Owners of Hero Beach have marked these parking spaces on South Eton Street as private property, threatening to tow any cars parked there without authorization. The land actually belongs to the Town of East Hampton.It takes a special breed to open a business on the East End. Property is prohibitively expensive, and rents may even be more so. Competition is fierce, with entrepreneurs jostling for the opportunity to cash in on the lucrative “Hamptons market,” despite a notoriously short season.That said, it takes more than a little chutzpah to try to pull off what the owners of Hero Beach Resort, at the site of the former Oceanside Resort in Montauk, are doing.The business has been before the East Hampton Town Planning Board over the past year, trying to legalize a restaurant and bar it opened without site-plan approval. We’ve all seen that trick before: Open for business and then throw yourself at the mercy of whatever regulatory board is reviewing your application.But what we haven’t seen is the blatant effort of Hero Beach Resort to annex public property to help it meet its own parking requirements. At a recent meeting before the planning board, Hero Beach’s representatives proposed using more than 25 spaces that are entirely, or partially, on public property to count as their own.That in itself is not unusual. After all, businesses seek parking waivers all the time. What is unusual, though, is that the business has erected signs next to some of the spaces that say “Private Parking, Violators Towed At Vehicle Owner’s Expense.”Members of the planning board were none too pleased by Hero Beach’s claiming public property for its own parking needs, but despite their objections, more than a week later the signs remain in place.Is it too much to assume that planners would have alerted code enforcement officers to this situation? Don’t you think the town’s attorney’s office or the town police might find it within their jurisdiction to drop a line, or make a phone call, telling Hero Beach to take down the signs that will obviously scare away members of the public who are entitled to park there?At the height of the summer season, parking in downtown Montauk can be hard to come by, and it has to be disheartening for other businesses that play by the rules to see them flouted so easily. Share
The number of claims in employment tribunals is bouncing back following the slump after the introduction of fees, figures obtained by a law firm reveal today.Top-100 firm Hugh James said that the number of single claims in tribunal cases has jumped by 16% in six months, rising from 3,790 in the first quarter 2013/14 to 4,390 in the third quarter. The volume of claims dropped by 80% following the introduction of fees in 2013. An appeal against the High Court’s decision to throw out trade union Unison’s challenge to the fees is due to be heard this month. Hugh James said the number of claims is now rebounding as disgruntled former employees adjust to the new fees and weigh the financial risks to them of pursuing a claim against the potential pay-out.Emma Burns, partner, said: ‘The cost for launching a claim is between £160 to £250; when they were first introduced it was a shock, but now people are more acclimatised to these fees.’Changes to the procedure for lodging a tribunal case may also be influencing the sudden acceleration in the number of cases, the firm said. From May 2014, it became mandatory for former employees to use the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)’s early conciliation mediation service before lodging a tribunal case. While the Acas route may have helped clear up relatively straightforward cases, Burns said, it merely delayed more difficult ones. ‘A lot of cases are simply being held up rather than resolved, and we are now seeing them hit the tribunal system.’Unison has been granted permission by the Court of Appeal to proceed with appeals against the decisions of the High Court refusing its two judicial review applications challenging the lawfulness of employment tribunal fees.Its appeals will be heard this month.