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Jul 12, 2013 12:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Paves Way For Surf Camp

Jul 12, 2013 1:13 PM

The Southampton Village Trustees on Thursday amended a local law prohibiting commercial enterprises on village beaches to allow for a single surf camp to operate under strict municipal supervision.

The amendment, which was approved unanimously on Thursday night following a public hearing and closed-door executive session meeting, authorizes the village to issue one license for a surf school—which would teach ocean swimming and surfing—on a village beach. In order to qualify, the school would have to comply with several regulations outlined by the village in terms of size, dates and times of operation. The regulations have not yet been established.

The amendment was sparked due to the success of one local surfer who has been operating a small camp on the beaches for the past several years. Last year, however, the Flying Point Surf Camp exploded, and at times anywhere from 60 to 80 students were being given lessons at one time. The increased influx of people on the beach upset several local residents, who said their right to the beach and parking lot has been hindered by the business.

Several village residents opposed the amendment on Thursday, citing safety, density, parking, and legal concerns. Many people who spoke at the public hearing said there was no way for the village to be able to control such an enterprise, and that it would open a “Pandora’s Box” in terms of beach businesses. People were also concerned that the village was opening itself up to lawsuits if people—either a participant in the camp or a local—was injured.

At the hearing, several trustees said they were in favor of the amendment because of the importance of teaching ocean safety to children. They also added that it would take some time to establish guidelines to govern the ordinance and that a surf camp would not be opening tomorrow.

“This has been going on for a long time and last year it exploded,” Village Mayor Mark Epley said during the hearing. “The last thing I am ever going to do is put something in place that will jeopardize my right to go down there with my family. We will put rules and regulations in place and do this in a location that protects the safety of the kids and everyone involved.”

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stupid stupid stupid
By blackduck1 (20), southampton on Jul 12, 13 1:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
This is a poorly thought out decision on many levels. Then village will be forced to defend itself in court when multiple applications for surf camps are filed next season, they gave EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to one individual and didn't entertain any other applications! Safety of beachgoers: while the "students" are supposedly safe when with an instructor, the rest of us are in danger of being run down by an out of control novice surfer or being hit by an uncontrolled board. When this circus rollsonto ...more
By bigfresh (4596), north sea on Jul 12, 13 4:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
"We will put rules and regulations in place and do this in a location that protects the safety of the kids and everyone involved.”

If this is true, I don't see any problems with it. Let's see how it plays out before we start complaining. I'd rather see kids having fun and exercising in the water than riding their bicycles haphazardly through the streets.
By Elliver (20), southampton on Jul 12, 13 5:00 PM
"Let's see how it plays out before we start complaining"? Problem is they have an 11 year track record that makes people wherever they go complain.
By WMFlyPt (13), WaterMill on Jul 13, 13 2:13 PM
no fun of any kind!
By littleplains (305), olde england on Jul 13, 13 1:27 AM
There is a surf camp in WHB and it runs perfectly fine. They start early and end by 10. There are always enough instructors per student. If the waves are at a place where there is limited parking they walk from Rogers or are dropped off. No one complains b/c there is NOTHING to complain about.

BTW no one has a right to a public parking spot. I wish it were true b/c it would be nice to have a 15 foot spot in front of my building to park everyday. I could use one on main st in WHB too ...more
By Hambone (514), New York on Jul 13, 13 9:15 AM
I am not justifying boorish behavior I merely am attempting to illustrate that it can work if you want it to. BTW there may be a bit of a sticky legal wicket in that the surf line and the ocean are federal domain not any village or town. See any S Jersey beach goer attempting to skirt beach tags - they generally run to the surf line. So if the 'business' is occurring in the water SH Village has no jurisdiction. Just a thought.
By Hambone (514), New York on Jul 14, 13 8:42 AM
Agreed Hambone, the camp that has been given the golden ticket in S H Village has been the source of numerous complaints for years. What is the connection between Mayor Epley and the owner of said "surf camp"??!!
By bigfresh (4596), north sea on Jul 13, 13 10:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
"Village Paves Way For Surf Camp". Wow if that doesn't say it all. It could also read; "Village legitimizes law breaking commercial enterprise in 11th hour backroom deal after pretending to listen to public's impassioned pleas to consider an alternative". This meeting was a real eye opener for any of us non-career politicians. Here's a brief history of how we got to this "amendment"
1) Surf camp operates for 9 years at various beaches despite there being a law in the village code against ANY ...more
By WMFlyPt (13), WaterMill on Jul 13, 13 1:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Silence, Infidel.

Emperor Epley has Spoken!

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle
By Nero (300), Sag Harbor on Jul 13, 13 3:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By WMFlyPt (13), WaterMill on Jul 13, 13 3:44 PM
Guess I missed New Years
By WMFlyPt (13), WaterMill on Jul 13, 13 3:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
A larger issue here is the unholy alliance between Mayor Epley and the owner of Flying Point Surf School. Why has this business been allowed to operate in violation of Village Code for all these years? Why were Village poice officers told to "leave it alone" and not to enforce the law? Why has Mayor Epley bent over backwards for this individual?! Time for an investigation. How about it Southampton Press? The Daily News already has written about the owner kicking in the door of a competitor to his ...more
By bigfresh (4596), north sea on Jul 14, 13 6:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
I really do not have a problem with it as water sports enhance where we live. Also the safety issue teaching people how to deal with surf and get back to shore is very smart. That said as long as it doesnt block my use of the beach, its a great idea. How many people here voicing their opinion actually use the beach where the camp is? Also does the village charge is their a license fee?
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on Jul 14, 13 7:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
It's great that the owher has created a successful business, congratulations! That being said, we, the general public who use the beach are now victims of his success. Try to swim when the camp is there. etup early and have them descend and surround you. Thank God Mayor Epley has stated, on the record, that the picnic area is off limits to commercial enterprise. Can't wait to see the actual ammendment. Off to the beach!!
By bigfresh (4596), north sea on Jul 14, 13 9:13 AM
Its difficult to be able to comment on the new law since it has not been elaborated yet. By now, July 14, this is long overdue. As I support the sail camp initiative on Mecox, its difficult to oppose a surf camp for children. However, I likewise would not want one at the beaches I attend. The groups amassed by the camp are just too large at times and truly an inconvenience to other people on the beach. I used to come into contact with them a while back at the Bathing corp off Agawam Lake and that ...more
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on Jul 14, 13 9:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
Quote " They think they own the sandbar!!"
If its such a great asset to the village y aren't any of the village trustees enrolled in the spoke of camp.
And if its SO great y isn't the county park park by inlet begging to hav camp there.
My rant is done.
By Woodpecker (8), Southampton on Jul 15, 13 6:50 AM
What a monopoly!
By lursagirl (241), southampton on Jul 15, 13 6:01 PM
While I am annoyed that there has been a monopoly given to one person, I'm not bothered by the fact, that a SMALL BUSINESS IS SUCCESSFUL in the town. Good lord, all the people crying "don't use MY beach", it's NOT yours, it's the public's beach. And the surf camp ends between 10 and 11 AM. Nobody wants anything positive or productive in the town.
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Jul 22, 13 10:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
New article -- "exclusive right" granted for this summer.

You can't make this stuff up IMO . . .

By PBR (4954), Southampton on Jul 24, 13 11:10 AM