Southampton restricts beach access after 'hellish' Memorial Day weekend

SOUTHAMPTON, New York (WABC) -- The Town of Southampton is temporarily closing all its beaches to non-residents after rowdy crowds gathered at some town beaches Memorial Day weekend.

Video and pictures obtained by Eyewitness News showed people congregating on a small beach at the end of North Sea Road last Saturday.

Neighbors said approximately 500 people gathered on the beach, many of them to fish.

"There were tents. They were camping. It was out of control, completely out of control," said Michael Mosolino, president of the North Sea Community Association.

Vinny Meyers's house overlooks the beach.

"Someone urinated on my bulkhead in front of my six-year-old granddaughter," he said.

Meyers said someone else defecated in his bushes.

It's believed most of the people were from Brooklyn and Queens, which is what many Long Island municipal leaders have feared with New York City beaches remaining closed.

"Shutting down all those beaches have left these avid fishermen no place to go," said Town of Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. Schneiderman, who described last weekend as "hellish," has issued an emergency order which limits the use of town beaches and parking lots to residents and legal renters and restricts roadside parking near beaches through Friday, June 5. "It's unfortunate that we have to enact these restrictive measures, particularly as we enter phase one reopening," Schneiderman said. "But after what we experienced last weekend with droves of visitors overcrowding our beaches, we are left with no other choice to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus in our community."

Schneiderman said the order is likely to be extended. The orders can only be issued in five-day increments.

Under the emergency order, those parking within 1,000 feet of a road which ends at a public beach or body of water must display a valid town parking sticker on their vehicles. Cars not displaying the proper sticker will be ticketed. Cars left overnight will be towed.

Parking on East Landing Road, West Landing Road, and Petrel Lake in Hampton Bays is also restricted under the emergency order and drivers must have a parking permit.

Anyone entering a town beach or on a beach may be asked to provide proof that they are living or renting within the town.

The Town of Southold also experienced crowds of large groups of day-tripping fishermen last weekend at Cedar Beach.

Cedar Beach is a Suffolk County beach and, at this time, only county residents are permitted on the beach.
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