Split over beach permits

Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen is hoping to stop what he feels is the needless ticketing of law-abiding citizens by replacing the town’s year-round beach parking permits with summer seasonal ones.

Over the winter, he said, cars parked at town beaches have been ticketed for not having stickers — even though no one else was even there.

The measure was supported by tourism groups during a public hearing Tuesday, but some Reeves Park residents think it’s a bad idea, saying it will encourage people to hang out at the beach in the offseason and will contribute to littering and crime.

Mr. Gabrielsen’s wife, however, likes the proposed change.

“I’ve lived in Jamesport for 35 years and this past winter I got harassed sitting in the parking lot reading my newspaper and I wasn’t too happy about that,” Janice Gabrielsen said at the hearing.

Eric Biegler of Reeves Park, who also spoke at Town Hall, said beaches, often neglected during the winter months, could attract vagrants.

“Our beaches are very isolated and segregated areas; they are very poorly lit and very poorly maintained and very poorly patrolled,” he said. “By opening them up to the general public, you’re going to find people who want to find isolated places that are poorly lit, staying there and hanging out and doing things that they should not be doing.”

Janine Nebons, representing Tanger Outlet Center and the East End Tourism Bureau, and John Galla, representing the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, both support the change, which they feel will bring more tourists to town.

“Why should we penalize those who briefly stop by a beach on an Indian summer day in early October?” Mr. Galla asked.


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