A divided Southampton Town Board voted down a measure Tuesday, 3-2, that would have lifted in Noyac.
Current code allows parking in the area up to 100 feet from the water, which was established as a compromise; previously no parking was allowed anywhere. Parking is banned on the rest of the road from May 15 to Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For the Republican-Conservative bloc, who all voted to maintain the limited ban, the compromise was working well — there aren’t that many people parking anyway and it’s only for four months. And before voting they all firmly stated their support for beach access.
Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, R-Bridgehampton, stated her reasons for voting against lifting the restrictions by referring to six photos she had taken at the road ending that showed one car parked there and one woman sunning herself on the beach, which borders a channel, connecting Noyac Bay and Mill Creek.
“There is full beach access [with the compromise],” she said. “The restrictions are seasonal … and the objective of opening up the beach was accomplished.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Councilmen Jim Malone, C-Hampton Bays, and Chris Nuzzi, R-Speonk.
Malone said the compromise allowed seniors to watch the sunset from the beach, which constituents asked him to accomplish. But he added, "Lifting restrictions invited the possibility of disaster."
Nuzzi said the current situation allows for "commonsense restrictions on parking completely unrelated to beach access."
Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, I-Sag Harbor, supported lifting the ban altogether “to protect a fundamental right” to beach access.
“Sure six cars can park now, but if another one comes, access is denied,” she said, adding this is precedent setting. “We are going to hear from residents of every road ending who want the same thing.”
Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, D-Noyac, also stated that beach access is a fundamental right.
Preceding the vote residents on both side of the issue addressed the board — within their three allocated minutes — in a manner that has characterized the debate since the introduction of the code change by Throne-Holst and Fleming in June with personal attacks, and accusations of elitism.