History of Southampton Cove
By Joan Brennan & Barbara Aiello
Southampton Cove was developed in 1952 by Oliver & Clarke, the same developers as Southampton Shores. The Cove was developed in three stages. Section I (comprising Cove Road, Cove Road North and South) was developed first. Section II (comprising Waters Edge, Knoll Road and all side roads) was developed late in 1953. Section III (Woods Lane) was acquired and developed in 1959.
The Cove Association was incorporated in 1952. It has grown in in membership, strength, involvement and enthusiasm. When the cove was developed, only a handful of owners were year-round residents. Most of the original owners came from the five boroughs of New York City. Most of the homes were built as unheated summer cottages.
When Section II was developed, there was no Marina. In fact, the marina area was a swampy area with no depth and no channel to get to Fish Cove. Oliver and Clarke dredged the area that is now The Marina and channel. There was no bulk heading. Owners merely stuck a pole in the ground to secure their boats.
When Oliver and Clarke acquired the property for Section III, they wanted the Association to take Woods Lane into the Association. After some negotiation, Oliver & Clarke offered to dredge and install the bulk heading at the Marina (with some financial support from the Cove Association) and the Cove Association agreed that Woods Lane homes would become part of the Cove Association. The original floats for the Marina were built completely by Cove homeowners. They have been repaired and rebuilt over the years. The present floats were voted on, approved and installed in 2005. The original bulk heading was upgraded in 1987, and repair of one retaining wall in 2001.
The Cove Association’s property on Waters Edge Road was vacant – with no use. In 1988 the idea of building a Cove Pavilion started to take form and it became a reality in 1993. After complying with DEC and Town regulations the pavilion was built and has been a great opportunity for Cove residents to enjoy the view, hold Cove meetings, have pot luck suppers and even weddings. Before the pavilion was built, the Cove Association met at the North Sea Community House, Little Peconic Restaurant (now the Coast Grill) and at the Marina.
Every home depended on individual wells for water. Hurricanes, storms and electrical outages made the wells inoperable. Not fun! When some wells along Fish Cove Road were contaminated by the landfill, and the Town installed water mains for those affected, the Cove entered into negotiations with Suffolk County Water Authority to extend the mains to the entire Cove. It was not an easy task because a good percentage of homeowners had to participate or the SCWA would not proceed. Then it was a matter of getting access to the water mains on Fish Cove Road. Bud Gaffney at 93 Waters Edge Road offered the cove (without compensation) an easement over his property. That made it possible for the Cove to finalize a water contract with the SCWA and give our residents access to fresh, clean water.
In 1992, as the Town planned to expand the landfill, and as contamination and odors (in some sections of the Cove) became outrageous, the Cove took and active role in getting the Town to change their plans for expansion and to take a different approach to the municipal waste policy, which it did! That left the Town with excess acres at the site. Many Cove owners and residents lobbied the Town to dedicate that acreage to parkland. They did, and North Sea Park has been a great success and asset to the Cove and the North Sea area as a whole.
More recently, The Cove Association successfully petitioned the Town Highway Department to repave our roads, have drains installed to alleviate flooding on Cove Road South and succeeded in having the “Yield” sign at the Towd Point exit at Noyac Road changed to a “Stop” sign and a 25mph sign SW of our exit to make our Cove Road exit onto Noyac Road less dangerous.
Our members have enjoyed our Covered Dish Parties after our August Meetings, a Family Beach Party at Towd Point Beach, Children’s Halloween Trick or Treat Walk and neighborhood Yard Sales.
The Southampton Cove Owners association has been very fortunate through the years to have dedicated Presidents. Most of the improvements through the years can be attributed to their tireless efforts.