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Montauk surf biz accused of monopolizing Ditch Plains Beach

Around 100 people attended the East Hampton Town

Around 100 people attended the East Hampton Town Board meeting on Aug. 10, 2016, concerning surfing classes in Montauk, and over crowded conditions. Credit: Doug Kuntz / Doug Kuntz

A standing-room only crowd of Ditch Plains Beach surfers appealed Wednesday to East Hampton Town Board members not to rescind the permit of a local surfing instruction business that some say is causing overcrowding and safety issues at the popular Montauk beach.

Several complaints about Montauk-based CoreysWave were made during the public portion of Tuesday’s town board work session, prompting board members to convene a special public meeting Wednesday to decide what to do about the permit.

CoreysWave has a permit to operate out of the easternmost parking lot at the beach, known as “dirt lot.”

According to Coreys owner Corey Senese, and his attorney, Trevor Darrell of East Hampton, the public outcry about Coreys came as a complete surprise and is why neither of them were at Tuesday’s meeting.

Darrell said it was out of the ordinary for the board to consider a permit revocation when no summonses had been issued. He said he and his client first learned about problems in a call Tuesday from Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski after that day’s meeting.

“A number of people came and addressed the situation at Ditch Plains — there were questions raised with the surf lessons conflicting with the public use and possibly creating safety issues,” Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell told those gathered Wednesday in the Town Hall meeting room.

He called Wednesday’s meeting a “fact-finding” session.

Cantwell said Tuesday’s complaints had been taken seriously by officials, as “the beaches are an important resource in our community.” He said that sometimes there are competing uses for the beach and he wanted to find a solution that would work best for the community.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Cantwell said board members visited Ditch Plans Beach “to take a look . . . we wanted to get to the bottom of this as quickly as we could.”

While the comments from the podium on Tuesday were largely critical of Coreys, Montauk resident Chuck Weimar was one of less than a handful of speakers on Wednesday who had anything but glowing reviews.

Weimar said the alleged overcrowding had reached a “boiling point.” He recommended the permit revocation for “exploitation of a public resource.”

Senese said there is a “misconception” about Coreys and that he wants to work with the town on any concerns.

At the end of the meeting the board decided to study the matter further before deciding how to proceed.

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