Indian Wells Beach

Indian Wells Beach Credit: Flickr/Ed Costello

The East Hampton town board will hold a public hearing Thursday night on a proposal to ban alcohol at two beaches in Amagansett.

The prohibition would affect the areas 1,500 feet east and west of the entrances to Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue beaches during lifeguard hours.

If passed, the law would be the first alcohol ban on a town beach in East Hampton.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the town has received complaints about drinking at Indian Wells since the beach surged in popularity last year.

"You're dealing with a family beach," Cantwell said. "The conflict with the drinking became an issue."

He said the board is seeking to ban alcohol at both beaches because if a ban is in place only at Indian Wells, drinkers would move to nearby Atlantic Avenue beach.

The town board's proposal has caused a rift between the board and the town trustees, a separate elected body that regulates beaches and waterways under a Colonial-era patent.

"Where are we going to go with this? People aren't going to be able to have a salami sandwich at the beach because it smells bad?" said Diane McNally, who heads the trustees. "That's taking it to the ridiculous, but at some point we have to say it's the behavior, it's not the alcohol."

The trustees have offered a counterproposal to ban alcohol 500 feet east and west of the entrance at Indian Wells and allow alcohol at Atlantic Beach.

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