Last week, the East Hampton Town Board took a stab at deflating Indian Wells Beach’s wild popularity among drunk, boisterous partiers by approving a law that restricts access to the Amagansett beach’s parking lot.
As part of a pilot program, the new law would restrict commercial vehicles over certain weights, lengths and/or passenger capabilities from parking near the beach. According to the law, vehicles weighing more than 4 tons, longer than 30 feet or carrying more than eight passengers are excluded from parking on Indian Wells Highway, 175 feet south of Bluff Road to its terminus. Also, parking will be prohibited on both sides of Southview and Further Court, two roads near Indian Wells Highway, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Restrictions would be in effect from May 15 to October 1 on prime days—i.e., weekends, holidays and other days as determined by the East Hampton Town Police Department. The restrictions “will improve the flow of vehicle traffic, while at the same time providing safety to pedestrians,” according to the public hearing notice of the law.
The law was approved unanimously by the board and generally lauded by those who spoke about it at a meeting last Thursday.
“We’re really happy you guys have turned an ear to this and we hope it works out smoothly,” Amagansett resident Dana Kalbacher said. She’s among a group of mothers who want to see a cleaner and safer, family-oriented beach for their children.
Liz Pucci, another resident, said the amount of garbage left on the beach was staggering and asked if there could be more garbage pickups by the town. As for the crowding, she said, “Again, safety is our main concern.”
Some residents feel that the parking restrictions don’t address the real problem—alcohol consumption on beaches, and the rowdy behavior that comes along with it, which town officials have reported includes urinating in the dunes.
“We’re addressing the symptoms,” said Patrice Hogan of Springs. She went on to describe the situation at Indian Wells as a “flash mob scene.”
“It’s not in a parking lot in Brooklyn,” she continued. “It’s on our beach in Indian Wells.”
Luke Winestock of Springs said Indian Wells “feels like Daytona Beach.” He applauded the Town Board’s efforts to rein in the situation.
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said while she supported the law, she considers it “one small step.” She said the real issue is there are not enough beaches in town.
Ms. Hogan asked when the pilot program would be evaluated, and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said it will be monitored continuously and adjusted immediately.
“I mean this is sort of a warning shot across the bow,” added Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, an Amagansett resident and main sponsor of the initiative. “I think everyone needs to be on their best behavior down at the beach and conduct themselves appropriately in respect of our natural resources and that’s the goal here.”
Springs OvercrowdingOvercrowding in Springs surfaced before the Town Board again, as board members found themselves on the defensive over their record on dealing with the issue.
Alex Piccirillo spoke to Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley directly about “the problem in Springs” and asked the two if they would work to resolve the issue.
Mr. Wilkinson defended his and Ms. Quigley’s record, noting that in their first term, Ms. Quigley spearheaded a comprehensive study of the hamlet. Mr. Wilkinson noted that Springs gets more than its fair share of attention from the Community Preservation Fund. In 2012, Springs accounted for 42.5 percent of revenues spent on land acquisitions townwide.
Carol Buda, a Springs resident, said she was disappointed when she learned last week’s work session agenda didn’t include the topics of instituting a rental registry in Springs, and a discussion on light commercial trucks in residential areas. She noted that the board acted quickly in addressing overcrowding through parking restrictions around Indian Wells Beach. “So, we’re not seeing this sense of urgency,” she said. “We’d like to see the same energy and enthusiasm given to our issue.”
Carole Campolo, the secretary of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, commended Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley, calling Springs “a lost hamlet until you guys came along.”
Board Not Warm To Jacket IdeaA resolution spearheaded by Mr. Wilkinson to move $7,000 out of a contingency fund to buy jackets with a Town of East Hampton logo for employees failed to gain approval by a four-member Town Board last week.
The resolution failed to pass, as Ms. Overby voted against it, Councilman Dominick Stanzione abstained and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc was absent. Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley voted for it.
Mr. Wilkinson said he wanted to buy jackets for employees as part of an employee recognition program, but got some push back from some department heads who exclaimed that they were “not wearing uniforms.”
“I thought it would be a nice thing if we could,” Mr. Wilkinson said. “The circumstances were right to be able to give employees a jacket. It’s a form of recognition that I was exposed to in the corporate world.”
Ms. Overby said the idea sparked issues among employees. She also said she’d rather see the money go toward more “quality of life” issues like Ordinance Enforcement.