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Southold considers fee increase, code change as beach usage rises

Southold Town Board is looking to raise fees

Southold Town Board is looking to raise fees related to beach use. March 3, 2017 Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

An increase in visitors to Southold beaches this summer and in the past few years has prompted the Southold Town Board to consider raising beach parking fees and altering the town code for beach parking regulations.

Town Councilman Bob Ghosio said he has noticed the number of complaints get higher this summer regarding the lack of parking at local beaches and more traffic heading to the beach.

“It’s becoming a summertime problem and we need to address it,” said Ghosio. “It has gotten worse and worse in the last few summers, and from what I can tell . . . we saw a lot more traffic this summer and a lot more parking problems than we have in the past.”

One proposal, according to Ghosio, would create new shapes for beach stickers that would help beach workers and town officers who patrol beaches more quickly identify who should and should not be using beaches.

Board members discussed the issue at their Aug. 1 meeting, including possibly raising some of the town’s beach parking permit costs.

“Our permit costs are very low [compared with other towns]and we need to revise those,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said Friday.

Some of the fee increases the board is discussing include raising daily passes for beach use from $25 to $35 for nonresidents and from $40 to $75 for people leasing property in town for the duration of the lease. The board also is considering increasing seasonal beach passes for people staying at hotels from $40 to $100, and doubling nonresident seasonal beach passes from $150 to $300.

While there has been discussion about raising the beach pass fee from $10 to $15 for year-round residents, Russell said he felt the board would not support that.

Town Councilman Jim Dinizio said he wanted to wait until he had more information on the issue before offering his opinion, but noted he had heard of New Suffolk Beach’s parking problems during the summer and wanted to find a way to alleviate that.

Russell added he preferred taking the idea of resident beach stickers off the table.

“Local residents pay not just a sticker fee, but they do pay taxes and maintain beaches each year, so I would like to see that taken off the discussion to focus more on nonresident permits and nonresident beach access,” said Russell. “Those are fees that need to go up.”

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