LBSA expresses concerns over Summer 2013 Surf Schedule to City Manager

As many in the Long Beach Surf community are aware, the City has published a proposed 2013 Surf Schedule. While the LBSA and it’s members fully support the City in it’s efforts to develop a fair and equitable schedule for this first summer post Sandy, there are a growing number of members of the LBSA and the community at large that have expressed safety and other concerns, especially as it relates the the proposed schedule’s lockdown of all surfing west of Lincoln Boulevard after 11am on holiday weekends. Will Hallett, the new President of the LBSA, expressed concerns to the City manager via email on May 23rd, 2013. Below is the email, in it’s entirety.

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Dear Mr. Schnirman,

As you may have heard, I recently took over for Billy Kupferman as President of the Long Beach Surfer’s Association. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with you and members of the City’s management on a variety of projects over the years, both as part of the LBSA and individually. On behalf of myself, the Board of Directors of the LBSA, and the entire membership, we all look forward to continuing to work with all of you cooperatively for the greater good of all of the citizens of our City.

I am writing to you today to express the concerns of the LBSA membership and the LBSA Board of Directors over this year’s proposed Surf Beach Schedule, which to our knowledge, has not been finalized. We all know that it has been a difficult time since Sandy, and there were legitimate concerns over the initial schedule that was published. We applaud the City for quickly looking to correct the concerns brought out by the community. In a similar light, I would be remiss in my duties if I did not call to your attention the following concerns from 2012 that have not been addressed in the proposed 2013 schedule, and a new major concern that has been introduced by the proposed 2013 schedule. The two issues unresolved from last year are as follows:

1. Fairness to the swimming (non-surfing) community in the Westholme area – addressing “Back to Back to Back” surf only beaches.

The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, allows for scenarios where there will be two consecutive back to back beaches, and some weeks even THREE consecutive beaches that will be off limits to swimming in the morning hours. The LBSA believes this is an unfair burden, and we strongly recommend that this be addressed.

2. Undue burden on any one of the rotating Westhholme and West End beaches as the “Surf Beach” for entire holiday weekends.

The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, maintains the same beach in the Westholme and West End areas through the entire holiday weekend. The LBSA and other interested citizens have recommended changing the beach each day. If this cannot be done for 2013, it certainly should be considered for Summer, 2014.

With the Memorial Day Weekend rapidly approaching our most grave concern is our third item:

3. Closing of all Surf Beaches west of Lincoln Blvd after 11am for the entire Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends.

The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, provides that the rotating beaches in the Westholme area and the West End be closed to surfing after 11am for these 10 “holiday weekend” days. This effectively means that there will be no place to surf after 11am for an entire 3 mile stretch, and will force surfers to converge on one of only two places, both in the east end of town.

Make no mistake – the position of the LBSA is that closing these beaches after 11am on the holiday weekends creates a major safety concern!

We completely understand the need to make the best possible decisions with our shared resource, and while we understand that the holidays bring out major amounts of swimmers, it also brings major amounts of surfers. We believe the overcrowding that is likely to occur puts our surfing community at a severe, totally unnecessary risk.

Additionally, by closing all beaches west of Lincoln after 11am on these days, the City has effectively deprived anyone who lives in the Westholme area or the West End an opportunity to surf with their families for major portions of their holiday weekend, as no one who lives in that area will be willing to move their car and give up a precious parking spot to go to the east end. Finally the youngest of our citizens in the surf community deserve better. If they live west of Lincoln, we cannot and should not send them off to surf alone, and certainly not into a dangerously overcrowded surf beach.

The LBSA plans to monitor the situation carefully, and we will do our best to respectfully relay our findings and observations to you, the City Council, and the Chief of Lifeguards, for whom we have the utmost respect. We have always enjoyed a great, cooperative relationship with the City. We look forward to your response on these issues, and with you, we all look forward to a safe and successful summer.

Respectfully,

Will Hallett
President, Long Beach Surfer’s Association

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Anyone with thoughts or concerns on this issue is encouraged to contact the LBSA at inf[email protected], and to write or call the City Manager and the City council as well. The LBSA firmly believes that all points of view on the 2013 surf schedule should be heard, but safety must be and should always be the top priority.

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City of Long Beach releases updated proposed Surf Beach Schedule for 2013

The City of Long Beach officially released a proposed updated Surf Beach Schedule for 2013 for public comment. From the City's official website:

"The City Council, listening to feedback from residents, requested that the Chief of Lifeguards and City Manager take another look at the proposed surfing schedule. They have requested something that is more similar to last year’s schedule which was largely successful."

The proposed plan is available for review at the above link, or click here to view.

The Long Beach Surfer's Association fully supports the City's efforts to hear the views of all citizens of our City, from the surfing community and the general beachgoing community alike. We encourage everyone to review the revised proposed plan and contact the City with comments or questions.

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City of Long Beach rescinds 2013 Surf Beach Plan, New plan to be developed

Based on community feedback, the City of Long Beach has decided to rescind the 2013 Surf Beach Plan that was released last week. The decision was made as part of the Long Beach City Council meeting held on May 7th, 2013, and was announced at the Good and Welfare portion of the meeting.

Concerns arose from the residents affected by the West-Central portion of the schedule, many of whom spoke and echoed a theme that their area was being unfairly burdened under the newly announced rotation. While the discussion was passionate, all in the room seemed in agreement that the needs of everyone be considered, and everyone could and should work together in the best interest of the entire community, in a spirit of openness, fairness, and transparency in these difficult, post-Sandy times.

The Long Beach Surfer's Association stands behind the principle of all citizens having a say in how our shared resource is used, and we encourage everyone with opinions on the matter to reach out to the the City Manager and the City Council Members and make their feelings known.

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Long Beach 2013 Summer Surf Beach Schedule: Here’s the FAQ’s!

We realize that in the wake of Sandy, there are a lot of questions about the Summer Surf Schedule. Here are some of the questions the City has heard and addressed:

Q: I've heard there is actually less space for surfers in the 2013 plan. Is this true?

A: Yes – the plan actually does reduce slightly the total number of surf beaches, however the City tried very hard to balance out and distribute the beaches more evenly across the City itself, hopefully resulting in better use of the shared resource.

Q: Why was the plan changed from 2012?

A: Many people contributed to the revised plan. The City took all the feedback received last summer and through the offseason into account. Comments were received from the community at large, the Long Beach Lifeguards, the surf community and non-surfers alike. Most of the feedback was positive, but some people expressed important and legitimate concerns about the inconvenience of "back to back" surf beaches for the non-surfing community, and finding a way to share the burden of holiday weekends, so any one beach was not designated all three days.

Q: So what has changed from the plan from 2012?

A: Actually, not all that much. The plan is identical for the East End and the West End of town, where it was well received with minimal complaints. The real difference is in the 1.5 mile West-Central area (From Riverside in the East to New York Avenue in the west, where instead of a confusing rotation that left both the surfing community and non-surfers alike unsure of where to go, the rotation was simplified. On any given day, there are now just 2 beaches designated for surfing (there had been as many as four on some days of last year's plan). The simplified plan is as follows, using an alternating week system: One week it is Magnolia and Washington, the next week it is Laurelton and Lindell.

Q: There are a lot of beaches in the 1.5 mile stretch between Riverside and New York. Why were these 4 beaches designated?

A: Great question. It comes down realizing that the surf community must do their part and share the space available for ALL uses, not just surfing. This means that there are certain beaches that need to be reserved for other uses. Working west to east: Long Beach Road is reserved for swimming and the Surf Schools. Edwards is reserved for the Junior Lifeguards, National is reserved for City Events. The City also requested that Grand Blvd be reserved because it is the most popular swimming beach in the West Central area.

Most everyone is in agreement that due to the ever growing popularity of surfing, there needs to be a minimum of two beaches in the 1.5 mile West Central area, however with all the restrictions noted above, there were only 5 beaches left to choose from. Then once you factor in the "No Back to Back surf beach" rule, a simple 4 beach rotation became the only viable option.

Q: Wait, doesn't that unfairly burden a beach like Magnolia or Laurelton?

A: While it certainly must look that way on first blush, it actually is less of a burden this year than last year! Because there were as many as 4 surfing beaches in the same area last year, Magnolia was reserved for surfing all or part of the day 12 out of the 15 weeks of summer. This year, Magnolia is only designated for the equivalent of 7.5 weeks, with the rest falling to Laurelton, which was similarly burdened 12 of 15 weeks last year as well.

Additionally, the historic layout of beach access at these particular beaches minimizes the burden on families: The entrance on Laurelton Blvd to the beach is actualluy right at the jetty that divides Magnolia and Laurelton. People visiting beach always make a choice and move to the right or left of the jetty anyway – this schedule simply means that you choose based on what you would like to do: surf (or watch the surfers!) or swim. The same is true at the beach entrance on Lindell – it is a matter of simply going right or left. Regardless, non-surfers are always guaranteed the "border" beaches of National, Lafayette, and Grand.

Q: Did the City consider making Laurelton a permanent surfing beach, and rotating the other surfing beach throughout the West Central Area?

A: Yes, however it was decided by City Officials at this time of uncertainty, in the wake of Sandy, that a possibility existed that Laurelton Beach may not be available to the community during times of construction. It was felt unwise at this time, however City Officials did express that they would be open to discussion and feedback from the community on a proposal for this in the future.

Q: So what happens if a designated surf beach is unavailable due to boardwalk construction?

A: The surf community is expected to do their part along with everyone in the City, and obey all rules for safe access. If a beach is designated as closed for safety reasons and the surf community is asked to move, we MUST be good citizens, understand, and do our part.

Have more questions? Please contact us! email: [email protected]

 

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2013 Summer Surf Beach Schedule released!

The Long Beach Surfer's Association is happy to announce that the City of Long Beach has released the 2013 Summer Surf Beach schedule. The schedule contains small but important changes from last year's schedule, and was developed with significant imput from community members, the surfing community, and  the City of Long Beach Life Guards. 

Amongst the changes include the elimination of "back to back" surf beaches, in order to better accommodate the non-surfing beachgoing community, as well as rotational changes on extended 3 day holiday weekends to avoid any one block bearing the burden of the entire weekend. A close look will also reveal that there are as many as 2 fewer surfing beaches on any given day than in the 2012 schedule, but this is offset by better spacing and distribution of the designated surfing areas across the entire length of the City for 2013.

Left unchanged were the permanent surfing beaches of Maple to Pacific (east of the swimming area), Lincoln, and the extremely popular West End weekly rotating beaches.

The LBSA would like to thank City Manager Jack Schnirman, Chief of Lifeguards Paul Gillespie, and the City of Long Beach for working so diligiently with the community to advance a plan for 2013 that builds on the successes of 2012.

To access the full schedule and a letter from Mr. Schnirman, click here: Summer Surf Beach Schedule 2013

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Make Your Voice Heard – Write to the City Council on the Storm Protection Issue!

It's been 12 weeks since Superstorm Sandy changed our lives and our City, and important decisions are being made on how best to rebuild and protect ourselves from future storms. 

The Board of Directors of the Long Beach Surfer's Association urges ALL Long Beach residents to make their voice heard, and write to the City Council Members and our City Manager. At each City Council meeting they (the Council Members themselves) have stressed the importance of input from the citizens. We totally agree, but we recognize that time is short and decisions are being made now. 

Please read the letter below. We urge you to print a copy and mail to each member of the City Council at 1 West Chester St. Long Beach NY 11561, or even easier, simply copy and paste the letter into an email and send it to the following email addresses:

Councilman Michael Fagen [email protected]

Councilwoman Fran Adelson [email protected]

Councilman Len Torres [email protected]

Councilman James McLaughlin [email protected]

Council President Scott Mandel [email protected]

City Manager Jack Schnirman [email protected]

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Dear City Manager Schnirman and Members of the Council,

I am writing to you today as a concerned resident of Long Beach. It is crucial that we tackle the rebuilding process with the long-term best interest of our city and the barrier island as a whole in mind.  I am aware of and agree with the recommendations made to the city by Coastal Planning and Engineering.  I want to make it clear that I believe the following should be included in the rebuilding process:

1. Incorporate a stationary storm protection barrier, or wall, into the new boardwalk. 

2. Extend this barrier through the East End to Lido and through the West End to East Atlantic Beach (further if our neighbors feel it appropriate).

3. Raise all bulkheads along the bay front to a minimum of nine feet.

4. Install flex tide valves into the drainage system of the bay and develop a plan to properly maintain this system.

I would also like to note that while I support a project being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers, I do not feel that a sand dune alone provides sufficient protection for the ocean side of the island.  It certainly does not constitute a safer, smarter, and stronger Long Beach.

The lack of information regarding plans for rebuilding and protecting both the ocean and bay sides of the island has me concerned.  I believe it is crucial for residents to have the opportunity to express concern, ask questions, and be privy to options the members of the council are considering.   

I look forward to hearing back from you with information addressing my concerns.  As a Long Beach resident I have put my trust in you to make decisions that are in my best interest.  You are now aware of how I feel.  I hope I will have the opportunity to further express my concerns and ask questions as we continue to move forward.

Of all the damage mitigation plans we knew of before the storm, none of them would have protected us. Now that the funds have been established we must work with our neighbors to make sure they are appropriated in our best interest.  Now is the time for Long Beach leaders take the lead and create a forum in which all communities on the Long Beach barrier island work together.  We will no doubt learn more and be more powerful by working with our neighbors as opposed to going it alone.

Sincerely,

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Please do not hesitate – write to the Council Members and the City Manager TODAY!

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How can we best protect Long Beach from future storms? Here’s what independent experts say!

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