Minutes, April 22, 2013

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The Meeting was called to order at 7:10.

Present: Committee members Cathie Gandel, Carey Millard, Jeff Mansfield, Elise Quimby, Julie Burmeister, and Kelly Harris. Others: Pradeep Raman from Topping-Rose House, Tessa Raebeck of the Sag Harbor Express, Michael Wright of The Southampton Press, Fred Havemeyer, Southampton Town Trustee.

On a motion by Weezie Quimby, seconded by Kelly Harris the minutes of the meeting of March 18 were approved unanimously.

Carey Millard read a letter from member Fred Cammann concerning the role of the Southampton Town Trustees and supporting their position on erosion control issues which he had sent to the committee to be read prior to remarks by guest Fred Havemeyer, Town Trustee.

Mr. Havemeyer said he would primarily be talking about two issues: the maintenance of  Mecox Pond and erosion control in Southampton Town.

He described Mecox Pond and distributed a number of aerial photos of the pond over  several years, both before and after its narrow access to the ocean had been cut by the Town to assist the flow of water in and out of the bay.  The Trustees are responsible for maintaining the health of the Bay, which is important for recreational activities as well as fishing and shell fishing. Excess salinity is a problem as is high water which may flood basements of nearby houses and lead to unhealthy effluent cesspool runoff into the water. The timing and placement of the cut is complicated by the natural cut’s tendency to move to the west when it is open. Trustees closely monitor the Bay and the changes brought about my storms such as Hurricane Sandy and the northeaster storms that followed.

Sand is naturally deposited in Mecox Bay by the ocean and builds up in shoals. It does not retreat naturally. The Trustees remove sand which impedes the flow back to the ocean. For the last three years Town Trustees have sold the sand to contractors for hauling off to nourish the beachfront elsewhere. At $7.50 a yard, the sale of sand has proved to be a help in offsetting maintenance costs.

Jeff Mansfield referred to the recent NY Times front page article on controversies in Southampton about hard structures to control beach erosion in front of private houses. Mr. Havemeyer pointed out that villages may have their own rules aside from the Township rules, though these can be matters of dispute. The trustees are still in the process of settling such issues with the village of Quogue. The article referred to homes in the village. My Havemeyer personally is opposed to beach hardening structures and some sand replenishment efforts. As more and more sand is dredged from the ocean to put on the beaches, subsequent dredging must occur further and further out and become more and more expensive.  The Trustees have overseen a beach grass planting project at Mecox which helps to preserve dunes.

The Co-chairs suggested that the CAC send a copy of Fred Cammann’s letter to local papers to represent the CAC’s thoughts regarding efforts to control beach erosion through hardening structures or massive sand replenishment and supporting the position of the Town Trustees as a knowledgeable and dedicated board of elected officials. Emails will be sent to CAC members in order to arrive at an official resolution to that effect.

A discussion and decision re. Councilman’s Nuzzi’s proposal re. the zoning board was tabled until the May meeting because of a lack of a quorum.

PradeepRaman was introduced. He is the new manager of the Topping-Rose House. He reported that they are negotiating with the church to the north of them on the Sag Harbor Turnpike for the use of the church parking lot to provide parking for patrons. The main house will be open for spa guests soon and the new buildings should be ready for occupancy by Memorial Day.

Jeff Mansfield reported that the Konner property has been cleaned of debris by the owners.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 8:15

Respectfully submitted,

Elise Quimby – for Alejandro Saralegui, secretary

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