Southampton Town Looks To Buy Neptune Beach Club; Tumbarello Terminated

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Southampton Town is considering purchasing the notorious Neptune Beach Club on Dune Road in East Quogue with money from its Community Preservation Fund.

Town officials would not say what the proposed sale price for the 2.8-acre oceanfront property is, but will hold a public hearing on the proposed purchase on Tuesday, October 8.

The property sits in a largely undeveloped swath of Dune Road that is part of the Shinnecock Bay Target Preservation Area, valued for its tidal marshes and wildlife habitat. The agenda for Tuesday’s Town Board meeting touted the Neptune property as lying amid “a land of shimmering waters, expansive salt hay meadows and pristine maritime dunes.”

The resolution also said the owners of the club have expressed interest in selling the property to the town.

Along with the environmental benefits of preserving the property, the raucous beach club has been seen as a nuisance by the town for years. Rowdy crowds of partiers gather on its outdoor patios in the summertime and the club has been the site of numerous drug sales and disorderly conduct arrests, fights and car accidents. For several summers Town Police have assigned at least one officer just to stand by near the club to respond to the wide variety of issues that crop up almost hourly. The town has attempted to have the business’s liquor license revoked.

In 2004 the town used CPF money to purchase the former Summer’s Beach Club, immediately adjacent to Neptune. The property is now a public beach. In 2002, the town also used money from the fund to buy the Conscience Point nightclub property in North Sea, which is now a town-run marina.

The public hearing on the proposed purchase of Neptune will be held at 1 p.m. on October 8 at Town Hall.

Tumbarello Terminated

The Town Board officially terminated disgraced town code enforcement officer Alfred Tumbarello on Tuesday, 17 months after he was arrested for selling cocaine and prescription drugs.

Mr. Tumbarello, 39, of East Quogue was caught up in a months-long drug sting, during which authorities said he sold drugs on at least one occasion to an undercover police officer. He was arrested in April 2012 and has been on unpaid leave from his post as a ordinance inspector ever since.

Town Settles Lawsuit

The town approved on Tuesday the settlement of a lawsuit filed by a group of anti-gay marriage protestors after they were blocked from protesting the town’s wedding of gay couples in 2011.

The lawsuit, filed by the Reverend Donald Havrilla of the Southampton Full Gospel Church, charged the town with violating the 14th Amendment rights to free speech of group members by preventing them from protesting on the front steps of Town Hall on the day the town was to perform its first gay marriage ceremony.

Town officials at the time said they had received calls threatening violence if the town were to proceed with marrying gay couples and precluded the protestors from gathering on the front steps of Town Hall. The town cited the declaration of Town Hall as a “Bias Free Zone” as the basis for the exclusion.

The group protested on the street across from Town Hall instead and filed a lawsuit shortly afterward.

According to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the terms of the settlement will require that the town amend its anti-bias policies and change the wording of the signs posted in and around Town Hall declaring it a “Bias Free Zone” on the basis that the policies and terminology may be unconstitutional.

Opposition Wanes To Sustainability Plan

Opponents of an amendment to Southampton Town’s Comprehensive Plan continued to voice concerns about details of the amendment, known as the “sustainability element,” at the fourth public vetting of the plan on Tuesday afternoon. The objections were far more reserved this time around, compared to the litany of fears and doomsday warnings that have been voiced at previous hearings by a small but organized and passionate group of opponents.

Tom Mulrooney, who has been one of the leaders of the opposition to the sustainability amendment, which introduces a wide variety of environmentally sensitive and energy efficiency policy recommendations and guidelines to the town’s comprehensive plan, said his group’s remaining concerns about the proposed amendment have been whittled down to five main issues. He said the group would like to see a comprehensive cost analysis of all the recommendations in the amendment, an assessment of the overall impacts on development density in the town, among others. He said the group also thinks the sustainability amendment should be made a separate document from the comprehensive plan itself.

“We believe this is a master plan in itself and we think it should be let to stand on its own,” Mr. Mulrooney said.

The town’s long range planner, Janice Scherer, told board members that the town had presented the Suffolk County Planning Commission with the sustainability amendment on August 7 and received approval, noting that the county had highlighted that the proposed town policies parallel many county goals. She said the Town Planning Board had asked that some of the recommendations with regard to alternative energy policies be incorporated into building codes, to give them greater ability to require things like solar power and geothermal heating-cooling systems in commercial buildings. She said the town Landmarks Board had also recommended that the town include a provision in the legislation that specifically exempts historic structures from any energy efficiency policies it adopts in the future.

The board will hold another hearing on the comprehensive plan update next month.

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