Southampton Town officials are seeking a state opinion on whether an agreement that allows a Water Mill property owner to encroach on public land violates state law.
In February, the Southampton Town Trustees reached a deal with Rose Hill Road property owner Randy Frankel that allowed him to encroach on a .61-acre parcel known as Hayground Cove in exchange for maintaining the rest of the property and dredging a nearby boat ramp. Many community members have since spoken out against the agreement, saying it privatized public land.
At question is whether the deal constitutes parkland alienation, which occurs when a municipality wishes to sell, lease or abandon parkland and requires approval from the State Legislature and governor.
A June 22 letter to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli signed by Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Southampton trustee president Ed Warner Jr. asks whether the deal violates the state’s parkland alienation doctrine. The land was acquired by the town for public use in 1943. It was never formally declared a park by the town.
The agreement will be voided if the state determines the land is parkland, according to a news release issued by Schneiderman.