The East Hampton Town Board officially agreed to take over the management of the Pussy’s Pond nature preserve in Springs on Friday and will refurbish the small bridge that leads across the creek.
As part of a management plan that the Town Board adopted last week, the town will rebuild the bridge and will make it wheelchair accessible. The current bridge is too narrow for wheelchairs and has been in disrepair since it was vandalized last year.
Town Councilman Brad Loewen said this week that the plan also provides for the views across the pond to be restored, which could require the removal of several large trees around the pond’s edge.
“The view-shed is particularly interesting from the Springs School toward the library and blacksmith shop,” Mr. Loewen said. “That was traditionally all farm fields and cow pasture in that area but the cedar trees have gotten very big and block the view. We’ll find a new home for those trees so you can see those historic buildings.”
The town owns the former ?Parson’s Blacksmith’s shop and the Anderson house, which contains the Springs Library and Historical ?Society, across from Ashawagh Hall ?near the intersection of Old Stone ?Highway and Springs-Fireplace Road.
The bridge across Pussy’s Pond was built in the 1990s to allow those walking on the nature trail through the preserve to cross from Springs-Fireplace Road to School Street. The bridge was built and maintained by the members of Waterfowl USA, a non-profit group of outdoorsmen. But after vandals repeatedly knocked over hand rails and ripped up planks, the town has been considering taking over the care of the bridge.
The town must get permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation to rebuild the bridge over the pond’s wetlands. State managers have been reluctant to allow metal posts to be sunk into the wetlands to reinforce the bridge’s handrails.
The town had considered eliminating the bridge in favor of a small viewing platform, similar to what was in place before the bridge was built. But Mr. Loewen said the bridge is now an important part of the circuitous 4.5-mile hiking trail linking Springs with Amagansett’s downtown; the trail was dedicated last fall. It leads through numerous town-owned lands and dedicated easements from the Three Mile Harbor waterfront to the parking lot north of Amagansett’s business district.
Mr. Loewen said he expects repairs to the bridge will take place early this spring but did not know how much they would cost. The work to restore the view will probably not be done in the immediate future, he said.
The management plan adopted on Friday also allows for the town’s Natural Resources Department to clear invasive reeds, called phragmites, from alongside portions of the trail so that the pond is visible to hikers walking through the preserve. Hunting, the building of fires and the cutting of wood will not be allowed in the nature preserve but feeding ducks will be allowed.
In other business on Friday, the Town Board unanimously approved an amendment to the town’s zoning codes limiting the rental of guest rooms in a residence.
The amendment sets the maximum number of tenants to whom a homeowner may rent rooms to two, regardless of age or relation.
Before the amendment was adopted, the town code allowed a homeowner to rent out each of up to two spare bedrooms to two couples and their children—so that as many as three families could legally live in a house, as long as one of them owned it.
The new code says that no more than two people can live in rented guest rooms, either as individuals in two separate rooms or as a couple in one room. If one room is rented to two people, a second room may not be rented out.