The Southampton Village Board is considering changing the village code to allow surf camps to operate on village beaches during the summer.
A local law to amend the code, which currently prohibits all commercial enterprises on municipal beaches, will be the subject of a public hearing at Village Hall at 6 p.m. on July 11, and is expected to be a highly controversial issue.
The public hearing was sparked by an application filed last month by the Flying Point Surf School, which has been operating on the village beach without a license for the past several years. According to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch, the school was very small for the first few years but grew exponentially last summer, making a permit necessary.
According to Mr. Funsch, the size of the camp, and its location on public beaches, has sparked criticism from local residents who do not want the overflow of people and cars blocking access to the beach.
If the amendment were approved, Village Board would have the authority to allow both swimming and surfing lessons taught by licensed schools. The village would monitor any such business, which would be required to meet strict regulations set by the municipality.
“A public hearing is a good idea,” Trustee Richard Yastrzemski said at the Village Board work session on Tuesday. “This is clearly coming to a head.”
Mr. Yastrzemski added that even if the local law is approved, the Flying Point surf camp would be required to file an application, and the village would set the location, hours and size of the camp. The main concern, officials say, is to reach a balance between the residents and businesses.
“It is a shame not to have a surf camp out here when it is why people live out here,” Mr. Funsch said. “We are trying to … keep the locals happy and allow surfers to learn how to surf.”
Three Retain SeatsVillage voters on Friday approved by a 149 to 31 tally a proposition to increase the retirement benefit that village ambulance volunteers receive through the volunteer ambulance service award program. Ambulance volunteers will see their retirement benefit raised from $20 to $30 a month for each year of service. The maximum monthly payment upon retirement will increase from $800 to $1,200.
At the same time, all three incumbents board members retained their seats in an uncontested election. Mayor Mark Epley collected 161 votes, Trustee Nancy McGann received 148 votes and Trustee Bill Hattrick received 162 votes.