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Alcohol ban compromise would affect 1 Amagansett beach

Lifeguards at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett clear

Lifeguards at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett clear debris washed ashore from heavy surf caused by Hurricane Earl in 2010. (Sept. 4, 2010) Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

The East Hampton Town Board's proposal for a more modest drinking ban would limit alcohol at just one beach in Amagansett and be in effect only on weekends and holidays, but none of the parties involved in the compromise is happy with it.

At a meeting Tuesday, Supervisor Larry Cantwell proposed a new drinking ban affecting only Indian Wells Beach -- 1,000 feet east and west of the entrance -- on summer weekends and holidays, during lifeguard hours, and not at Atlantic Avenue.

Cantwell said the proposal was the result of a deal with the town trustees, a separately elected body that opposed a previous version of the ban.

"Look, I've done what I can do here to move this forward, working with the town trustees," Cantwell said. "Is this the law that I would have written if it were only me making this decision? No, it's not. But I think it's the best we can achieve working together with the trustees."

The town board sought to ban drinking for 1,500 feet east and west of the entrances to both beaches seven days a week and said the ban was meant to curb a wild party scene that emerged at Indian Wells in 2012. The Atlantic Avenue ban was intended to keep parties from moving there.

The trustees, a nine-member body with jurisdiction over shorelines and waterways, opposed the original ban, but a majority said they would accept a scaled-down version.

The town board voted 5-0 to schedule a public hearing for the new ban on July 17, although some members expressed disappointment.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said if the new plan moves forward, it would go into effect too late in the summer season, most likely in August.

"I just have a real problem with us getting through another whole season without any meaningful change," he said. "I'm not happy with this at all."

If approved, the ban would "sunset" at the end of the summer season in September, Cantwell said. The town board and trustees could renew it or alter it before next summer.

The trustees voted 6-2, with one member absent, to back the new proposal on June 24, said Clerk of the Trustees Diane McNally, who leads the body.

"The trustees are still not 100 percent sure this is the right way to go," she said.

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