Around East Hampton Town Hall: Peconic Estuary, Babes Lane, Light Trucks; Deer, Emergency Committees

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Following weeks of heated debate, the East Hampton Town Board, in a split vote last week, signed on to an agreement with the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee, joining at least two other towns in an effort aimed at cleaning the waterway.

Republican Councilman Dominick Stanzione joined Democrats Peter Van Scoyoc, the resolution’s sponsor, and Sylvia Overby on Thursday, August 1, in voting for the measure. Republican Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, the East Hampton Town Board’s natural resources liaison, voted no. Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson was absent.

It calls for annual contributions of an estimated $5,000 to $7,000 to be paid by participating municipalities to improve the water quality of the estuary, restore and enhance surrounding tidal wetlands, control and reduce pollution and coordinate local coastal regulations to protect it.

Southold and Brookhaven towns have signed on, but action is pending on the part of Suffolk County, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton, Dering Harbor, Greenport, North Haven, Sag Harbor and the State Department of Transportation.

“I oppose the process,” said Ms. Quigley in voting no. “Whatever discussion there was only last Tuesday. Open government demands that discussions that impact the municipality should be done in public.”

She noted that of the dozen municipalities slated to participate in the agreement, only two had so far signed on, and one of those cited the purpose as MS4, or municipal separate storm sewer system requirements, when, in fact, Peconic Estuary representatives had told the East Hampton Town Board at its work session the prior Tuesday, July 30, that this agreement is more comprehensive than that.

Ms. Overby countered that the process started in April 2011 and has been heard over and over. “I am embarrassed that we did not lead the pack, that we became number three to sign on to this. We should have been number one,” she said.

East Hampton, she said, should have helped the estuary program get others to sign on, rather than sit back.

Babes Lane To Be Restored

Springs residents who live along the Babes Lane Nature Preserve are set to see their once-scenic views of Three Mile Harbor restored to the way they were before brush and non-native plants invaded, now that the Town Board unanimously approved a management plan for the reserve.

Ms. Quigley, the board’s Springs liaison, sponsored the resolution. She and Ms. Overby, Mr. Stanzione and Mr. Van Scoyoc voted in favor of the plan on Thursday.

Pending a State Department of Environmental Conservation permit, Community Preservation Fund money will be allotted to remove heavy vegetation such as oak trees, phragmites, sassafras, sumac and vines.

The plan followed three years of planning between the town and the Duck Creek Farm Association.

‘Light Truck’ Law Public Hearing Set

The public will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed local law regarding commercial vehicles parked in residential areas during a public hearing to be held on Thursday, August 15, at 7 p.m. at East Hampton Town Hall.

The draft law, spearheaded by Mr. Stanzione, defines a “light truck” as “any commercially registered motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) as specified by the manufacturer of 10,000 pounds or more, and being not more than 25 feet in total overall length.”

It would ban the parking of commercially registered vehicles on residential lots, although cars, livery vehicles and light trucks would be allowed as long as they were used by the occupant of the residence on the lot on which they’re parked.

The legislation was drafted in response to complaints about commercial vehicles parking on residential properties, particularly in Springs.

Pat Gunn, the town’s public safety administrator, previously told the Town Board that the code’s lack of a definition for light trucks made enforcement difficult.

Deer Committee Forms

A new, permanent Deer Management Advisory Committee, to be made up of representatives from a dozen groups, is taking shape to allow East Hampton Town to coordinate deer management efforts between landowners, government agencies, citizens groups and the public.

The committee, called for under the deer management plan adopted by the Town Board in June, was established on Thursday by a resolution sponsored by Mr. Stanzione.

The committee will be tasked with advising and assisting the Town Board on the “prompt and cost-effective implementation” of the deer management plan, which calls for reducing the town’s white-tailed deer population, largely by professional hunting.

Committee members will come from 12 different local organizations and government departments involved in land and wildlife management, including the town’s Land Acquisition and Management, Natural Resources and Planning departments, the town’s Nature Preserve Committee, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Suffolk County and New York State parks departments, the East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Peconic Land Trust, the Nature Conservancy, East Hampton Village and the Long Island Farm Bureau.

Emergency Preparedness Task Force Forms

A new Emergency Preparedness Task Force—designed to provide information and support to town residents in the event of weather-related emergencies—has won the Town Board’s blessing.

Ms. Overby sponsored the resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the board members on hand last Thursday.

The task force was prompted by severe storms such as last year’s Superstorm Sandy.

The group is to have 7 to 11 members. The first appointees are as follows: Sue Avedon, Catherine Casey, Christine Granitsch, Ilissa Mayer, Irving Hirschberg, Kay Hutton, Ana Nunez, Loring Bolger, Rona Klopman, Sheila Rogers and Bruce Bates, who is listed as “ex officio.”

Ms. Casey stressed to the board that the group understands it is not the source of information, but rather the vehicle.

Ms. Overby called the group’s formation a real grassroots effort.

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