There's more trouble brewing at the where a fence was erected on the beach in September.
Homeowner Mollie Zweig has had a tall pole erected with a surveillance camera on top of it, recently. On Friday morning, East Hampton Village code enforcement officer Tom Lawrence said that he is looking into possible charges for erecting yet another structure within the dune of the Coastal Erosion Hazard zone.
At a meeting of the group Citizens for Access Rights on Wednesday night, Lawrence said village officials noticed the pole and large camera went up after some alleged instances of vandalism on the steel pilings, meant to be a fence, on the beach. Those pilings -- over two dozen of them -- landed Zweig in court.
Zweig and her partner Bob Sullivan were issued summonses in September citing each of them for three counts of violating village law under sections pertaining to the beach - the Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas Act, which the DEC allows the village to regulate - and Preservation of Dunes.
Punishment under each section of the code vary from $250 to $1,000 in fines to up to six months in prison with regards to the Coastal Erosion law.
Due in court last month, they sent representation, Lawrence said. However, because the charges are considered criminal, the date was postponed and they will have to appear themselves.
Although the property does belong to Zweig and she does have the right to reclaim it after an instance of avulsion, such as occurred after Hurricane Irene in September, the law is very clear, Lawrence said, “No structures on the beach.”
Lawrence said that there are remedies such as getting a permit to put up snow fence by the dunes to help foster the gradual accretion of sand, replant the dunes and move the fence shoreward over time.
Zweig's next door neighbor tried putting up a snow fence without permits, but immediately after being advised of the violation, removed the fence. "Compliance occurred so fast I didn't even have time to send out the notification," Lawrence said. The property owners can apply for a permit, but have not done so yet, he said.
Lawrence said that the matter also becomes an issue of public safety. He said, “It not only impedes public access but it impedes emergency services.” He explained that at high tide the water comes up to the fence, making that area impassable.
As for the pole with the security camera, Lawrence said Zweig is perfectly in her right to have a security camera on the property. The issue is whether the pole is legal. "We are reviewing that in contemplation of charges," he said on Friday.