In all due respect, the time for talking is over. You have made meeting requests with other Montauk groups in the past and they have all led nowhere. It is a dismal record of all agreements made by Surf Lodge forgotten, and any promises declared unkempt including a Wilkinson Town Board administration noise abatement directive that was completely ignored. Your statement that by adjusting Surf Lodge closing time from 4 AM to 2AM is some sort of public service is also absurd but is characteristic of continuing disrespect for the community and its citizens. Genial conversation dealing with your warm affection for Montauk will not substitute for long overdue corrective action.

What I will communicate to you is this fact. As you know, last Fall the Surf Lodge, in negotiation with the Town Board, legally committed itself to the completion of a series of changes that would bring the business nearer to legal compliance thereby correcting the many transgressions that it has continually and knowingly committed. MONTAUK UNITED will make any and all effort necessary in continually auditing Surf Lodge behavior in fully complying with both the actual physical terms of the agreement but also the time period stipulated in which they must comply. To accomplish this goal, MONTAUK UNITED will be in regular systematic communication with the Town Board in reminding them of their own commitment and obligation to the agreement's compliance and the immediate reporting of any and all agreement transgression on the part of Surf Lodge. If full and timely compliance is not met in every single agreement clause, MONTAUK UNITED, through its influence and standing, will demand full penalties be met by Surf Lodge.

It is my sincere hope the Surf Lodge will, at last, live up to its civic responsibilities but if it continues to respond in the same manner as in the past, you can be sure the above actions will occur.


Tom Bogdan

MONTAUK UNITED


From: Jayma The Surf Lodge

Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:47 AM

To: tombogdan@hotmail.com

Subject: meeting request

Hey Tom, I know last year we try to meet and for whatever reason we did not. I would love to meet with you at your earlieat convenience to discuss how we can be better neighboors. I plan to be in mtk on Monday. I do value not only your opinion but anyone whom my business affects negatively in one way or another. I know you dont know me n you read a lot of stuff on the news but I m an honest, hard worker, a mother n do many things for the community that you dont see on the news as I chooae not to advertise them. I am super open to any changes n communications that will benefit our community for instance i close our bar at 2am althogh legally my restaurant can serve all guests until 4am because I think closing at 2 i can be a good example to the community. I m open minded n all years. Everything that the town has asked to do we are doing n happy to send you an update as well. I m happy to speak w you about all your concerns as I value them.

 

Jayma Cardoso

The Surflodge

 

www.thesurflodge.com

The View from Montauk

Posted by joan on January 26, 2017 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (1)

To the Editor


THE VIEW FROM MONTAUK


In an effort to respond to a vocal segment of East Hampton’s population, the Town Board is spending over 2 million dollars in legal fees in order to banish “noisy” aircraft from the East Hampton Airport. These types of aircraft are estimated to land within seconds of each other from early morning to well into the evening. Local citizen action groups have stated these types of aircraft are a major nuisance, medically harmful, physically dangerous and, through the noise they create, make life all but unlivable for an affected population estimated to be anywhere from 300 to several thousand people. To rid itself of these problems the Town Board crafted three separate restrictive regulations. The first two imposed time-of-day landings and restrictive flight curfews. The third limited “noisy aircraft” to one day per week landings thereby hoping to eliminate the number of actual flights in any one day by over 85%. Commercial aviation firms and related trade associations countered with legal action resulting in a court action permitting the first two but striking down the third one-landing-per-week restriction. The Town Board, in retaliation, counter sued, resulting in a higher court not only upholding the original disapproval of the one day a week ban but also reversing the first two. In attempting to regain the third airport regulation the town lost all three and now found itself with no regulatory airport noise legislation in place. Presently The Town Board has decided to appeal the legislation to The U.S. Supreme Court thus explaining the $2 million expense.


Common logic and basic business sense indicates that if the Town Board wins its case, the aviation companies currently enjoying the profits from flights to and from East Hampton airport will not simply disappear, but search for alternate routes and local airports to make up the profit short fall. There are only three local airports which fall into this category: West Hampton, South Hampton, and Montauk. Both West Hampton and South Hampton are physically further from the East Hampton airport and are the epicenter of the huge ground traffic problem which makes alternate airline travel to the Hamptons so appealing. Montauk is far closer to the East Hampton airport and its geographic positioning suffers no ground traffic issues as does the other two locations. In a recent “MONTAUK UNITED” sponsored telephone survey of Long Island aviation professionals and officials, there was near unanimous agreement that the Montauk airport would be the most favored destination for commercial aircraft if affected by an East Hampton airport ban.


Montauk Airport is one of the smallest installations within the entire United States. Given its legal borders it would be physically impossible to contain, manage, coordinate, and provide even the minimum level of safety measures required to adequately cope with the increased volume of aircraft traffic. Additionally, the site suffers from extremely taxing shifting wind patterns which requires extra pilot time and effort during landing procedures, contributing to even more dense traffic back-up, dangerous situations, and disaster potential. The facility has no emergency equipment, no permanent manned night lighting, and no staff to provide professional service if and when emergency situations do occur. Finally, Montauk Airport is a privately held business and as such the East Hampton Town Board has no authority or inclination to meet or provide any physical upgrades, public services, or safety procedures that would be necessary at a minimal level of public responsibility.


The East Hampton Town Board’s response to the above concerns is based on three assumptions.

1. During the only year in which the East Hampton Airport landing times and curfew restrictions were in effect, the Montauk Airport suffered no undue or serious increases in airport traffic volume, therefore, it is logical to assume (by the Town Board) there will be no adverse effect if the third one-day-per-week flight limitation is implemented. The first two limitations deal strictly with daily time and curfew issues and had absolutely no effect on actual physical airport traffic volume. Simple corporate alterations in scheduling solved the problem. In actuality, a significant increase in total take offs and landings at the East Hampton facility was recorded. Montauk experienced no negative affect because there was no need for the airlines to alter their number of flights to the East Hampton destination. It was business as usual. However, a one-day-per-week limitation would result in 85% of weekly aircraft take-off and landings (thousands according to anti East Hampton airport citizen groups) looking for a new facility.

2. The Town Board primarily defends its Montauk Airport position by consistently referring to a “mysterious” diversity study in which collected data, financed by the Town Board, indicates that, if indeed the one landing per week legislation were in effect, aircraft would favor airports other than Montauk. As of this date and after numerous requests by the press, Montauk citizen groups, and the public in general, the Town Board has refused to make this study available for scrutiny. Why?

3. The Town Board has pledged to be extraordinarily observant to any negative issues emerging from the results of an increase in Montauk aircraft traffic and is prepared to move rapidly to alter the situation. What is the plan? What does rapidly mean in terms of time? Define increased traffic: double, triple, four times? Will the traffic be returned back to East Hampton Airport? Will the 1 day per week East Hampton Airport access be increased to 3, 4 5 days per week? If there is a viable, effective plan, then why not activate the plan now and provide immediate relief to all concerned?


The East Hampton Town Board has invested incredible political capital, time and a huge portion of tax payer money in an effort to limit traffic at its airport. While commendable, their strategy and goals are based on faulty logic and represent not a solution to the problem but a diversionary ploy to move a problem away from one politically active and organized area to another less strategically organized location which, as of yet, has not recognized the potential disaster which will occur. Experts agree that even if all the Town Board’s legal efforts are 100% realized, not one flight will be decreased. They will only be diverted, pushed down the road, and will continue to be every bit as troublesome, unhealthy, and obtrusive as in the past. The only difference being that a different and wholly innocent group will need to bear the burden. It is not a solution, but transference of grief from East Hampton to Montauk.


The anti-East Hampton airport groups and individuals have placed an enormous effort in correcting an excruciating situation. They are indeed suffering. No one should have to go through the troubles, problems, and inconvenience caused by the airport issues they face on a daily basis. All of Montauk sympathizes with their condition, and understands and supports their cause and efforts. We sincerely hope a solution can be found which will alleviate the situation. A true fair solution, but not a divergence, not a substitute. We wish you well, but not... not at the price of transforming your problem into a Montauk problem.


The East Hampton Town Board legal efforts will not provide a solution to the airport problem. They will only result in transference, a shifting of the problem, a less politically dangerous path, in the hopes that once done, somehow the rest will take care of itself. To this strategy MONTAUK UNITED responds: The current East Hampton airport legislation, if approved, has the potential of causing unprecedented harm and possibly irreparable damage to every segment and category of the Montauk population. It will negatively affect every civic group, commercial enterprise, and private citizen throughout the entire Montauk geographical sphere. An area far larger, more economically diverse, and more densely populated than any of the East Hampton areas in question. Find a solution and we guarantee support. Use Montauk as an escape and there will be consequences. In the MONTAUK UNITED “2016 Montauk Property Owners Survey,” 99% of all 2600+ respondents stated their most precious civic possession is Montauk’s peace, quiet, and natural beauty. Real people, real taxpayers, real voters.


Tom Bogdan

MONTAUK UNITED

Box 2209

Montauk N.Y.

 

The Airport

Posted by joan on January 26, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

To the Editor,


In the 1/12/17 issue of the East Hampton Star, David Gruber and the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee, a group of airport neighboring property owners, announced a solution to their long term suffering inflicted by the outrageous activities of the East Hampton Airport. The plan is in response to what the Committee has continually deemed an intolerable and dangerous affront to mind and body, an intentional all-out attack on the environmental habitat, an Armageddon to the character of the town, a destroyer of property value, a tool of the rich and a moral insult at a level of physical and mental psychological outrage that no one should be made to suffer.


What is the Committee’s solution to all of this emotional grief and hardship? What is the answer to their proclamations regarding the airport’s unfair, unhealthy, and immorally disgraceful assault on a segment of Town’s property owners who they represent, while continually and constantly reminding us of our Town wide moral obligation of supporting the righteousness of their property interests? To all this, the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee has a breathtakingly simple effective solution. They want the town to buy the Montauk Airport. That’s it….. Problem solved….. Case closed. The Committee’s reasoning is impeccable: Why should we suffer all of the above when we can pass it off on Montauk.


In terms of airport vicinity-property owner-logic, it is indeed an extremely awesome proposal. Buy the Montauk Airport and in a flash neighboring East Hampton Airport property owner’s woes, problems and miseries become Montauk’s woes, problems and miseries. And if that were not enough, the Committee has graciously undertaken to solve any worrisome issues that may arise over funding of the above plan. Easy… use the East Hampton Community Preservation Fund money…. Additional comment unrequired.


Even disregarding the immorality, selfishness, and all out hypocrisy of such a scheme, there exist countless physical and real world reasons why Montauk Airport would be a nightmare in terms of impracticability, safety, management, and physical size. It also would be a total unmitigated disaster to the economic, civic, and private property ownership of The Montauk Hamlet which represents a real factual economic base, population center, and voting bloc far larger than any unproven, undocumented group which the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee claims to represent. However, if we ignore the standards of group responsibility to one’s own problems, civic good-citizenship, and the ethics of responsible planning, the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee’s idea is indeed an effective solution, as indicative in the above proposal, to what has always been their primary goal: “anywhere, but not in my backyard.”


Citizens of Montauk, beware.


Tom Bogdan

Montauk United

 

Surf Lodge

Posted by joan on April 26, 2016 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)


Below you will find the exact text from an official document from East Hampton Town Board records concerning East Hampton Town Board meetings, on February 2, and March 2, 2010. The document deals with three separate noise violations committed by the Surf Lodge Club, as defined under Chapter 185 of the Town Code. The purpose of the meetings were to determine what restrictive measures should be taken against the owners of Surf Lodge due to the repeated and continuous violations of the above Code. Measures under consideration included a reconsideration of the favorable status of the bar's Music and Entertainment Permit.

 

The record indicates that a sound expert, hired by Surf Lodge, recommended certain changes that, if implemented by Surf Lodge, would greatly improve the situation that led to the violations. After reviewing the information and accepting Surf Lodge management's assurances that these recommended steps would be implemented, the East Hampton Town Board gave conditional approval.

Approval that if, and only IF, all the recommended measures were indeed implemented, the Surf Lodge Music and Entertainment Permit would remain in good standing.

 

It was an agreement in the best tradition of local government working together with private enterprise, through discussion and compromise, in correcting and greatly improving a situation that would benefit the entire community. An excellent example of good government effectively responding to the needs and problems of its constituency.

 

The only niggling question that remains to be answered of course is did Surf Lodge indeed fulfill its side of the agreement? Were they serious in their wish to correct the situation and provide the effective counter measures to correct a severe self imposed public nuisance? Were the wishes of the people of Montauk, and the laws which govern them as perceived and acted upon by the East Hampton Town Board in an official documented meeting, fulfilled? These questions were directed to Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, Montauk's Town Board representative, at the March meeting of the Montauk Citizen's Advisory Committee. Given the amount of time elapsed from the 2010 initial Town Board directive, Councilman Van Scoyoc was understandably unsure of the status and level of Surf Lodge compliance but promised to do research and report the facts of the matter at the next Montauk CAC meeting occurring this Monday, May 2nd.

 

WE WILL SEE...... STAY TUNED....... AND PLEASE READ THE DOCUMENT BELOW

Tom Bogdan



EAST HAMPTON TOWN BOARD MEETING, FEBRUARY 2, 2010

 

WHEREAS,  Surf Lodge appeared before the Board pursuant to Chapter 117 of the Town Code of February 2, 2010, after having been cited three times for noise violations under Chapter 185 of the Town Code; and

WHEREAS; the Board held the public hearing before making a determination as to the Music Entertainment Permit to the premises pursuant to Chapter 117 of the Town Code; and

WHEREAS; the applicant’s sound expert, engineer Bonnie Schnitta, PhD, of SoundSense, LLC offered mitigation measures that are designed to avoid future noise problems; and

WHEREAS, according to Dr. Schnitta, the measures involve focusing the music on the deck to the establishment’s clients and reducing the amplification of the music on the deck; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Schnitta explained that focusing the music on the deck would involve the use of a continuous acoustic reflector, which can be movable and temporary, to be positioned behind live musicians; and

WHEREAS; the reflector will allow for music to be focused into the audience and serve as a barrier for sound which travels across the Lake; and

Whereas, Dr. Schnitta explained that the volume of the loudspeakers and stage monitors will be reduced, which can be accomplished due to the redirection of previously wasted sound; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Schnitta further explained that the applicant can reduce the amplification of music on the deck by lining the wicker half shells located above tables with an acoustic absorber and acoustically treating certain sections of the exterior wall to prevent amplification; and

WHEREAS; the Board finds that based on the aforesaid representations of the owner of Surf Lodge is taking substantial measures to mitigate potential noise emanating from the premises; therefore  be it

RESOLVED THAT BASED UPON THE MITIGATION MEASURES PRESENTED BY DR. SCHNITTA AND OFFERED BY THE APPLICANT, THE BOARD HEREBY DETERMINES THAT THE MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT PERMIT HELD BY THE SURF LODGE SHALL REMAIN IN GOOD STANDING, PROVIDED THAT THE ABOVE MEASURES ARE IMPLEMENTED AND THAT ALL SUCH MEASURES ARE IMPPLEMENTED IN ACCORDANCE AND COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE EAST HAMPTON TOWN CODE RULES AND REGULATIONS.

The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

Posted by joan on April 11, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

 

I feel the need to splash some cold water on the big love fest that has been going on lately among the local Montauk community organizations, the owners of the former East Deck property and to some extent town officials. They are all commending one another for the unusually cooperative effort they’ve engaged in to work out a plan to subdivide the 4 plus acre property into four residential lots that will legally allow five to six thousand square feet homes. The reason most cited for the exuberant celebration is that compared to the owners’ original Theme Park like project for a beach club, the four-homes plan seems like a reasonable compromise to what would otherwise have been a catastrophe for the Ditch Plains beach and surrounding community. The problem is that everyone is so happy with having avoided a disaster that they are brushing aside the still negative ramifications of the current residential proposal.

 

Everyone should picture in their mind’s eye what the sight of four five thousand square feet homes raised seventeen feet up and huddled together on four acres would do to the scenic vista of the Ditch Plains beach area. Imagine if someone had proposed building a 20,000 square foot house on a four-acre lot here with four swimming pools in a residential community whose average house size is 1,500 square feet. Yes, the community organizations negotiated a number of important restrictions such as sand only nourishment of the dunes, no hard surface revetments, and public access to the beach. And that is indeed commendable but that doesn’t make the massive homes any less invasive or any less jarring to the character of the community. If Attila the Hun downscales his plan to rape, pillage and decimate a village to one where only the first born will be killed, non one is going to celebrate and thank him for his compromising efforts.

 

Furthermore, these homes will be built as far up to the dunes’ crest as legally allowable. Even with this past winter’s lack of any significant storms this recently re-nourished dune has had a large chunk bitten off by the relentless wave swells. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that severe heightened storm activity causing extensive property destruction is inevitable. When that moment arrives and the owners come pleading to the town to allow them to do something to protect their aggregate economic investment of $40 to $50 million, we will be put into the same dilemma currently facing the downtown motels. Yes, they’ve agreed to no hard surfaced revetments but there were also clear prohibitions in the downtown beach area but yet a loophole was found to build a wall. Someone explain the following paradox to me: It is universally accepted that sea level rise and its ensuing destruction is imminent. Retreat of Montauk’s entire downtown area up to the post office is being discussed as the only real solution. Yet we are allowing the construction of these homes right up to the dune on a beach with a progressively encroaching high water line. A Town preservation purchase undoubtedly represents the best possible outcome for this property and should still be pursued aggressively.

 

I implore our town officials on the Town Board, the ZBA and the Planning Board to act with vision and foresight instead of officious expediency. You are the last stand against these projects that come close to conforming to code but inexorably keep pushing the envelope of responsible coastal development. They test our ability to deal with the destructive powers of Mother Nature. Moreover, they persistently chip away at the character of our community and they increasingly overburden the capacity of our infrastructure. Making what may seem moderate exceptions here and there, to grant variances and act sympathetically to developers’ appeals leads to a kind of deal creep, which singularly may seem minor in its effect but in the aggregate will ultimately result in a degradation of our community’s image, character and resources.

 

Louis Cortese

Montauk

 

Hamlet Study

Posted by joan on April 11, 2016 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)



I’m a Local

I Know I am Because I’m Here in February

 

 

I saw this bumper sticker and I think it not only says a lot about we “year-rounders” but my perception that the Hamlet Study may be neglecting the Local populace, while focusing too much on how to satisfy the business community and their growth.

 

Maybe the answer is not how to handle increased density, but how to decrease density! Not more parking lots, but fewer parking lots! Not greater expansion of businesses and motels, but contraction of businesses and motels! If our current infrastructure is stressed by current population and tourism, then maybe the way to go is a smaller population and tourism…and one that is geared to enable Locals [including our seniors, young couples and millenniums] to live and stay in Montauk.

 

Lastly, the Study should not to treat Montauk like the other Hampton villages, because Montauk is DIFFERENT in its make-up, passionate populace and offerings.

 

Here are some of my random thoughts {and these are personal generalities to be reviewed, enhanced, embellished or disregarded}

 

1-Seasonal housing for business employees:

 

The town should take one of its town-owned parcels in Montauk -- maybe at Camp Hero, or a parking lot – and build an employee complex for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments to be offered to businesses as a Co-operative that can be purchased by local business who require this seasonal housing. The business purchases a unit[s] and pays a monthly maintenance for upkeep. The complex is open from April 1 to October 31 and the Town provides on-site management, so that it is only used for seasonal employee housing and not touristic rentals. Then if a business wants to Opt-Out of their purchase, like any Co-operative, it is then the business owner’s responsibility to sell it

 

2-Year-round apartments for employees and young families:

 

This can be accomplished by allowing business to add 2nd story or basement apartments at current locations predicated on proof that it is only being used for their employees or local employees who reside full-time in Montauk; or young families that cannot afford the high rents or home purchase, - the later would have to be based on income. Strict code enforcement would be required and a “rental fee” would be collected by the Town to cover the cost this enforcement

 

3-Senior housing needs:

 

Many of our year-round seniors, who own older homes which are assessed at a lower property tax rate [thus can afford to continue to live in Montauk] have been moving for many reasons. One of these reasons is that these older homes have to be “seniorized” to continue living in them. The problem is that this “seniorizing” [i.e. – adding bedrooms for caretakers, ramps, adding or attaching a garage so as to avoid having to walk outside in inclement weather to enter the home, expanding some rooms to make wider passage ways for wheelchairs, etc.} results in a re-evaluation assessment, which may in turn result in a property tax increase that is no longer affordable. My suggestion is that if a new property tax rate is applied, it should be a minimum affordable tax cap that then gets adjusted when the home is either sold or turned over to siblings who will NOT being living year-round in that domicile, or use it for rentals or weekends. The amount of the cap should be based on original owner’s current income and age. This way Montauk Seniors can continue to live in our community while being able to redesign their homes to accommodate the needs of advancing age.

 

4-Young couple housing:

 

The same affordability issue for Montauk seniors also affects young couples who wish to stay in Montauk. Unless the finances are available, it is almost impossible for a young couple with or without children to afford Montauk unless their parents may want to sell or give them their older home. Again, the tax implications for this expansion may make these arrangements out of reach for young couples. Some kind of special property tax level [similar to the above Senior tax suggestion] should be considered in circumstances where parents want to give, sell or expand their older home to accommodate a growing family. This is a bit more complicated than the above number “2”, but a way should be found that young low-income couples, with or without children and starting out, not be forced to leave the community.

 

5-Playhouse:

 

The Playhouse constantly needs to generate revenue. A few years ago, the Montauk Post Office was looking to expand. If it is still true, if it is, maybe  swap with the current Post Office space with the Playhouse’s open lower place [even if it means NO pool] that would generate a steady Federal rent income. Additionally, in exchange for the space at the Playhouse, the Town acquire the current post office space that could also be converted into the above mentioned ”#1”  Seasonal Employee Housing Complex

 

The above ideas are predicated on accommodating from within rather than GROWING outwardly. Accommodating and recognizing “Locals”, and as was mentioned at the recent Montauk meeting   making sure those who came to Montauk years ago because of what Montauk meant to them [the “un-Hampton Hampton”] continues to be that Montauk

 

Lastly, I also hope the Hamlet study will be able to differentiate between a “year-rounder”; a “weekend-end/summer only year-rounder’;  a home owner who rents out their property; and the tourist [short and long stay],  Until you know who really lives, works and visits Montauk,  you cannot service the needs of our community or shepherd it to the future.

 

The Hamlet study should show the way as the CCOM motto says, to “Keep Montauk, Montauk”

 

Sincerely,

Raymond M. Cortell

Montauk

Sloppy Tuna

Posted by joan on April 11, 2016 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)


The Situation:

Due to internal issues and disputes, the owners of Sloppy Tuna have lost legal control of the business. A court receiver has been appointed to run the business. The current owners are legally barred from either managing the present Sloppy Tuna or opening another establishment using the name "Sloppy Tuna.” The receiver has publicly stated Sloppy Tuna will open for the 2016 summer season under his management.



Reality:

The appointed receiver has no former experience in managing a Montauk seasonal summer food and drink establishment of the volume and size of Sloppy Tuna. Specifically, he has no experience in the real world business climate of in-season Montauk, with the grind of a 7 day work week, the scarcity of employees in general, and the drastic lack of skilled staff such as chefs, wait people, bartenders, and managerial talent. Since the receiver was just recently appointed by the court, we can assume no pre-season work, planning, or preparation has been done with respect to the coming season. Tomorrow is April 1, 60 days from Memorial Day Weekend, and counting.

 

Both the Town Board and the EH Police Dept. are extremely sensitive to the situation and can be relied on to be vigilant in all aspects concerning a revival of past Sloppy Tuna practices.

 

MONTAUK UNITED will be extremely active in expressing to the receiver the current attitudes, thoughts, and general regard the Montauk community holds for the business conduct and past behavior of the Sloppy Tuna. MU will also, in every appropriate way, expressly point out the actions which can be taken by a 950+ united membership.

  

Tom Bogdan

 

Social Misconduct and Taxi Reports

Posted by joan on January 7, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (1)

MONTAUK UNITED


During the last three months of 2015 MONTAUK UNITED completed two major studies concerning issues currently affecting Montauk. The results of these studies were presented to Town Supervisor Cantwell and Montauk’s Council representative Councilman Van Scoyoc. The following is a summary of the study’s finding and recommendations from those participating.


SOCIAL MISCONDUCT:


The study was undertaken in an attempt to ascertain new and proven effective methods of dealing with late night bad and intolerable public behavior as was so conspicuous during Montauk’s 2015 summer season. Telephone interviews were conducted with a number of municipalities who experienced similar issues and their successes and failures in attempting to solve the problem. Municipalities included those located in Westchester and Nassau Counties, New York City, the New Jersey shore areas, Montana, Texas, Missouri, and Florida. While the demographic and population statistics varied, the basic problems were the same. Additionally, several members of MONTAUK UNITED who had practical law enforcement experience in this area were also included.


In general terms, the municipalities and law enforcement executives were in agreement that steps taken during 2015 Montauk summer season were on the right track and similar in nature to those practiced by the above municipalities. The technique of simultaneously addressing the source (individuals) and enablers (bars and nightclubs) to address the problems were viewed as the most effective strategy. An interesting effective “Enabler” program was learned which included a team strategy of simultaneous enforcement combining Health, Building, Safety and Code enforcement inspections coupled with “selective enforcement techniques.” Additional measures included continuous communication with county and state licensing bureaus and taxing authorities requesting regular audits in the areas of sales tax, bottle sales, table charges, entrance fees, retail sales of spirits and food, and any other type of retail merchandise.


A unique and most effective “Source” program included a series of planned, staged problem area, team based “Zero Tolerance” events conducted throughout a specific period of time.( A sample of such a program was included in the presentation to the members of the Town Board.)


All participants were in agreement of the importance of an effective communication program between the municipalities, the general public and “Source and Enabler” groups outlining the general steps and actions planned to be taken prior to any actual enforcement. The use of social media was emphasized as a key and important element. East Hampton Town was rated very poorly in this area.


It was the unanimous judgement from all study participants that a serious and exacting level of COOPERATION and COMMITMENT by the local Government was essential to the ultimate success of any program. While all who participated in the study agreed that East Hampton Town possessed all of the above, a more intensive, effective, and continuous pressure was required in order to produce the maximum effect. To be successful, the Town was encouraged to increase the level of pressure through additional and more far ranging efforts.


TAXI STUDY:


During the summer 2015 season, Montauk was plagued by an incredible overabundance of illegal taxi services, un-safe vehicles, severe over-charging, and dangerous vehicle operations. MONTAUK UNITED commenced a similar study as the above in an effort to contain and solve the problem. While it was determined that Montauk’s taxi problem is relatively unique, there were areas discovered that very well may lead to an effective, economical solution.


It has been maintained that the only solution to the East Hampton Town taxi issue is the installation of a Town wide taxi commission at an estimated cost of upwards of $250,000, an effort which would be inherently complicated, expensive, bureaucratic, and problematic to maintain and enforce. The MONTAUK UNITED study has discovered a low cost, efficient, highly effective, and practically proven taxi plan as practiced by the city of New Rochelle, N.Y. This Westchester County City has a population of 79.5 thousand (7th largest city in N.Y.S.) and is approximately 10 square miles in size. There are currently 175 city taxi operative medallions issued with plans to increase this number by 50 units in 2016. (Presently the Town of East Hampton has approximately 250 issued taxi licenses with no actual or estimated count of illegal vehicles operating this past summer). All New Rochelle governmental regulatory, operational, maintenance and enforcement issues dealing with the cities’ taxi industry are controlled and maintained by the New Rochelle Police Department. Within the department, all of the above responsibilities of enforcement, maintenance, and operations are the responsibility of one (1) police detective. Specific areas of responsibility include applications, interviews, background checks, insurance, approvals, renewals, vehicle checks, suspension, revocation, and all other areas of operation and enforcement including regular patrol and field inspection.


The detective in charge has managed the above areas of responsibility for over 12 years, has 0 staff and 0 budget. Managerial comments from superiors include the terms “outstanding work,” “efficient operation,” “Ideal Department.”


A 17 page table of organization and official operating procedure of the above department was obtained from the New Rochelle Police Department and presented to the Town Board. Along with the above information the data included Rate Schedules, Police Powers and Duties, Responsibilities of Operators, Penalties and Enforcement, and samples of applications required. It is a complete operational outline of the department. The City of New Rochelle has also invited East Hampton Town officials to visit and observe operational procedures. MONTAUK UNITED urges East Hampton Town officials to contact New Rochelle Police Department for further information.


Additional information and suggestions obtained through the M.U. study:

• Require large unmistakable identity numbers on exterior cab sides.

• Police maintained taxi lines at railroad stations during summer weekends

• Require email and phone taxi backseat signs for customer complaints

• Weekend taxi compliance task force in Montauk

• Printed and posted uniform rate schedules


The Town Board was also presented with a summary and experience report of Beach Fire Rules in the state of California which MU was able to obtain during the research of the above issues. The problems dealing with California beach fires closely resemble those of East Hampton. The study goes into details of the laws and regulations which 21 beach towns have implemented in hopes of preservation.


Tom Bogdan

Housing Report

Posted by joan on December 12, 2015 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (1)


To the Editor,


As we all know, Montauk has been plagued by a number of civic outrages such as public drunkenness, disgracefully bad behavior, late night crime and a generally “wild party” attitude which has been foisted on our community by a small number of businesses and individuals.


Over the past several months, the citizen’s action group, MONTAUK UNITED, has reached out to communities across the nation who have experienced similar problems, in an effort to learn and hopefully benefit from their experiences as to how they coped with the above issues, and the degree of success or failure in their efforts. MONTAUK UNITED also called upon a number of law enforcement MONTAUK UNITED members who have specific and practical professional experience dealing with these problems.


While the geographic and demographic statistics varied between the participating municipalities, there were definite parallels to the problems faced and the manner in which they were confronted. The specific social problems facing the municipalities were the same, as was the surprisingly main, number one reason. Simply stated, the primary reason was a generally carnival type anything-goes-attitude created by a radically overcrowded situation. Simply put, too many people in too small an area. Even more significant was the unanimous opinion of both the municipalities affected and the queried law enforcement executives in regard to the root cause of this overcrowding situation. That number one cause, the unanimously agreed upon major instigating problem, was the ABUNDANCE OF ILLEGAL SHORT TERM HOUSING. All participating municipalities and all experienced law enforcement executives agreed upon one point: control the illegal housing and you begin to correct the problem.


It is more than obvious that illegal housing is out of control in Montauk. It is also obvious that all of Montauk’s other similar problems correlate closely with this illegal activity. Trains and buses are loaded with literally thousands of people coming and going on summer weekends, and it is also a pretty good bet they aren’t all staying with Mom and Dad. Where are they staying? How do they get around town? How do they come and go from late night activities? This situation exists, it is growing, and it is not going to go away.


The Town Board has created legislation to effectively deal with illegal short term housing. It is the first significant step in returning Montauk back into the town it once was. The opponents of the legislation may have a number of valid points but, far more importantly, is the fact that if illegal housing is not corrected it will eventually plague not only Montauk but the entire Town of East Hampton. The proposed legislation is for the greater good of all its citizens and must take precedence over any one particular sub interest group. If you believe in Montauk, if you believe in the entire East Hampton community, if you truly want to see change for the better, if you care the least bit about the future of our community, you must help support this legislation. No other objective is either necessary for its passing or needed for your support. The passing of this legislation will be a victory for Montauk, and for all the people who are sick and tired of the illegal actions of a few who knowingly through greed, indifference, and contempt have created this very issue which is plaguing our town and, if left unabated, will only grow.


The Town Board is responding to Montauk’s demand for help. They are attempting to do what they promised at the Montauk Fire House meeting last July 14th. Help them accomplish this through emailing or phoning in your support for the rental registry. Email or phone Supervisor Cantwell: WE SUPPORT THE TOWN RENTAL REGISTRY.

LCantwell@ehamptonny.gov or call 631-324-4140.

 

Tom Bogdan

MONTAUK UNITED

 

November Report - Illegal Rentals

Posted by joan on November 11, 2015 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (4)


Montauk United


It's Time to Show Our Strength

 

There is little doubt that the explosion of on-line rentals through web sites such as Airbnb and VRBO has had a negative impact on our Quality of Life in Montauk. The availability of short-term weekend house rentals attracts a party crowd that cares little for the community itself. Experts believe short term rentals are the root cause for the unruly late night mayhem, crime, and outrageous behavior that has led to the very dangerous conditions that have affected Montauk.


Existing laws are virtually useless in combating this type of rental as they require code enforcement officers to make three separate visits to a property and each time get sworn statements designating the rental.


Both the East Hampton Police Dept. and Code Enforcement Dept. agree. Using the existing laws to gain control of the situation would require many more enforcement officers than the Town can possibly afford.


A rental registry will greatly help enforcement by identifying what properties are being rented, how often and to how many people. And each rental property would be given a registry number that would be required to be listed with any advertising for the property.


Current laws allow owners to rent homes for less than two weeks only twice in a six month period. This will not change. Longer rentals --year-round, summer, or monthly -- are also not affected.


On November 19 at 6:30 in the VFW hall in Amagansett (across from Brent's) there will be a Public Hearing to allow the public to weigh in on the new proposed registry law. It is critical for those in favor of the registry to show up in force to demonstrate your support for the Town Board's proposal. Landlord scofflaws and some real estate companies are building an organized opposition. One year ago a more complicated proposal was defeated when there were only a few speakers in favor of a registry. We don't want that to happen again.


What you can do to help:

1. If you can, attend the November 19th meeting at the Amagansett VFW and support those who speak in favor of the new rental registry.

2. Better yet, sign up to speak in favor of the registry. Just saying you support the new registry is important.

3. Send an email to tombogdan@montaukunited.org saying you support the new registry.

4. Send emails to the Town Board members. All you need to say is I support the rental registry.

Larry Cantwell: LCantwell@ehamptonny.gov

Peter Van Scoyoc: (Montauk Rep.): PVanScoyoc@EHamptonNY.Gov

Kathee Burke Gonzalez: KBurke-Gonzalez@ehamptonny.gov

Sylvia Overby: SOverby@EHamptonNY.Gov

Fred Overton: FOverton@ehamptonny.gov

There is also an excellent registry Q&A web page at  http://ehamptonny.gov/DocumentsPDF/MainShellDocs/TemporaryAnnouncments/RentalRegistry/November/RentalRegistryFAQs.pdf

 

This is what MONTAUK UNITED is all about. Let them know we care about Montauk and we expect action.


Tom Bogdan

 

October Report - Airport Noise

Posted by joan on October 31, 2015 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (2)

Tom Bogdan


The October Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s “Meet the Candidates Debate”, produced interesting and definitive remarks by all candidates, but in regard to the mission of Montauk United, especially so by the current Supervisor L. Cantwell. When asked what was the most important Montauk issue (what was at the top of the list of his Montauk “to fix” objectives if re-elected) the Supervisor’s choice was late night mayhem, noise and bad behavior. This is not only admirable but in direct support of the most important objectives of MONTAUK UNITED. As such, we wish him well in the coming election.


The Supervisor’s thoughts and comments on another important issue were less clear. The question concerned the possible and potential negative repercussions to Montauk if the Town of East Hampton wins its current legal battle concerning East Hampton airport limitations on “noisy aircraft (a term defining unacceptable noise levels usually created, but not limited to, rotary wing aircraft: ie. Commuter helicopters). If the town is victorious there is a serious possibility that Montauk airport may become a major alternate site employed by this type of air craft. If this does occur, the Supervisor was queried, what actions would be taken by the Town Board to protect Montauk from the more than 4,000 helicopter landings logged into E.H. airport this past season. Many Montauk citizens believe this to be a highly likely scenario thereby causing incredible long term harm to our social, environmental and economic wellbeing. The reasoning goes that if the Town of East Hampton is victorious in its court battle these flights are not just going to go away. They will seek out and use other alternate local airports such as West Hampton, South Hampton and Montauk. There is an excellent argument the Montauk airport would be, by far, the preferred choice due to its proximity to East Hampton coupled with Montauk to East Hampton highway transit being against prevailing summer time traffic. There also are substantial rumors the helicopter companies are already designing fly/limo. Montauk packages in which reserved private ground transportation would be available at the Montauk airport in order to continue customer travel plans to and from their East Hampton final destination.


The Supervisor’s reply to the question was that, if indeed, the litigation was successful, and he believes it will be, the Town Board would closely watch the situation and if the above projected Montauk problems did occur they would move rapidly to correct the situation. He also replied that this past summer’s statistics on air craft landings in Montauk did not support any such theories of increased traffic at the Montauk airport.


The problem with this statement, of course, is the statistics do not reflect the above all important legal issue which is currently being litigated and has the power and potential to change the entire Montauk airport usage situation.


However, the Supervisor’s remarks were all well and good, and it is apparent that he and the Board are, more or less, serious and sincere in their concern for Montauk. But the real question, the question that was neither addressed or even recognized was WHAT REALLY CAN BE DONE TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM IF IT INDEED OCCURS? Does a viable solution even exist? Even with the best of intentions, what can the Town Board effectively do to correct the enormous potential damage to Montauk. Montauk airport is a privately held corporation and not beholden to any form of E.H. Town administrative influence. The Montauk airport has also accepted F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Administration) funding and is obliged to follow “open sky“ directives favoring this “noisy “ aircraft category. Any type of share-the-burden-negotiation between Montauk and East Hampton airports is more than unlikely since the East Hampton citizen groups who have spent years attempting to rid themselves of their local issue makes compromise politically impossible.


Keep this in mind. Records show there are only approximately 600 E.H. Town residents who account for all the complaints sent to the Town Board regarding noise at the East Hampton airport. This number represents less than 3% of the entire East Hampton Town population. If the Town Board litigation is successful and Montauk airport does become the favored alternate route, the helicopters are likely to follow three flight patterns. The aircraft will approach Montauk along the ocean coast route, the Fort Pond transit or the Block Island Sound/Gin Beach route. These flight patterns (up to 4000 a summer) have the potential of negatively affecting almost 100% of the local Montauk population of 3500 citizens and untold thousands of vacationing summer residents and guests. Thousands of people suffering an unsolvable and intolerable problem inherited from less than 3% of the East Hampton Town population.


Remember this. The following are the essential factors which enabled East Hampton to move forward on their anti -helicopter campaign:


1: Town ownership of the airport facility.


2: Severance from F.A.A. influence through culmination of all existing contracts.


3: A highly dedicated, organized and well-funded citizen action group.


4: Local political acknowledgment and enthusiastic support by the Town Board.


5. A multimillion dollar law suit.


If the helicopters do come to Montauk. If we are indeed faced with this inherited East Hampton problem, which of the above factors do you believe the citizens of Montauk will be able to employ as a defense? The time to face this issue is now, before an impossible, unsolvable situation presents itself and Montauk finds itself, notwithstanding all the kind and concerned political wishes and good intentions in the world, the victim.


MONTAUK UNITED strongly invites comments, statements and ideas on the above.


At the November Montauk Citizen’s Advisory meeting, MONTAUK UNITED will review suggestions and ideas obtained through computer communication with similar cities and towns in regard to a 2016 Town zero tolerance plan to combat undesirable public conduct. The information also includes specific and detailed information from two MONTAUK UNITED volunteers with extensive law enforcement experience in city and county law enforcement. The data will be presented both at the CAC and the November Town Board meeting as a recommendation for 2016 deployment. Details will be published in the November MONTAUK UNITED newsletter.


MONTAUK UNITED has applied, under the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION Act, for a complete list of all property owners within the hamlet of Montauk. The list will be employed to reach out to over 5,400 Montauk property owners in the form of a comprehensive questionnaire dealing with Montauk quality- of- life and socially important issues. The purpose of the program is to have, for the first time in Montauk history, a source of public information dealing with the popularity, acceptance or rejection of important and relevant Montauk social issues that are supported by factual statistical data. The questionnaire will be professionally designed with both specific and opened ended questions. Both the CAC, the Town Board and other organizations will be invited to participate in terms of specific queries relating to their areas of interest. An April/May 2016 mailing is planned.


Volunteers to help in the mailing are eagerly sought.


This report is a first in a series of communications to MONTAUK UNITED members on present and up-coming projects fulfilling the goals and objectives of our organization. We enthusiastically invite any and all comment, in-put and ideas from MONTAUK UNITED members on any subject of interest.

 

Members comments

Posted by joan on September 20, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (13)


Hello, I am, Joan Stikeman,  the Digital Editor for Montauk United.  We created this space for your to post your comments.  Basically, it's a blog.  You can comment on a post by another member or to Tom Bogdan's posts.   Please share your ideas and thoughts with this community.  You can attach images too!

Breaking the late-night music law - Letter to the Editor East Hampton Star

Posted by joan on August 24, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Montauk

 

August 24, 2015

 

To the Editor:

 

During the first week of September, the East Hampton Town Board will consider sanctions in response to unlawful actions by Ciao, a Montauk nightclub restaurant. This establishment has knowingly and continuously broken the late-night music law in spite of multiple warnings by town officials.

 

Along with Ciao, there are over five separate Montauk late-night establishments with multiple music noise violations, some of which are also eligible for sanction and punishment. One bar has over 10 violations, an enormous display of contempt for the law, town government, and a disgraceful insult to the people of Montauk. As of yet, none of these establishments have been brought to justice. None have been disciplined in any way or manner for their contempt of town government and continuous unlawful actions.

 

On July 14, the town board faced over 500 Montauk citizens demanding change and respect for law and order. The board categorically stated they understood their problems, agreed with their grievances, and promised to get tough on offenders and bring respect for the laws and wishes of the citizens.

 

Now is the time for the board to begin fulfilling its promises. Now is the time to show the courage of their convictions. A simple warning, or to administer a tap-on-the-wrist token punishment, guarantees cheers, jeers, laughter, and scorn from these offenders, for it will have proved once again that it’s business as usual in Montauk and pretty much anything still goes without fear of legal consequence.

 

The board should permanently rescind Ciao’s music license, because, primarily, they deserve it. What would a judge do to a three-time offender of the same crime, brought before the court? A permanent sanction would also be a clear and unmistakable signal to those who believe they are above the law. Do this, and rather than laughter and scorn, there will be silence, fear, and the beginning of respect for the law.

 

East Hampton Town Board, show Montauk that you do what you promise.

 

TOM BOGDAN

 

Montauk United

Edgemere Congestion, Surf Lodge - Letter to the Editor East Hampton Star

Posted by joan on August 10, 2015 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Edgemere Congestion

 

Montauk

 

August 10, 2015

 

To the Editor,

 

At the Aug. 6 town meeting, the East Hampton Town Board took a major step forward in coming to grips with one of Montauk’s largest public safety issues by unanimously agreeing to end parking on key areas of Edgemere Avenue. The board deserves great credit in recognizing and responding to a problem that has existed since the Surf Lodge, a local bar located on Edgemere, first opened for business.

 

A second, and equally dangerous, Surf Lodge problem was also discussed. As each summer evening advances, huge traffic jams occur at the club’s entrance, caused by dozens of cabs picking and dropping off customers. These jams more than frequently spread across the entire width of Edgemere, with double and sometimes triple-standing creating a huge automotive entanglement. Added to this pandemonium are Surf Lodge employees illegally directing traffic, dozens of unlawful cabbie U-turns, patrons walking to and from their cars, and the regular flow of private automobiles waiting to move through the mayhem. The time of night, the glare of lights, and the average sobriety of those involved make for an incredibly intense, almost surreal recipe for disaster.

 

There also exists a much more serious situation that has the potential to harm anyone, anywhere in Montauk. During the public forum, the chairman of the Montauk Fire Commissioners, two Montauk fire chiefs, and a Montauk emergency medical technician rose to speak. Each individual, in his own way, eloquently spoke of the nightly Surf Lodge traffic nightmare and the inability of called-upon fire, rescue, and emergency apparatus to negotiate the above described, intense, non-responding human and automotive traffic at the club’s entrance. These men, all long-term serving volunteers, were not talking about inconvenience or irritation but the very serious danger of loss of lives and property, Montauk lives and property. Perhaps one day your life and property.

 

The four men pleaded for immediate relief and a permanent correction to this constantly repeated danger. The E.M.T. concluded with a tale of a recent emergency call concerning a 1-year-old child, and the E.M.T.’s loss of valuable time in the inability to pass through the Surf Lodge congestion.

 

The town board recognized and acknowledged the dangerous existence of the problem and the fact that the proposed no-parking legislation, while a major advance, did little to correct the above. The supervisor then read a recent analysis of the problem by the East Hampton Town police chief, which recognized the extent of danger and the extreme difficulty in formulating a workable, effective solution. The report next stated the problem itself could be adequately solved if the Surf Lodge would employ its own private property, an adjacent courtyard, as a pickup/drop-off center for cabs, thus moving the automotive and human mayhem from Edgemere to the private and safer realm of the business’s courtyard. The proposal represented a swift, safe, effective, and equitable solution.

 

The chief’s report then stated, “Surf Lodge management categorically refused to entertain any and all total or partial action that would physically impose on any portion of their private property.”

 

What we have here is a business that solely and individually created one of the most dangerous traffic situations in Montauk, a situation that has the potential to disastrously affect anyone, anywhere in Montauk, a business that has the means to quickly and effectively solve the problem but absolutely refuses to do so, a business that has immensely benefited from its physical location in Montauk but rejects any concept of cause, guilt, or responsibility of action. A business that has refused in any and every way to consider issues other than profit, thereby forcing the community to commit time, dollars, and effort in hopefully rectifying the mess that the business itself has created. A business that through its inaction and refusal of civic responsibility will continue to have Montauk suffer and be plagued by a problem that someday, no doubt, will prove disastrous.

 

Perhaps some may think the above conclusion is unfair, or the concepts of profit and private property by far trump those of civic responsibility and public good. To those I say: Tell that story to the parents of the 1-year-old.

 

Each of Montauk United’s 400-plus members reaches out to Surf Lodge owners and management to please reconsider your stated position, your responsibility and your obligation as a member of the Montauk community. Whatever, if any, profits forsaken will be more than multiplied by the goodwill and thanks of a grateful community.

 

TOM BOGDAN

 

Montauk United

End parking on key areas of Edgemere Avenue - Letter to the Editor East Hampton Star

Posted by joan on August 6, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

 

To the Editor,

At the Aug. 6 town meeting, the East Hampton Town Board took a major step forward in coming to grips with one of Montauk’s largest public safety issues by unanimously agreeing to end parking on key areas of Edgemere Avenue. The board deserves great credit in recognizing and responding to a problem that has existed since the Surf Lodge, a local bar located on Edgemere, first opened for business.

A second, and equally dangerous, Surf Lodge problem was also discussed. As each summer evening advances, huge traffic jams occur at the club’s entrance, caused by dozens of cabs picking and dropping off customers. These jams more than frequently spread across the entire width of Edgemere, with double and sometimes triple-standing creating a huge automotive entanglement. Added to this pandemonium are Surf Lodge employees illegally directing traffic, dozens of unlawful cabbie U-turns, patrons walking to and from their cars, and the regular flow of private automobiles waiting to move through the mayhem. The time of night, the glare of lights, and the average sobriety of those involved make for an incredibly intense, almost surreal recipe for disaster.

There also exists a much more serious situation that has the potential to harm anyone, anywhere in Montauk. During the public forum, the chairman of the Montauk Fire Commissioners, two Montauk fire chiefs, and a Montauk emergency medical technician rose to speak. Each individual, in his own way, eloquently spoke of the nightly Surf Lodge traffic nightmare and the inability of called-upon fire, rescue, and emergency apparatus to negotiate the above described, intense, non-responding human and automotive traffic at the club’s entrance. These men, all long-term serving volunteers, were not talking about inconvenience or irritation but the very serious danger of loss of lives and property, Montauk lives and property. Perhaps one day your life and property.

The four men pleaded for immediate relief and a permanent correction to this constantly repeated danger. The E.M.T. concluded with a tale of a recent emergency call concerning a 1-year-old child, and the E.M.T.’s loss of valuable time in the inability to pass through the Surf Lodge congestion.

The town board recognized and acknowledged the dangerous existence of the problem and the fact that the proposed no-parking legislation, while a major advance, did little to correct the above. The supervisor then read a recent analysis of the problem by the East Hampton Town police chief, which recognized the extent of danger and the extreme difficulty in formulating a workable, effective solution. The report next stated the problem itself could be adequately solved if the Surf Lodge would employ its own private property, an adjacent courtyard, as a pickup/drop-off center for cabs, thus moving the automotive and human mayhem from Edgemere to the private and safer realm of the business’s courtyard. The proposal represented a swift, safe, effective, and equitable solution.

The chief’s report then stated, “Surf Lodge management categorically refused to entertain any and all total or partial action that would physically impose on any portion of their private property.”

What we have here is a business that solely and individually created one of the most dangerous traffic situations in Montauk, a situation that has the potential to disastrously affect anyone, anywhere in Montauk, a business that has the means to quickly and effectively solve the problem but absolutely refuses to do so, a business that has immensely benefited from its physical location in Montauk but rejects any concept of cause, guilt, or responsibility of action. A business that has refused in any and every way to consider issues other than profit, thereby forcing the community to commit time, dollars, and effort in hopefully rectifying the mess that the business itself has created. A business that through its inaction and refusal of civic responsibility will continue to have Montauk suffer and be plagued by a problem that someday, no doubt, will prove disastrous.

Perhaps some may think the above conclusion is unfair, or the concepts of profit and private property by far trump those of civic responsibility and public good. To those I say: Tell that story to the parents of the 1-year-old.

Each of Montauk United’s 400-plus members reaches out to Surf Lodge owners and management to please reconsider your stated position, your responsibility and your obligation as a member of the Montauk community. Whatever, if any, profits forsaken will be more than multiplied by the goodwill and thanks of a grateful community.

TOM BOGDAN

Montauk United

 





The Montauk Crisis - Letter to the Editor of the East Hampton Star

Posted by joan on July 19, 2015 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)


The Montauk Crisis

 

Montauk

 

July 17, 2015

 

To the Editor,

 

The present and past East Hampton Town Board administrations have had varied and disparate approaches to the major civic crises confronting the citizens of Montauk. One policy was mean, the other nice. One argumentative, the other polite, one insulting and dismissive, the other courteous and attentive. Unfortunately, neither one has been in any way effective in coming to Montauk’s aid. Both have failed through neglect, insubstantial effort, and what appears to be a general lack of actual productive action in coming to grips with Montauk’s problems.

 

In the final analysis, both approaches have been abject failures and an insult to the faith Montauk citizens have placed in their elective officials. While acknowledging the problems are large, complicated, and not easily solved, Montauk deserves a higher form of political representation and protection then has been offered in the past.

 

As a surprise to absolutely no one, without effective positive action neither mean nor nice works. What will work is courage. Courage and conviction. To have the political courage and sincerity to confront these serious problems and the conviction to do what is necessary to solve them. To have the courage to go beyond the excuse and protective cover of an endless series of why-we-cant’s, and to have the conviction to create and implement effective and innovative strategies. The courage to do the right thing, to place blame where it belongs and to strike to the very heart of the problem, rather than meandering around the ineffective and peripheral. The town board must realize that while Montauk appreciates your good wishes, and believes your expressions of sympathy are sincere, we demand more. Much, much more. We demand courage. The courage to:

 

• Define publicly what the board believes to be the main problems confronting Montauk.

 

• Design, explain, and implement innovative and effective measures, and publicly present these solutions in terms of a planned series of goals, both short- term and long-term.

 

• Appoint individuals and/or committees who will have the authority, responsibility, and motivation for implementation.

 

• Establish objective timelines and periods of and for public appraisal.

 

• Make the information available to the public in a timely and easily accessible manner in terms of the success or failure of the plan.

 

• Have the guts to follow through on all of the above, no matter the political consequences.

 

At the July 14 meeting in Montauk, a remarkable amount of suggestions and requests were met with “can’t dos” by the town board, for various and sundry reasons. This may be an indication of the council’s lack of experience, or general befuddlement in effectively dealing with this type of civil crisis. If this is indeed the case, it is strongly urged and suggested that an outside experienced task force and/or consultant be hired to deal with the problem. It would be of no shame to delegate the issue to a more appropriate, experienced, and effective body — the very same approach that was employed in the strategy concerning recent East Hampton Airport issues, where no more than 3 percent of the general town population was affected, as compared to 20 times that number in regard to the Montauk crisis.

 

No matter what the approach, the responsibility is, of course, the town board’s to effectively confront this crisis. The vast majority, if not all, of Montauk citizenry is prepared and ready to stand by the board in all their efforts. In order to assist the town board, a citizens’ action committee is being formed, the details of which will be made public in the coming weeks. Anyone wishing to participate in this important effort is invited to email tombogdan@hotmail.com.

 

Never before has Montauk been faced with such a serious social problem. Never before have Montauk’s citizens stood as one in their outrage of the civil abuse and incredible bad behavior that, if left unabated, has the real potential to destroy the very special fabric of our community. Let us face this problem together as one united, organized force. Together, we have the will, strength, and power to prevail.

 

TOM BOGDAN

 

Urgency, Please!


Social Misconduct and Taxi Reports

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MONTAUK UNITED

During the last three months of 2015 MONTAUK UNITED completed two major studies concerning issues currently affecting Montauk. The results of these studies were presented to Town Supervisor Cantwell and Montauk’s Council representative Councilman Van Scoyoc. The following is a summary of the study’s finding and recommendations from those participating.

SOCIAL MISCONDUCT:

The study was undertaken in an attempt to ascertain new and proven effective methods of dealing with late night bad and intolerable public behavior as was so conspicuous during Montauk’s 2015 summer season. Telephone interviews were conducted with a number of municipalities who experienced similar issues and their successes and failures in attempting to solve the problem. Municipalities included those located in Westchester and Nassau Counties, New York City, the New Jersey shore areas, Montana, Texas, Missouri, and Florida. While the demographic and population statistics varied, the basic problems were the same. Additionally, several members of MONTAUK UNITED who had practical law enforcement experience in this area were also included.

In general terms, the municipalities and law enforcement executives were in agreement that steps taken during 2015 Montauk summer season were on the right track and similar in nature to those practiced by the above municipalities. The technique of simultaneously addressing the source (individuals) and enablers (bars and nightclubs) to address the problems were viewed as the most effective strategy. An interesting effective “Enabler” program was learned which included a team strategy of simultaneous enforcement combining Health, Building, Safety and Code enforcement inspections coupled with “selective enforcement techniques.” Additional measures included continuous communication with county and state licensing bureaus and taxing authorities requesting regular audits in the areas of sales tax, bottle sales, table charges, entrance fees, retail sales of spirits and food, and any other type of retail merchandise.

A unique and most effective “Source” program included a series of planned, staged problem area, team based “Zero Tolerance” events conducted throughout a specific period of time.( A sample of such a program was included in the presentation to the members of the Town Board.)

All participants were in agreement of the importance of an effective communication program between the municipalities, the general public and “Source and Enabler” groups outlining the general steps and actions planned to be taken prior to any actual enforcement. The use of social media was emphasized as a key and important element. East Hampton Town was rated very poorly in this area.

It was the unanimous judgement from all study participants that a serious and exacting level of COOPERATION and COMMITMENT by the local Government was essential to the ultimate success of any program. While all who participated in the study agreed that East Hampton Town possessed all of the above, a more intensive, effective, and continuous pressure was required in order to produce the maximum effect. To be successful, the Town was encouraged to increase the level of pressure through additional and more far ranging efforts.

TAXI STUDY:

During the summer 2015 season, Montauk was plagued by an incredible overabundance of illegal taxi services, un-safe vehicles, severe over-charging, and dangerous vehicle operations. MONTAUK UNITED commenced a similar study as the above in an effort to contain and solve the problem. While it was determined that Montauk’s taxi problem is relatively unique, there were areas discovered that very well may lead to an effective, economical solution.

It has been maintained that the only solution to the East Hampton Town taxi issue is the installation of a Town wide taxi commission at an estimated cost of upwards of $250,000, an effort which would be inherently complicated, expensive, bureaucratic, and problematic to maintain and enforce. The MONTAUK UNITED study has discovered a low cost, efficient, highly effective, and practically proven taxi plan as practiced by the city of New Rochelle, N.Y. This Westchester County City has a population of 79.5 thousand (7th largest city in N.Y.S.) and is approximately 10 square miles in size. There are currently 175 city taxi operative medallions issued with plans to increase this number by 50 units in 2016. (Presently the Town of East Hampton has approximately 250 issued taxi licenses with no actual or estimated count of illegal vehicles operating this past summer). All New Rochelle governmental regulatory, operational, maintenance and enforcement issues dealing with the cities’ taxi industry are controlled and maintained by the New Rochelle Police Department. Within the department, all of the above responsibilities of enforcement, maintenance, and operations are the responsibility of one (1) police detective. Specific areas of responsibility include applications, interviews, background checks, insurance, approvals, renewals, vehicle checks, suspension, revocation, and all other areas of operation and enforcement including regular patrol and field inspection.

The detective in charge has managed the above areas of responsibility for over 12 years, has 0 staff and 0 budget. Managerial comments from superiors include the terms “outstanding work,” “efficient operation,” “Ideal Department.”

A 17 page table of organization and official operating procedure of the above department was obtained from the New Rochelle Police Department and presented to the Town Board. Along with the above information the data included Rate Schedules, Police Powers and Duties, Responsibilities of Operators, Penalties and Enforcement, and samples of applications required. It is a complete operational outline of the department. The City of New Rochelle has also invited East Hampton Town officials to visit and observe operational procedures. MONTAUK UNITED urges East Hampton Town officials to contact New Rochelle Police Department for further information.

Additional information and suggestions obtained through the M.U. study:

• Require large unmistakable identity numbers on exterior cab sides.

• Police maintained taxi lines at railroad stations during summer weekends

• Require email and phone taxi backseat signs for customer complaints

• Weekend taxi compliance task force in Montauk

• Printed and posted uniform rate schedules

The Town Board was also presented with a summary and experience report of Beach Fire Rules in the state of California which MU was able to obtain during the research of the above issues. The problems dealing with California beach fires closely resemble those of East Hampton. The study goes into details of the laws and regulations which 21 beach towns have implemented in hopes of preservation.

Tom Bogdan

 


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