BrianBM

If you kayak in the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County

11 posts in this topic

... you've just lost some parking on the complaint of a wealthy property owner.

 

There was previously a small patch of shoulder parking along Harbor Beach Road, by Cedar Beach Road, on Mt. Sinai Harbor. It is marked off with two signs: Parallel Parking Only, and No Parking 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. I've lived in Port Jefferson Station for 35 years, in my current home, for 32 years, and that patch of shoulder has always been accessible for parking. Now it's gone.

 

I was driving back from my mid-morning caster's constitutional at Cedar Beach when I passed a payloader and truck placing the last of a series of boulders along the edge of the road to prevent parking. (The signs permitting parking are still up).  By the time I'd doubled back to inquire, the trucks were gone.

 

Shoreline access is always problematic. It struck me as likely that one of the homeowners who live on the north side of Harbor Beach Road had either placed the boulders himself (things like this have happened before in Brookhaven) or persuaded the Town to do this.  I knocked on the door of the nearest house, and no one was home (though a careful neighbor did come over to check me out; a good guy) and then went back to Cedar Beach. The Harbormaster did not know anything about the boulders, but referred me to Parks Maintenance, which has vehicle and equipment space on the beach. The Parks Maintenance buildings were deserted, but on the way out of Cedar Beach, I spotted a payloader at work near the main pavilion.

 

Pulling in, I found a Parks Dept. guy and spoke with him. As soon as I asked about those boulders he knew I was a fisherman. (Clearly, he knew this was going to be a problem.) Yes, the Parks Dept. did it; yes, there's a homeowner who asked that it be done. He declined to tell me who (which is fine, it's not his job to referee disputes between constituents) but called his supervisor, who told him to tell me to call Commissioner Edward P. Morris.  The boulders were installed on his order, apparently earlier today.

 

I left a message for Comm'r. Morris on his secretary's answering machine., at 2:15. It is now 2:59 p.m., and I have not had a call back. I will call again, later (Parks closes at 4:30 p.m.) and report here on the results.

 

The longer those boulders sit in place, the harder they are to remove. If you use those spaces, please contact Parks within the day. If you drive by the area, please whip out your cell phone and take detailed pictures of the parking area, the boulders, and the Parking signs.  As soon as people start calling about the loss of the parking area, the maintenance crew will be told to pull the parking signs and fill up the hole. If your phone will geotag or date tag the photos, so much the better. 

 

The gentleman who needs to be contacted is as follows:

 

Edward P. Morris, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation

286 Hawkins Road

Centereach, N.Y.  11720

 

Telephone (631) 451-8686

 

This is not a direct line. All calls go to this number, apparently a central operator for the Town.  Expect to wait awhile for "the next available agent".

 

There is, I am sure, an email address, but the telephone operator said she didn't have it.  If you discover it, please post it here.

 

A reminder. You will be just a voice on the phone. The homeowner has to have called everyone who might have authority (that would Councilwoman Jane Bonner, in whose district this is, Mr. Morris, and Supervisor Romaine), to get this to happen. Be polite; be specific, and be persistent. 

 

Further details will be posted in Fly Fishing as I develop them. The location I describe should be known to many kayakers, there are as many people I meet there who kayak as wade or fish.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TimS gave me and us a favor. If you are a member of another site to which this latest attack on public access to water would be of interest, you have his blessing and mine to copy my OP, edit as needed, and post it.  There are two other big fishing sites that matter around here; pass on my information, make my requests, and let's get a ruckus started.  There are specialty sites, too.

 

Remember, don't link site-to-site.  Use Copy and Paste.  Site administrators stay out of each other's hair, let's not do anything to complicate anyone's life.

 

Miguel, is that an .org or a .gov?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's sad and greedy. Every fisherman should ride their bikes to fish, park and chain them by the bolders, and constantly occupy that area.

Edited by cheech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TimS gave me and us a favor. If you are a member of another site to which this latest attack on public access to water would be of interest, you have his blessing and mine to copy my OP, edit as needed, and post it.  There are two other big fishing sites that matter around here; pass on my information, make my requests, and let's get a ruckus started.  There are specialty sites, too.

 

Remember, don't link site-to-site.  Use Copy and Paste.  Site administrators stay out of each other's hair, let's not do anything to complicate anyone's life.

 

Miguel, is that an .org or a .gov?

The email that I found was a .org. When I go to the site it redirects to a .gov, but other emails that are actually listed on that site end in "brookhaven.org," so I think it's a safe bet that that is the correct one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have similar issues here in RI ... the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, which is a significant force (over 1000 members) keeps public access to the shore on the front burner. The AG has been an advocate for lawful public access. http://www.risaa.org/news/agsuit.html

 

This is a real issue, and we, as users of the water, should make sure our lawful rights for public access isn't abused. It erks me to no end when I see selfish individuals try to monopolize the shoreline. I also have a place in Dennis, MA (Cape Cod), and I have taken note of signs the prohibit access to beach up to "low water", which I believe is incorrect ... my understanding is that all waterfront is accessible up to "mean HIGH tide". I haven't pushed this because the signs include the exception of walking and fishing ... which selfishly is good for me. But anyone should be able to enjoy the beach from the mean high tide mark down into the water for whatever lawful purpose they choose.

 

Continue to fight the good fight ... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unlike RI, MA, as well as NH and ME still have colonial era laws codifying property owners right to the land extending to the low mean tide mark. The original laws were meant as an incentive for pier and dock construction. If you cross the beach in front of someone's home in MA between the mean high tide mark and the low mean tide mark, you are trespassing. 

 

It's ridiculous.

 

This parking issue reminds me of the crap people are trying to pull down in Westerly/Weekapaug area of RI.

 

Good job BrianBM.

Edited by SwimBait

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.  An interesting day.

 

I went to Brookhaven Town Hall and spoke a bit with Councilwoman Jane Bonner, in whose district Cedar Beach lies. Talk about prepared .... she was very much aware of the issue, was armed with a Google Earth printout, and was absolutely ready to discuss this in detail.  I was impressed, and am grateful that she was willing to indulge some walk-in traffic. 

 

Ms. Bonner knew that I'd been told that the boulders were dropped to exclude cars at a homeowner's request.  I had discussed this information with several people (a area superintendant in Highway, the answering machine at Parks Comm'r Morris' office, etc.), and she was very much aware of it before I came in the door. She swore a mighty oath that this is not the case, and asks that I disabuse others of this.  I have no reason to disbelieve her. 

 

The issue, per Ms. Bonner, is what heavy human traffic is doing to the marsh. Google Earth does show the result of heavy human traffic, with shrubbery beaten back and trails visible to the water. Ms. Bonner also noted that there have been occasions when vehicles were driven well into the marshland. If you follow the Long Island Forum, you may recall the photos of a pair of Jeeps perched at the end of the Smith Point jetty; if people are stupid and aggressive enough to do that, a drive straight into the marshland is nothing by comparison. People do drag kayaks into the marsh, and dories; I've seen that, though it didn't occur to me as being destructive of the marsh. Most of the traffic is foot traffic, but there's quite a bit of it.

 

No one, per Ms. Bonner, can find a record of having put those PARALLEL PARKING ONLY and NO PARKING 6:00 - 9:00 AM signs in the ground. Town Maps show the entire length of Harbor Beach Rd. as being marked for No Parking. Perhaps some fishermen put the signs in themselves? 

 

It's a possibility. Brookhavenites will recall that the wealthy elite that privatized West Meadow Park did put up their own signs, NO PARKING. (Only politically connected families ever got to use those cottages.)  In this case, I doubt that this happened. Elites stealing access from the public will do that, but an angler trying to steal some access would not, I think, give a damn about parallel parking. If you're a serious fisherman, you'd want either 24-hour access or access to predawn hours as well. This parking space has been around at least as long as I've been in Brookhaven, about 35 years. The signs have been maintained; they've always been there, clean and unspotted by rust. I'd inquired earlier at Highway Dept., which allowed that the signs might be theirs, or might not. Now that a decision's been made to close off the spot, the signs are suddenly orphans, and I expect they'll be pulled promptly. I do find it creditable that people have repeatedly moved the boulders that were there to allow greater access.

 

So: however this came up, a decision has been made to close off access.  However, how totally that access is to be closed is not yet fixed in cement.  There is apparently some desire for a barrier that will blend in, scenically, which may or may not be compatible with roadside parking. With that in mind ...

 

1) Please do contact your favorite elected official, or administrator. This is happening now because the post-Labor Day usage of the beach and of the area is diminished. If this had happened in summer, there would've been a continuous stream of unhappy anglers, clammers and kayakers besieging the Cedar Beach offices of the Parks Department. When that crowd reappears next summer, the signs will be gone, the parking's history and that's that. The longer access is denied, the more permanent loss of access will become. This will be settled quickly, one way or the other.

 

2) Do call, write or perhaps drop in on Commissioner Morris. A copy by the Supervisor would not be amiss. (I originally went to Town Hall to try and speak to  Supervisor Romaine, but Security sent me to visit Ms. Bonner instead.)

 

3) And do so to your own Councilperson too.

 

Anglers have taken a beating in Brookhaven's North Shore in recent years.  The 26 parking spaces we once enjoyed at the end of Landing Road are now reduced to either two or four, and a permit has to be visible to use them without fear of citation. There are very, very few roads in the Town that allow parking space near the water.  I broke a leg in February, so I'm not sure what access can be had this year to West Meadow at the moment. Is there any night access at this time? Does anyone know? In any event, you argue for access, and lobby for it, or lose it. Period.

 

I don't see this particular loss of access issue as being of interest to LIBBA, though I will raise it. I will inquire of the North Brookhaven Sportsman's Club. If you're in a club in the area, please raise this too.  

 

Since Ms. Bonner was courteous enough to speak with me, I will add this post to the others I've made in other Forums here, to share what she told me. I will send her a link to this thread, for her comment if she wishes. If you have copied and posted prior posts to other sites, please do so with this followup too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a callback from Parks Dept. There is a meeting of related departments (Parks and, I suspect, Highways) on Friday. I will be kept informed.

 

If you're a Brookhaven resident with an interest, puh-leeze call Parks and your local legislator, explain why you're interested, and ask to be kept informed.

 

If you're going to the Fisherman's Surf Show tonight, talk to whoever is at the Fisherman's booth, and ask Rich or Fred to make that call too.  The Town has no reason to know me from Adam, notwithstanding Ms. Bonner's courtesy, but Parks will know who Rich or Fred Golofaro are.  I'm cranking up an email to Fred now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This situation changes by the minute. I can scarcely keep up with developments on the ground, or in Town Hall.

 

Ms. Bonner had suggested to me that the parking signs perhaps had been planted by fishermen. This struck me as unlikely in the extreme. No fisherman would bother to buy and plant PARALLEL PARKING ONLY and NO PARKING 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 a.m. signs. We really, really like our first light and dawn hours, do we not?  And after I'd left her office, I had another thought, and returned to the site to confirm it. The parking space area is distinctly elevated. Along most of Beach Road Dr., the marsh comes up to the edge of the road, and on a moon tide, that edge is awash. The parking area, in contrast,  is elevated. Even on moon tides, it's usually dry. It must have been created by dumping a significant amount of fill on site.  ... hardly compatible with the sneaky-fishermen-at-night theory.

 

On arrival, I was surprised to see that two of the boulders had been moved, so as to permit head-in parking. One had been dragged, and the ground was scuffed. The other, smaller boulder had been moved without scuffing. It's small enough that two young males in good shape could have moved it. One bodybuilder would do. (Three of me couldn't budge it.) While I was there, a Parks Dept. truck pulled up, and the driver confirmed that Parks had not moved the boulders. Persons unknown, which he and I both assume were fishermen, had done it. He also advised me that a decision had been made by the Town to align the boulders on a line between the two signs. The meeting that I'd been told would be held on Friday (tomorrow, as I write) had  moved up to today (Thursday morning, I spoke with this gent at about 11:00 a.m.), which was undoubtedly a pre-emptive measure. (Quick, let's get this done before people start calling.) I expect that, when I'm officially notified of this decision, this will be proffered as a reasoned compromise. Unfortunately, it isn't, because it's thoroughly unsafe.

 

Beach Drive Road is narrow. There are two lanes, one westbound and the other eastbound. There is no shoulder on either side of the road. On the northern side, the eastbound lane is edged closely with shrubbery and NO PARKING signs. On the westbound lane (where the parking lot is located) the marsh comes up to the edge of the road, save at the parking spot. On high moon tides, the salt water laps at the edge of the asphalt. The signs, whatever Town department installed them, are either embedded in the edge of the asphalt or within a few inches of it. (I'll go back and check that measure tomorrow.) 

 

There is simply no way to align boulders on a line between the signs without forcing cars to park largely in the road. Now that some idiots have been moving the boulders, the next round of rocks will be bigger, which will make the problem worse. Blocking off half a traffic lane is an invitation to an accident, and there is no way to make it safe. Cedar Beach Park proper is a nice park, and the concession stand is one of the best I know. It has a good bar scene, especially in summer. There is some live music, and the annual Blues Festival is a lot of fun. Plenty of young people come out of it with a good buzz, and for the major events at the beach, some of them arrive well-buzzed, too. I wouldn't want to curtail the party in the least. I am definitely concerned about a change in parking, for whatever reason, neither exclude anglers nor put them, or the general public, at risk. And there is an alternative that avoids the risk, and which will eliminate the chance of fools driving straight into the marsh.

 

Since larger rocks are going to be emplaced, one way or the other, why not drop them at the inner edge of the parking spot? A boulder too big to move by hand, or with a tow strap on a 4x4, is certainly too big for any vehicle to cross. It would prevent people from dragging small boats into the marsh. The parking strip itself is beyond reclamation short of a major effort, which would need years for Federal permits. There is no need to create a traffic hazard.

 

The Town's decision making may or may not be complete. If you haven't yet written an email, please do so now. I have some further emailing in mind myself, and will post them in this thread, for anyone who might need help, but it's better if you do it now, and not be visibly copying an activist's original text.

 

The odds are that nobody here knows the person or persons who moved the boulders. The world does not hang on my SOL posts (though it should). If, by chance, you DO know someone involved, please discourage them from doing it again. This kind of guerrilla warfare is lots of fun to young men, but it's more likely to cost us access then it is to discourage the Town from putting up barriers. The Parks Dept. personnel have a job to do, they are visibly unhappy with this because they know that they'll be dealing with irritated fishermen, and there's no reason to make their lives difficult. Speaking of Parks, I doubt I'll get much more information from them. If they haven't been told to **** whenever someone has questions about the loss of access, they will be so instructed.  Let's not anyone make unnecessary problems for them.

 

Further information and disinformation as I get it.  Now, go write.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.