For-profit races no longer welcome in Southold

GLEN GOLDSTEIN COURTESY PHOTO | For-profit events such as the North Fork Century ride (pictured) are no longer allowed in Southold Town.

For-profit organizations will need to look outside of Southold Town to hold bicycle rides and footraces on local roads after the Town Board approved a policy restricting them Tuesday.

The policy bans all for-profit outdoor events and limits the number of participants in non-profit bike rides to 600. Non-profit footraces would not be subject to that cap.

“If you’re just looking to make money, there’s no reason for you to come to Southold,” Supervisor Scott Russell said when the issue was discussed last month.

The goal, he said, is to limit the use of town roads to organizations supporting charitable purposes.

“We have public health, safety and welfare to consider,” he said. “We have a right to deny applications.”

For-profit bike ride organizer Glen Goldstein said he isn’t sure of the status of his application for the annual North Fork Century bike ride planned for August Greenport, where the starting line has been for the past 10 years. He said the town hasn’t notified him on how the policy will impact the long-running event. Mr. Goldstein, who lives in upstate New York, said the 100-mile for-profit bike ride is still being advertised for Aug. 25.

“If the policy impacts us, we’d be scratching our heads about our next step,” Mr. Goldstein said after learning of the board’s decision Thursday.

Last year the board voted to approve that ride, primarily because the Greenport Fire Department earns between $12,000 and $15,000 for providing food to riders. Even so, members expressed dissatisfaction that the event’s organizer isn’t local and is paid to run the rides.

Safety, scenic routes and flat roads have drawn many bike rides and 5K events to Southold Town in recent years. The board began drafting the policy last month when Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley reported that the number of races and bike rides in Southold was doubling in size, putting strain on the police force.

The policy would not affect events that have already been approved by the town for this year. Any proposed event would still require the board’s approval.

The board plans to open the floor to public comment on the policy in upcoming weeks, leaving open the possibility of changing the law down the road.

“We can always amend the law,” board member William Ruland said.

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