Around East Hampton Town Hall: Banning Water Skiing on Three Mile Harbor Rejected By Town Board

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A pitch to ban water-skiing on Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton Town was dismissed by a majority of Town Board members on Tuesday.

Harbormaster Dave Petruska told the board at its work session in Montauk that it should consider banning water skiing in Three Mile Harbor because the water is very shallow in the northwest area of the harbor. The depth is around 3 feet, he said, when it was approximately 4.5 feet about five years ago. The recommendation came from Ed Michels, the head of the East Hampton Town Marine Patrol.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley and Councilman Dominick Stanzione said they weren’t interested in banning the water sport.

“I’m concerned; in my mind we’re turning our town into a museum in more ways than one,” Ms. Quigley said.

Mr. Van Scoyoc said he has used water skis in that area for 25 years and is “really reluctant” to ban the activity.

FAA Wants Town To Trim TreesEast Hampton Town is being asked by the Federal Aviation Administration to clear trees that obstruct the navigable air space into the East Hampton Airport.

The price of the process made Town Board members balk at a recent work session: the FAA is requiring an engineering survey of the situation that would cost about $70,000, for what would amount to about $20,000 of actual tree removal, according to Town Board members on Tuesday.

The Town Board heard a presentation by DY Consultants on how to address the problem in the short term. Dennis Yap, of Dy Consultants, stated in the presentation that a mitigation plan prepared with the FAA’s input would split the project into two phases. The short-term/immediate phase would be to modify the flight path descent angle for aircraft around the trees. The long-term goal would be the survey and tree removal.

There was a general sense of frustration among Town Board members, who questioned why they had to go through the costly route of conducting a survey before removing the trees.

“That seemed ridiculous and we wanted to get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Stanzione said.

Although the East Hampton Airport has a surplus of more than $1 million, according to airport manager Jim Brundige at last week’s work session, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said she wasn’t happy about the cost.

“I guess every week we find new ways to spend money for the airport,” she said. “And I think it’s a little disheartening. This is not what I want to hear. I want the airport to be able to run effectively and that’s why you set up a budget.”

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