MAKE IT A PARK
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people through a powerful activist network of local chapters with over 250,000 members throughout the world.
The Eastern Long Island Chapter of Surfrider Foundation has carefully reviewed the ED-40 proposal and concludes that this property would make an excellent acquisition for a community park. Our conclusion is based on the fact that the property is situated not only in a VE18/AE15 FEMA Flood Zone but, with the exception of a small corner of the property that is not being proposed for new structures, is entirely within the “Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) Zone”. This zone describes areas that are not only subject to flooding, but are subject to waves exceeding 1.5 feet in height.
We also note that the property is adjacent to town-owned properties to the east and west. A significant amount of public funds have been directed toward acquiring 365 acres of oceanfront property in this area over recent years: Shadmoor Preserve (a joint state, county, and town purchase), Rhinestein Preserve (town), Ditch Plains Town Park, an unnamed 3-acre town nature preserve adjacent to the Otis Road ROW parking area, town-owned “Dirt Lot” (4 acres), a 25-acre town nature preserve adjacent to and east of Montauk Shores Condominiums a.k.a. Trailer Park, a 6-acre town nature preserve between Hoffman’s and Cavett’s properties, the 200-acre Amsterdam Beach Preserve, and the 15-acre Warhol Preserve owned by TNC.
The ED-40 property is centered on this two-mile-long stretch of public parkland.
The ED-40 property’s location adjacent to town properties, its proximity to other preserved open space along the stretch of oceanfront, Ditch Plains’ popularity as a recreational destination among town residents and visitors, coupled with it being situated in an oceanfront flood zone, makes this property an excellent candidate for public acquisition and a community park.
We also note that the current proposal by ED40 LLC, the new owner(s) of the East Deck Motel, to convert this modest 28-room motel into a 179-member private beach club would:
- Increase total lot coverage by 142%, from 24.15% to 58.53%.
- Construct a 30,219 square-foot, two-story building, reaching 35 feet tall with 5,574 square feet of decking. This building would house a new restaurant, bar and event space.
- Replace the 1,375 square-foot pool with an 7,224 square-foot pool.
- Convert the existing motel structures totaling 10,239 square feet and 1,025 square feet of decking for use as a spa, café and cabanas.
- Add 63 parking spaces to the legally existing 37 parking spaces for a total of 100 parking spaces.
- Construct a new 1,320 square-foot building for mechanicals and garbage storage.
- Build a septic system to handle waste from 537 people totaling 5,171 gallons of sewage per day.
- Place fill to raise the elevation of a portion of the property by 14 feet to construct a new septic system above the high water table.
- Remove 10,288 cubic yards of soil, earth, gravel and sand.
The proposal is anathema to Surfrider Foundation’s mission and to four of its most important mandates: sound coastal policy, clean water, beach access, and preservation of special and unique surfing locations.
Further development of this property should not be permitted. Montauk is already confronting the consequences of building its downtown motels in a flood hazard zone. Global warming has made it critically important for our elected officials and policy makers to take into account the lessons learned from the poor decisions of the past and to not repeat them in the future.
The selective purchase of key coastal properties such as this one represents the most sound policy decision. This approach serves the public good as it creates a natural buffer that minimizes future storm impacts.
Surfrider Foundation strongly opposes the ED-40 proposal and we urge the East Hampton Town Planning Board to reject the Special Permit application for a “change of use” from a 28-room motel to a private membership club that would encompass greater intensification of use on the property.