Riverhead Town’s beaches were inundated with hordes of people and fishermen believed to be from out of town over the Memorial Day weekend, according to officials.
It’s a situation that reportedly occurred at beaches in other East End areas as well, including Southold Town, North Sea and Hampton Bays.
“This weekend I was inundated with phone calls and emails from people from Wading River about the beaches,” Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said at Tuesday’s board work session. “They couldn’t park in the parking lots because the lots were full with nonresidents with out-of-state plates and no parking stickers.”
Ms. Giglio said the town issued 11 summonses to cars that were parked at the town beach in Wading River and didn’t have the required town beach parking sticker.
Another 18 summonses were issued at Hulse Landing beach, she said.
In addition, police reported large groups of people fishing at the town’s Iron Pier beach over the weekend.
Councilman Tim Hubbard said there were people camping on the beach at Reeves Park.
“They were set up for the whole weekend there,” he said. “There’s no sanitary and the restrooms aren’t open and that’s a huge problem in itself. Garbage was are all over the place, and there were out-of-towners with out-of-state plates. The license plate brackets were saying Queens. We’re assuming they were not Riverhead residents, because there were no stickers on the cars.”
Mr. Hubbard said that while the town enforces beach stickers and other issues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., there’s no enforcement after that.
“We have New York City, whose beaches are closed, and we’re getting a huge influx of people on our beaches,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said.
Ms. Giglio said the police need to get an all-terrain vehicle on the beaches to patrol violations there.
“There were trucks on the beach and they didn’t have beach stickers,” she said, adding that there were bonfires and parties on the beach all night.
Councilwoman Catherine Kent agreed with Ms. Giglio but added, “This is a problem in all of Nassau and Suffolk counties. It seems pretty outrageous to me that people are setting up camping at night.”
She said the town needs to limit who comes into the beach, and with social distancing limited the total number of people that can fit on the beach, it’s important that town residents get first priority.