Relatives of East Hampton Village homeowners will now have to show proof of residency in order to get a free beach parking sticker. The Village Board on Friday unanimously approved a resolution that allows village property owners’ relatives to get resident beach passes so long as they live at the property and are related by blood or marriage. An affidavit must be signed and notarized by the property owner attesting to the relationship and the arrangement.
The change to the code comes after certain “abuses” of the system, according to Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr.
“People have said they are nuclear members of a family,” he said. “The house in question that was rented, no one in the nuclear family was living there. We’re trying to close up on this.”
Board member Barbara Borsack said the code is a little ambiguous because village homeowners have different family members out each weekend, but the mayor assured her that homeowners will have to show proof that the relatives are living there for the summer and swear to it.
In addition to property owners and their relatives, tenants renting within the village, domestic employees living in the village with property owners and nonresident volunteer and members of the East Hampton Fire Department and Ambulance Association are currently eligible to get parking permits. There are only 3,000 permits available for residents each year.
Lynn Lyhocky, a Pennsylvania and part-time East Hampton Village resident, approached the board on Friday, proposing that the village post signs in municipal parking lots, warning that pets’ lives may be at stake if left inside a car during the hot summer months. Despite her plea, Mayor Rickenbach said the board wants to keep signs at a minimum, but suggested she work with the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce to post notices in retail stores.
Ms. Lyhocky, who is working with longtime animal rights advocate and Noyac resident Dorothy Frankel, stressed that leaving dogs in hot cars has become an epidemic, especially in the Hamptons. She presented an example of a sign, which looks much like a typical parking sign, and would cost approximately $21 to $30 each to produce—an expense she said she is willing to pay.
Mayor Rickenbach said he appreciated the effort but he could not agree to her request.
“I’m sympathetic but have some resistance about putting additional signage up,” he said. “Maybe we can get you in touch with the business alliance and chamber of commerce to have some type of notification in stores.”
In a phone interview on Monday, Ms. Lyhocky said she was disappointed with the mayor’s response.
“I think he probably means well—he was concerned about other signs, but I think this merits signage,” she said. “Signs empower people to make a call.”
She said that she won’t give up on East Hampton Village.
Last month she approached East Hampton Town Board and was relatively successful. She said Town Board members are considering posting four signs across the town. While she said she is grateful for however many signs are put up, she’s hoping they’ll reconsider and put up more.
Ms. Frankel successfully lobbied Southampton Town to put up signs in public parking areas, many of them in Sag Harbor.
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who lives in Sag Harbor, recently proposed a bill that would upgrade the penalties at the state level for confinement of an animal. State fines would replicate those Suffolk County already has in place—$250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.
Suffolk County law has, since 1986, prohibited the confinement of pets in an unattended car if the conditions endanger their welfare. New York State law also prohibits the confinement of companion animals, with slightly lower fines for the violation.
In July, a Bridgehampton family on a sweltering day left their 6-year-old mixed Lab in their car parked on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and discovered the dog had died when they returned.
“This is really an epidemic,” Ms. Lyhocky said. “Looking for cracked windows in a parking lot, you’d be shocked how many dogs you see in cars.”