Shinnecock Hills Golf Club claims it is a driveway

Gregor: Town Owns Road

Southampton Town appears ready to take the hard line in a dispute with the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

At issue is a dispute over a road that runs through the golf course property near its southern border adjacent to County Road 39 and the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

The disputed portion of the road is from a loop in St. Andrews Road, where the Southampton Montessori School is located, west to Tuckahoe Road. St. Andrews is a town road that runs from Old Montauk Highway northward and terminates in the loop that passes under County Road 39 and exits into the westbound lane.

But another road cuts west from the loop to the course. It is blocked off from the public and has been used by the club for years, but apparently not exclusively, at least according to the town.

After questioning the legality of the town taking over the road, the club threatened the Southampton Town highway superintendent with legal action.

On November 8, Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor submitted a document signed by 80 individuals who swore “they have traveled the two-lane paved section by automobile many times in the past,” including the section that “begins at Tuckahoe Road and proceeds to the East . . .”

A fence, however, blocks the road right now. A “Private Road” sign delineates its usage: for golf club business.

Anthony Pasca, an attorney representing Shinnecock Golf Club, said the club considers the portion of the road “its private driveway.” The dispute traces back to 1932. The club believes it made a valid deal with Suffolk County and Southampton Town to abandon a portion of the road when CR 39 was being laid out.

Pasca, in a letter to Gregor dated September 20, listed the following chain of events:

“This was an historic public/private transaction, which involved three principals: (1) the County, which acquired Club property to open CR39, (2) the Town, which reconfigured and relocated the terminus of St. Andrews Road over other Club property, to allow St. Andrews to join up with the new county road (where the two roads currently connect), and (3) the Club, which acquired the abandoned portion of St. Andrews Rd for private use.”

Gregor said town records are murky, but the town board at the time didn’t have the authority to make the deal with the county anyway.

His latest submission, he said, proves that town residents have been using the road as a public road, making whatever happened in the 1930s moot.

The attorney and Gregor have exchanged barbs and threats ever since. “They put in a (Freedom Of Information Law) request. Now they want my emails. I guess they don’t like egg on their face,” Gregor said.

The bottom line, Gregor said, is “the road has value to the town.”

rmurphy@indyeastend.com