East Hampton Town’s Light Truck Law Unfit For Hearing

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A planned public hearing on a law defining “light truck” for purposes of limiting commercial vehicle parking on residential lots in East Hampton Town—initially set for Thursday, August 15—has been indefinitely postponed.

Town Attorney John Jilnicki told the Town Board at its work session Tuesday that the public notice has to be reprinted because it mistakenly defined “light truck” as an commercial vehicle weighing “10,000 pounds or more,” when it should have said “10,000 pounds or less.” The light truck was correctly defined as not being more than 25 feet long.

The law was intended to define a light truck, so that code enforcement officers could better enforce parking prohibitions against large commercial vehicles in driveways, which have been blamed for having a negative impact on residential areas.

But that error was not the only hiccup.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said on Tuesday that a Springs woman had pointed out to him that the town does not have a law prohibiting the drivers of such commercial vehicles from parking in the street.

“She said, ‘Mr. Supervisor,’ she said, ‘Obviously you have a law that prevents them from parking in the street when you move them out of their driveways, right?’”

“And I said, ‘What?’” he said.

“So then I inquired. Obviously because we designed this, we have a law that when we say you can’t have ’em in your driveway anymore, they can’t park them in front of their house on the street—and there is no such [law],” he said. “So I think we have a major, a major edit on this loophole.”

Councilwoman Theresa Quigley called it a “mess of a law,” saying the town has not sufficiently sorted out the details.

After much debate, board members agreed to resume the discussion at a future work session.

Bike Paths Urged

An informal bicycle safety committee—whose guidelines for bike lanes were adopted by the East Hampton Village Board on July 31—appeared before the board on Tuesday in an effort to get the town to sign on as well.

The aim is to have the town adopt general policies that would make the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, largely by keeping cars and bikes as separate from one another as possible. In order to accomplish this, the committee urged the town to hire an expert firm in design and engineering.

The push for better bike lanes accelerated after a 14-year-old Springs girl on a bike was struck and killed by an SUV on Pantigo Road in East Hampton Village in June.

Town Board members signaled receptiveness to the guidelines, which the committee said also has support from the Springs Advisory Committee.

“This is absolutely a move that would be focusing on infrastructure and figuring out how to solve it from a big picture, which is the perspective we need to take, but we never do,” said Ms. Quigley.

Beach Fences

Town Trustee Diane McNally presented the board with a proposed amendment to the town code that would permit the use of alternative materials for use in beach fences, on a case-by-case basis.

The town had formed a committee last month tasked with tackling the danger posed by metal posts when they become dislodged and present hazards to swimmers and beachgoers. The code currently calls for wood beach fences only.

Councilwoman Quigley on Tuesday demonstrated how a brightly colored tag can be tied around metal posts, so that when they do break off, their owners can be identified.

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