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Southold town board extends parking permits

Interested in visiting New Suffolk beach this summer? You may want to walk, because according to numerous residents there’s nowhere to park.

Many residents complained at the Southold Town Board meeting Wednesday, saying that people from out of town frequently visit the small, picturesque beach, especially during this past holiday weekend. This influx of beachgoers has created a problem for residents, such as leaving garbage on the beach or forcing them to park in 15-minute spots where they can receive tickets.

Residents also said that beach attendants need to be available more, bathrooms need to be open earlier in the day, dogs need to be watched and picked up after, Traffic Control needs to be more vigilant in handing out tickets, amongst other issues.

“The beach attendants are only available on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 to 5,” Mattituck resident Debbie Zuhoski said. “So, if they [visitors] can come from 8 o’clock in the morning to 10:30 and park there without a non-resident parking, they get a ticket and that’s it. They fill the parking lot and we have a pass and we cannot park in that parking lot.”

About five other residents spoke, backing Ms. Zuhoski’s claims.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the board usually receives numerous complaints about the beaches this time of year, and in an effort to address resident concerns the town held a the public hearing about extending the seasonal pass.

Typically running from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the parking permits would  give beachgoers access to the water from May 1 through November 1. The change was enacted with a 5-0 vote following the closing of the public hearing. Board member Louisa Evans was absent.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Peconic resident Robert Dunn said. “It gets crazy and people think Labor Day ends it. Labor Day doesn’t end it, it just starts a new season. So this rule is good. It’s just the right thing to do.”

Given the numerous other concerns brought up at Wednesday night’s meeting, Mr. Russell suggested the board hold a special meeting next week to solely discuss beach and parking issues and how to fix them.

A meeting date hasn’t been set yet.

“This is a small change and I think we could have done a little more with this…” board member Jill Doherty said. “But we need to start taking it seriously because we’re getting an influx of people out here. Every beach is just overcrowded … I’m definitely for having a meeting next week to start this conversation.”

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