SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There are signs of an impending showdown on the East End of Long Island, where the Shinnecock Indian Nation is putting up giant billboards at the entrance of Southampton.

Local leaders are calling them an eyesore, but the 60-foot high billboards are on tribal land, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday.

An assault on the East End. That’s how Southampton officials describe what the Shinnecocks are quickly building at the gateway to the Hamptons, and just in time for the summer crowds — a gigantic pair of two-sided electronic advertising billboards.

(Photo: CBS2)

“The town is appalled by what is going on. I mean, we are outraged,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “They will completely change the character of our community we have fought long to protect.”

Schneiderman said he was blindsided when trees were cleared on Shinnecock-owned land that spans Sunrise Highway to make way for the two six-story billboards, which he says are more suited for Times Square than farm country.

“I think it’s going to make a lot of people really angry. I beg them to halt construction,” Schneiderman said.

But the federally recognized sovereign Indian nation has ignored stop-work orders and police summons. Tribal leaders have told officials they are counting on significant revenue from the luxury ads, which will project 24 hours a day and tower over Hampton Bays homes, where residents were in the dark.

“Are they allowed to do that? Without any permission? Or without saying to the town? We didn’t have any idea. It’s very close to the house,” one resident said.

“Theres gotta be some kind of rules,” another person said.

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The structures violate town height, lighting and billboard restriction. There were no permits for tree removal, but tribal leaders claim they are exempt from local and state regulations.

As East End towns unite to fight, they’re offering to work with the 660-member tribe on other types of economic development.

“We are appealing to the conscience of the Shinnecock people to not do this,” Schneiderman said.

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Shinnecock trustees later replied to CBS2’s request for comment, saying in a statement “our community has suffered greatly over the last several decades due to a lack of resources. Now, we have the opportunity to generate revenue and have access to the same standard of living as our much wealthier neighbors.”

Town officials said tribal leaders told them at a recent meeting they are not asking for permission. They just wanted to let the town know they are proceeding.

The state Department of Transportation is also investigating to determine if the billboards violate federal highway regulations.

Comments (13)
  1. Cheryl Lyn says:

    I live in a blue collar neighborhood – not a gated community. I work two jobs to pay my mortgage. My entire house and foundation shook today several times, several minutes each time. I ran to my basement thinking my furnace was going to explode! Dishes rattled, furniture shook and it was very loud. What I imagine an earthquake would be like. I got in my car and rode around the neighborhood and several neighbors were outside wondering what the hell was going on. Checking with the police it was discovered that it was a result of the construction of these signs on Sunrise hwy. My neighborhood is between Sunrise Highway and Montauk Highway but I’ve got to be at least a half mile or more from the site. Apparently this also occurred on Thursday, May 2nd. I filed a police report in case I have foundation damage down the road. That’s how severe it was. I was told that many others have also. This is not the first time the tribe has started a project in this area without thinking through the repercussions. This is not in the “Hamptons” where the wealthy live. Hampton Bays is a working class town. But it’s not on property where the tribe lives, so they don’t consider the effect on others.

    1. I live in Hampton Bays. The main thing is that the signs don’t comply with various state and federal highway laws and will I guarantee eventually get taken down. It is simply a safety issue. The town should not be getting involved as it is not their jurisdiction. However it is a state highway and they will get involved. The signs are less than 500 feet from a rest area and on ramp to a controlled access highway. The signs are also well over 30 feet tall. They probably violate other laws as well. https://www.dot.ny.gov/programs/nys-signs/off-premise That area is also not technically considered sovereign land as we saw this with the casino a few years back.

  2. Peter Stephens says:

    Where is John Wayne when you need him?

  3. Tom Menino says:

    Libtards foisted on their own totem pole. True entertainment.

  4. “We’re not asking your permission. We’re telling you what we are doing!”

    Truly wonderful!! I abso-frikkin-lutely love it!!

  5. Christopher Perrien says:

    Tribe vs Tribe, this will be interesting.

  6. Hal Slusher says:

    Enjoy the view into your gated communities.

  7. Pete Griff says:

    Liberals in their Gated Communities wanting to keep the bad elements out and only in the Non Liberal Areas.

  8. Paul DesChenes says:

    hahahahahahaha. snort… ahahahahahahaha wheeeeze

  9. Victoria Gaines Conners says:

    C’mon now. Native Americans are really cool and are virtuous. What the heck is wrong with you racist South Hamptions? See how this works? Out here in fly-over country you guys could give a d$$m about our culture being obliterated, but now that it has come to you you have a problem? Shame on you mean people!!!!

  10. I hope they build an even bigger more gaudy sign just to tweet these NIMBY liberals.

  11. CL Wilkinson says:

    LMAO! Isn’t this a liberal town? “They will completely change the character of our community we have fought long to protect.” Well, well…we Americans have fought long to protect the character of OUR community, aka, USA, too. But the liberals have decimated our borders, our laws, our entire health industry, et al., and we are no longer the United States of America. So no, I don’t feel sorry for that snooty town at all. Ultimately, all the stupid stuff the liberals have gotten away with over the decades WILL come back to bite them in the behind, just as they are being bitten right now!

  12. Jim Kress says:

    This is the crux of the matter:

    “federally recognized sovereign Indian nation”

    It’s their property. It is not subject to local or State rules. In fact, the can be made a case that they are sovereign nations by treaty and can ignore the Feds, as well.

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