Sound View Commission
Meeting Minutes — Unapproved
27th March, 2017
Town Hall Meeting Room
Present: Frank Pappalardo (Chair), Joann Reis Lishing, Michaelle Pearson (Secretary), Jackie Miano (Alternate), Frank Maratta (Alternate)
Also Present, Ex-Officio: First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Selectman Skip Sibley
Absent: Harry Plaut, David Kelsey, Sandra Ziemba (alternate)
7.35 pm Meeting called to order by Chairman Frank Pappalardo.
Alternate Jackie Miano seated for the absent Harry Plaut. Alternate Frank Maratta seated for the absent David Kelsey.
Approval of January Minutes: Joann Lishing motioned to approve, Jackie Miano seconded.
All in favor. Minutes approved.
7.36pm: Miami Beach Fence Update
First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder reported that there had been meetings with the Board of Selectmen and Mark Mongillo and Mike Girard of Miami Beach Association to discuss the fence issue and proposed fees. Access, security and stipend issues were discussed.
Frank Pappalardo stated that because there had been so many questions regarding the town’s jurisdiction and standing to challenge the fence via lawsuit, he provided copies of the original 1953 judgment against Miami Beach. This lawsuit was brought by property owners, not the town, and contains a list of the people who were parties to the suit.
Mrs. Reemsnyder said that according to the town attorney, the original litigants, their successors and/or assigns, have the best standing to reopen the suit to challenge the current fence.
(1953 decision against Miami Beach document attached)
Frank Pappalardo also handed out copies of a summary of the proposed Miami Beach Clean Beach Pass Program (CBP) as provided by the Miami Beach Association. (CBP summary attached.)
Angelo Faenza, Portland Ave., said that the town had removed the fence three separate times.
Mrs. Reemsnyder stated that according to the attorneys, the town has no standing to do this, and a court challenge would be needed.
Frank Maratta urged the town to take the initiative, and protect the public’s access to the beach, saying that the town should stand behind the taxpayers who use the public beach. If this needs to be reopened, the town should do it.
The First Selectwoman said that in the past when the town has removed the fence, Miami Beach didn’t challenge it. It’s a different situation today, and the town cannot be placed in a liability situation. The Board of Selectmen cannot instruct any of the town departments to take action they are not legally authorized to perform. The Town Attorney indicated it’s not the town who can get the 1953 judgment enforced. It would need to be the public, as in the original lawsuit. The State Attorney General agreed.
Frank Pappalardo said that several years ago, residents on the east side of Swan Avenue were denied their deeded right to access Old Colony Beach. The residents affected brought suit against Old Colony and won. The suit was not brought by the town.
Dan Tricario, Hartford Avenue, asked if you bought property based on the unencumbered right to use the beach, don't you have standing?
Mrs. Reemsnyder said that if (the) people hire an attorney and get a letter stating there is a judgment that would be one way to proceed.
Frank Pappalardo asked Frank Maratta if he’d be willing to send this to his attorney to take a look. Mr. Maratta agreed.
A general discussion followed re the detail of the CBP.
Frank Pappalardo said that the CBP will be in effect in a month and a half, and in his view, Miami is trying to accommodate Sound View and Town residents, such as providing the CBP to Sound View residents/guests and no-charge entry to town residents/ guests. More discussion is needed to iron out the details. The reality of the situation is, at this point, the CBP will go into effect until legal action, if any, occurs. There will be a meeting with the Miami Beach Association leadership the week before Memorial Day, and another on the Thursday after Memorial Day, and throughout the summer to discuss any issues that arise.
Frank Maratta asked why the Zoning Enforcement Officer has done nothing to stop this. Miami Beach is now a business. It’s a venue. They’re taking money. They are subject to a 10% state admissions tax.
Frank Pappalardo explained that it is his understanding that as a Chartered Beach Association, Miami Beach can charge a tax, and/or user fee. Right now recreational facilities are exempt from the use tax.
Frank Maratta reiterated that this makes Miami Beach Association a commercial business. Is this considered a change of use? Mrs. Reemsnyder said that the Town Fire Marshal had brought that up. He’s looking at the rules and asking them to make some changes, but Zoning doesn't have jurisdiction over the fence itself.
Dan Tricario said that MBA is calling it a Clean Beach fee, but it’s really a security fee in disguise.
Frank Maratta asked, what does the Zoning Officer say? Can he look at it as a business, and determine what the issues are?
Frank Pappalardo suggested that Mr. Maratta take a look at the Zoning regulations and point out some things to the ZEO that should be looked at.
There will be a meeting with the Miami Beach Association leadership the week before Memorial Day, and another on the Thursday after Memorial Day to discuss any issues that arise.
Angelo Faenza stated that he is worried about what happens in the future. Afraid that MBA is taking a public beach and turning it private. What if they decide to charge more or limit access entirely in the future?
Joann Lishing took issue with a statement in the MBA document stating that the reason for the fence was security issues on the beach occurring over “the past 5 years”. Ms. Lishing said she wished to emphasize that the issues have only occurred for the past two years. Previous years had no security/enforcement issues.
Selectman Skip Sibley said that the rules as they stand from the town’s perspective is that it should be business as usual for residents. Residents should be allowed onto the beach with no problem. It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction of people who do not qualify for the CBP.
Further discussion: Will it make Sound View more crowded? Will it make policing easier? What are the contingency plans for overcrowding on Sound View Beach?
Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal stated they the Board of Selectmen did not take this lightly. Miami Beach did not effectively communicate their plans until recently. She urged everyone to document everything going forward.
8.29pm SVIC Update. Met today. Drainage pipe issue on Martino Rd. has been addressed, and will be part of the project. Has been approved by the DOT. Will improve drainage. Additional cost approx. $30K, which has already been budgeted in the contingency and is 80% reimbursable. Timeline remains unchanged. There was a question regarding the surface of the sidewalks. “Concrete rubbing” will be done in spring to ensure the proper texture.
8.35 pm Resident Trooper Status
First Selectwoman Reemsnyder said that the Board had interviewed candidates and one had been chosen. Currently going through the State process. The Board hopes to have an announcement soon.
Zoning Board of Appeals Variance Approvals Information:
Sons of Italy Hall/ 280 Shore Rd.: Frank Pappalardo provided copies of the site plan and drawing. New owners have zoning variances for parking buffers. Proposed professional office, gambrel style, same footprint. Owner-occupied. Dentist office and Lawyer office. Frank Pappalardo looked at the plans and thought the variances made sense. Main entrance on Rte. 156. Side entrance for employee-only parking on side of Portland Avenue. Owners will put up a gate /chain to prevent beach parking. Next month they will go to zoning with their site plan, mechanicals and safety plan. Hearing is April 10th.
Some questions had been raised at last meeting regarding Cool Moose variances. Case: 16-06, March 2016. No new information, no plans have been filed.
Variances granted for moving package store to another location and change of use from commercial to residential. Building and zoning permits needed, but none filed for 61 Hartford Ave.
A building permit was applied for solely for the replacement of roof and siding not for changing the configuration of the building. No Zoning Commission approval. The DiNinos received a letter stating they must apply for the proper zoning and building permits. They also changed the roofline which increased the footprint. According to Zoning Enforcement Officer Keith Rosenfeld they have not received required proper buildings permit or zoning approval.
8.42 Osprey Festival: June 17th. Met with Board of Selectmen on 3/6. Approved use of parking lot, etc., pending Fire Marshal, Buildings, etc. approval. One-day parking lot permits may be issued and one shuttle bus allowed to come down Hartford Ave. Volunteers needed to help layout the spots. Pancake breakfast that morning at Shoreline Community Center sponsored by the Sound View Beach Association. There will be over 40 vendors this year.
8.48pm: Parking Lot Sub-Committee Update (Sandy Ziemba):
Frank Pappalardo provided copies of the recommendations from the Private Parking Lot Subcommittee. Will discuss at our next meeting when Ms. Ziemba is present to give details. Mr. Pappalardo asked that all Sound View Commission Members please review these materials carefully before next meeting.
Will meet soon to plan summer activities. So far, have scheduled Old Lyme Town Band for June 20th, and the Army Rock Band for July 27th.
SVVD Sub-Committee: Will revisit when David Kelsey is present.
Lenny Corto, Jr. (Lenny’s on the Beach) Presentation:
Frank Pappalardo said that Lenny Corto, Jr. had asked to be placed on the agenda to make a presentation regarding marketing Sound View. However, he was not present at tonight’s meeting, so discussion was postponed.
Board of Selectmen are reviewing a no-smoking policy on town property, which includes Sound View Beach. There was a supportive editorial in The Day recently.
Public Comment: None
Joann Lishing motioned to adjourn. Frank Maratta seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.
Meeting adjourned at 8.58 pm.