More Troubling News in the Town of
Letter to the TOB by NYCRF Tom Farrell
4 June 2010
Town of Brookhaven
Supervisor Mark Lesko
One Independence Hill
Farmingville, NY 11738
During your campaign for the Election of Town Supervisor you vowed to assist
and support the recreational anglers in the Town of Brookhaven. You in fact
did live up to your promises and supported us after being elected by
re-opening Shoreham Beach to fisherman after it was illegally closed, you
added Shoreham Beach to the Brookhaven Night Fishing Permit and you also gave
the go ahead for the establishment of a recreational fishing advisory board.
We applaud you for all of your efforts and accomplishments.
The reason we are contacting you at this time, is that there are still several
major issues that are not being addressed or they are being put aside, and
many of us feel that they are possibly being covered up. All of these issues
need to be addressed. Being that you have proven to be a friend of the
recreational anglers in the past we are once again looking for your
assistance. We are not looking for anything other than to have our basic
rights to be upheld. We are simply tired of having our rights violated.
It has been brought to our attention that a resident of the Town of Brookhaven
has reported several violations against the North Shore Beach Property Owner
Association in confidentiality to the Town’s Building Department. The key
violations that we are concerned with are the fact that the homeowner
association illegally installed fences at the end of Broadway Avenue and
Friendship Drive in Rocky Point. These fences were installed without permits
and they are not in compliance with town code. After carefully reviewing the
town code 85-57a and 85-57b there is no possibility that the NSBOA can come
into compliance. It is clear that the fences were illegally installed to begin
with and that everyone involved at the town know this to be true as well.
When a resident of the Town of Brookhaven had questioned the inspector who
investigated the violations at Friendship Drive, was told that he did not
believe there was any problem with the fence being there because they go by
different codes in that area, we all knew something was going array. The
resident then continued to ask what codes do they have to abide by if they are
different. His answer was that he did not know. This drew up another red flag.
How does an inspector not know the codes that he happens to be investigating?
He was asked about the codes again and he told your constituent that they
would have to speak to his boss Art Gerhauser if they wanted any further
information. Following the chain of command your constituent met with the
Chief Building Inspector Art Gerhauser and asked him about the situation. He
stated that he would go by code 85-57b and that everything is being looked
into. The following day your constituent went back to the office to ask Mr.
Gerhauser a few more questions regarding this matter and he informed this
person that he was specifically instructed not to speak to them any further
regarding anything related to this matter and that if there were any further
questions they would have to be addressed to the Commissioner Martin Haley.
The chain of command was followed once again and Mr. Haley was kind enough to
grant a meeting in which I was in attendance as well. Mr. Haley stated that at
times due to their workload and lack of manpower, violations and complaints
often get over looked or skipped over. At times they are not even investigated
unless they are reported 2 or 3 times. This should not be acceptable for
anyone. If there are laws and codes they should be enforced. He also stated
that everything would be looked into but it could take a very long time
because they would have to pull up all of the tax maps and other records. We
had further discussion regarding this matter and in my personal opinion I
still feel that not everything that should be getting done is getting done. I
certainly hope some type of cover up is not underway. Also so you know a few
of your constituents went on their own and pulled up all the tax maps, deeds
and other documents in a short amount of time. Why would it take the Building
Department who investigates these matters on a regular basis an excessive
amount of time?
Not only are these fences not in compliance and illegal, they are blocking off
public access to the beach. The fence located at Friendship Drive happens to
be built directly over the public right-of-way named Skidmore Landing. The
North Shore Beach Property Owner Association is fully aware of all of this.
From as early as the association’s inception they were fully aware of the
Public Trust Doctrine and the public right-of-way Skidmore Landing. The proof
is in several history books and the Deeds of the lands they claim to own. So
everyone knows; we do hold all of the proof in our hands. We have attempted to
reach out to them in the past so they would have the opportunity to do the
right thing and simply give recreational fisherman their rightful access to go
fishing in the Long Island Sound. Our reaching out to the NSBOA fell on deaf
ears. It has become clear that the President of their association feels they
are above the law and that they do not have to make a compromise with anyone.
It has sadly come to the point where we have to look to the Town to end the
violation of our basic rights.
As you already know the Public Trust Doctrine clearly states that the general
public has the right to use and access the land between the low water mark and
the mean high water mark for recreational purposes such as fishing. Currently
the mean high water mark is all the way up to the bluffs on the north shore.
This is as per the NYS DEC. We also now know that when Broadway Avenue and
Friendship Dr. (Skidmore Landing) were built they were installed all the way
to the low water mark. The homeowner association is clearly violating the
rights of each and every recreational angler in the Town of Brookhaven so once
again we are looking for your assistance to end this blatant violation of our
We also know that public tax payers funding has gone towards the repairs of
the NSBOA properties and the beach from FEMA. According to the homeowner
association the Town of Brookhaven has been doing all of the snow removal on
their supposed private roads since the 1960’s. How does so much of the general
public’s money go to the private homeowner association when the public is
being denied access to the beach? It is very well known now that the Federal
and State Government are not permitted to supply any funding to any lands that
are denying the public use and access. We want what is rightfully ours and we
want it now. Their fences which are blocking our public access need to come
down and they need to come down now. Beyond being illegal and blocking public
access to the beach they are an absolute eye sore and the fence at Broadway
Avenue is an absolute safety hazard.
There are other towns on Long Island that give the recreational anglers a
great amount of respect and adequate access to our beaches. Prime examples are
the Town of Riverhead and the Town of East Hampton. With so much beach front
why is the Town of Brookhaven not the same? Improvements for beach access and
recreational fishing within the town can and will improve the quality of life
for everyone and greatly improve the local economy as well. It has been proven
that recreational anglers generate billions of dollars each year into the
State of New York’s Economy each and every year. Perhaps it is time for the
Town of Brookhaven to take a greater piece of the pie and improve the access
for all of their constituents.
We strongly urge you to do whatever it is within your power to order the North
Shore Beach Property Owner Association to take down their fences immediately
and to uphold our rights as Citizens of the United States of America. We look
forward to hearing from you very soon and working together on this matter.
Thomas J. Farrell
Vice President – New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing Inc.
September 4, 2009 -North Shore Sun;
Fishermen, Leonard accuse Bonner of
holding up committee
Councilwoman laughs off claim, says fishing advisory
group will meet
Contact: Tom Farrell,
Boost Economy of
Rocky Point’s Downtown
ROCKY POINT – Thirty fishermen joined John
Leonard, the Democratic nominee for the Second Council District, at a rally
Monday to underscore how the
fishing industry benefits
the economies of
When a local beach was closed to fishermen last year,
Rocky Point Fishing Stop had to lay off three employees. Two adjacent - and
empty – storefronts couldn’t find new tenants. When the beach reopened a few
months ago to fishermen under a compromise brokered by new
Mark Lesko, business at remaining shops and
restaurants improved, staffing levels increased and more people strolled down
“In Rocky Point, the downtown and the fisherman are
symbiotic,” said Leonard, standing with the fishermen and
Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko in
front of Rocky Point Fishing Stop. “Fishermen from across
Long Island who
fish at our beaches frequent our
bait and tackle shops. They eat at our downtown restaurants and
buy their gas here. They invigorate the local economy.
“The opposite is also true: When fishermen are
discouraged from visiting, downtown and area shops struggle – and it isn’t
bait and tackle stores.
The delis suffer. So do the
convenience stores and gas stations. The trickle-down affect is
immediate and deeply felt.”
Stanley Hentschel, owner of
Rocky Point Fishing Stop, was semi-retired with a staff of five when
Jane Bonner and the Town of
Beach to fishermen.
“The Town used the lame
excuse that it was never a fishing beach,” said Hentschel, at a rally for
fishermen Monday in front of his shop. “That’s nonsense and everyone knows it.
I’ve been fishing there since 1962.
Closing the beach to
fishermen prompted an immediate collapse in the local fishing economy,
devastating Rocky Point’s
already hurting downtown. Hentschel had to cut into his retirement account to
maintain his staffing levels. He loaned his company $165,000. But by year’s
end, Hentschel again couldn’t support five employees. So he had no choice but
lay off three workers and returned to work full-time.
Hentschel and area fishermen
banded together to lobby the Town to reopen the outer edges of the beach to
fishermen. But they couldn’t even get the Town to hear them out.
“Jane said at a meeting that
she was in contact with me. Not true. She never made the effort,” said
Hentschel, a Republican supporting John Leonard for Town Council.
But Lesko brokered a
solution: Require beach visitors to get a parking pass, enabling greater
enforcement of users of all kinds – and, at the same time, help the businesses
in for Rocky Point’s downtown.
“The road to a solution was a
simple one: convene the affected parties and talk out the problem,” Lesko
said. “That’s the best way to a solution, and that happened here. Brookhaven
is no longer the ‘Town of No.’ Brookhaven is now the ‘Town of Solutions.’”
“Mark Lesko is a friend of fishermen for life,” said Tom
Farrell, vice president of New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing, Inc.
“He understood our interests, Rocky Point’s rich fishing history and how we
benefit local business. I look forward to working with Mark Lesko and John
Leonard. They deserve Rocky Point’s vote. It doesn’t matter if you are a
Republican, Democrat or Conservative.”
Business at Hentschel’s
bait and tackle shop
has improved, and he boosted his staffing levels. He isn’t the only
businessman seeing better revenues since the beach reopened.
Phil Romano treks to Rocky Point occasionally from his
home in Flushing, Queens – when the local beach is open to fishermen.
“When you finish fishing at noon after starting at 4
a.m., you need to eat, you need to drink,” said Romano, who attended Monday’s
rally. “So you stop downtown, find a place to get lunch. You gas up before
Brookhaven Town Officials Have Reached a Compromise!
meets with Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko
opinion Mr. Lesko was very receptive and appreciative with our requests
being completely rational. He thanked us (the NYCRF) for all of the support
we had given him during the campaign and election. He also informed me that
he has been dealing with the residents in the Shoreham Beach area and has
been talking to Jane Bonner as well. Jane wanted to attend our meeting
however Mark told her not to be there because he felt it would be counter
productive. I feel very confident that he is going to give us what we are
looking for. He did not commit to a firm decision on what he plans on doing
with Shoreham Beach and the other requests, however he did tell me that he
will be making his decision regarding Shoreham within 1 week. (The
Beach will be re-opening however the day and night issue has to be
worked out with the residents).
completely on board for a Recreational Fishing Advisory Board. They will be
working on this in the near future. As you read in the letter above they
were given the names of the recreational anglers we want on the Board..
heavily in favor of card locking access system for the parks. Mark likes the
idea of accountability. When people only see a few cars there for the night
and they know their name is on record being there they will be less likely
to leave any trash behind or cause any other issues.
Debbie Delgatto had taken some photographs of
the parking areas of the North
Shore beaches. She presented them to Mark so he could clearly see there
is a major parking issue. Several of the beaches on the
North Shore have plenty of area for parking however there are only a
few actual parking spaces while the rest of the street is riddled with no
parking signs. Mark will be looking into this situation for us.
One thing I did not like at the meeting was
that he asked me about daytime fishing and permits being related to the day a
few times. I was adamant in the fact that fishing during the day is our basic
right and that nowhere in the country do you have to file for a permit to
fish salt water during
the daylight hours. Fishing during the night may be a privilege that we have
to have a permit for but in no way do we need a permit for our basic given
rights. He is very clear on what our stance will be.
Mark brought up to us that he will be going
back to talk to the residents who have been reasonable and not the ones who
have been completely unreasonable. He thinks our proposal will go over very
well with them. Also he did say a few times that he does not believe the Town
can legally do anything to prevent us from passing in and out of the beach
with fishing gear. So he is thankful that we are being so reasonable with our
When enforcement was brought up regarding the
beaches and parks a poor excuse was given. We were told that the Parks
officers are being cut back and that enforcement costs money which they really
do not have much of. They do not feel that they can provide enforcement due to
today’s lack revenue. It was brought up that SCPD used to patrol those beaches
on ATV’s and when they were there they did not have many if any issues. In my
opinion they will be looking into some possible help from the County for
Overall the meeting went extremely well. Now
he has 1 week left to make his decision. He knows what he has to do and I feel
things will go very well.
I hope this report will be good enough for
all. My computer at home has crashed and I am trying to squeak everything in
while at work.
Secretary – New York Coalition for Recreational
Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko:
On behalf of the New York Coalition for
Recreational Fishing we would like to congratulate you on your great success
becoming the new Town of Brookhaven Supervisor. We look forward to a
continuous and positive working relationship with you and the Town Board.
As discussed throughout your
campaign for election we have several things we would like to work along with
you regarding recreational fishing in the Town of Brookhaven . Below is a list
of requests we would like to start off with.
1. We strongly urge you to
re-open the access of Shoreham Beach to recreational fisherman for day and
night use. Also we would like the No Fishing sign to either be removed or
modified as soon as possible. (A notation on the sign of no fishing within the
bathing area is acceptable). Additionally we would like Shoreham Beach to be
added to the already existing Brookhaven Night Fishing Permit..
2. We would also like to request
establishing a Fishing Advisory Board for the Town of Brookhaven . We would
like the board to meet with the Town Board 3 – 4 times per year to help the
town with any recreational fishing related problems or issues. The
recreational fisherman we would like to appoint to the advisory board are
named as follows: Mike Lang who resides at 41
Lombardi Dr. Smith Point
631-617-5067, NY 11967, Debbie Delgatto of
19 Hazel Ave. Farmingville NY 11738 631-372-7167 and Vito Orlando of
14 Longleaf Ln. Medford NY 11763 631-289-5081.
3. We would like to request
either a key or card system for parking during night time access. This system
was successful at other locations in the past and to the best of our knowledge
is already in place at the Town of Brookhaven dog run. The New York Coalition
for Recreational Fishing would be open to giving the Town financial assistance
in installing such a system.
4. We would also like to have
bilingual no littering signs posted. They could be constructed of aluminum and
measure 16” x 20”. The NYCRF could also assist the town financially in this
effort as well.
5. We would also like to request
a non resident night fishing permit to be established. This permit could be
sold in a limited number, and only for certain locations that can sustain
additional people. The fee for the permit could be 2 – 3 times the amount of a
residents permit. With the current state of our economy this could only help
generate more finances for the Town of Brookhaven . The locations we would
like to see added to a night permit for non residents are as follows: Shoreham
Beach, Blue Point fishing
pier, Cedar Beach fishing pier,
West Meadow Beach,
Sandspit Marina in Patchogue,
Forge River Fishing Pier
on Riviera Dr. in Mastic, Stony Brook Fishing Pier, Pine Neck Dock in East
Patchogue, Corey Beach in Blue Point, Union Ave. dock in
Center Moriches and the
Maple Ave. Dock in East
6. Last but not least we would
like to see additional
parking spaces at Hallock Landing road in Rocky point, Woodhull Landing
Road in Sound Beach , Landing Road in
Miller Place and
Hagerman Landing Road in
Rocky Point. The parking over at West Meadow beach could be improved as
well due to the gate that has been moved.
Please keep in mind the New York
Coalition for Recreational Fishing and the majority of recreational fisherman
are extremely conservation minded. We are more than happy to provide beach
clean ups as required from time to time. Thank you very much in advance for
all of your support and consideration.
Thomas J. Farrell
Secretary – New York Coalition for
Brookhaven Town News
The Coalition will soon be meeting with
Supervisor Mark Lesko and the assistant Supervisor of Brookhaven Town to work
out a plan for fishing access for now and the future.