A tricky parking issue on Birch Drive in Montauk has attracted the attention of the East Hampton Town Board.
Due to the shortage of parking at Gurney’s Inn, some of its employees have been parking along Birch Drive, which is a residential street off Old Montauk Highway.
According to East Hampton Town Police Lieutenant Chris Hatch, who spoke at Tuesday’s Town Board work session, during peak times there are anywhere from 10 to 20 cars parked on the shoulder on Birch Drive, and about five to 10 can be found there on a regular basis.
A number of Birch Drive homeowners spoke up at an August work session, saying the situation is difficult to manage when pulling out of their driveways and has brought an increase of litter with it.
The Police Department and Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell both have spoken to Gurney’s Inn management to solve the situation, but it is a bit more complicated, according to Lt. Hatch.
Since there is a shortage of parking, Gurney’s has asked its employees to park in downtown Montauk in public parking areas and take the Gurney’s shuttle in, or opt to be shuttled in from their homes if they live in Montauk. For whatever reason, be it getting out of work late or a lack of all-day parking in town, some employees are opting to park closer, on Birch Drive, which is currently legal.
Lt. Hatch said if the Town Board decides to limit parking on Birch Drive, which has no parking restrictions, the town would have to limit parking in the entire area.
“I don’t believe it is any more fair for those cars to be pushed anywhere else than where they are,” he said. “To alleviate the situation, the only true way, is if Gurney’s accommodated the vehicles they bring into the area. There needs to be more discussion with residents to determine what they’re willing to deal with.”
No one at Gurney’s Inn was available for comment on Tuesday afternoon, and Paul Monte, the inn’s general manager, said recently that he couldn’t comment.
Also at Tuesday’s work session, Mr. Cantwell said Suffolk County might decide not to be the local sponsor for the U.S. Army Corps Downtown Montauk Stabilization Plan after all.
“The county is reluctant to become the sponsor for this project,” the supervisor said. “We are having some discussion with them with respect to that, and we will try to work through that. Working this out with the county is not going to be easy. I don’t want to say more about it than that.”
The news comes just a couple of weeks after the Army Corps released its updated $8.9 million plan to build up the beach with geotextile bags and 71,000 cubic yards of sand. The project would be funded totally by the federal government, but there needs to be a local sponsor to maintain and inspect the geotextile system—a possible role for Suffolk County.
The Army Corps had estimated the maintenance cost at about $60,000 a year, a cost the sponsor would bear.
The cable network Showtime returned on Tuesday to air its proposal to film “The Affair” around Amagansett and Montauk again starting September 15.
Andrew Poppoon, the show’s assistant location manager, said they’d return to the usual places: a private home in Beach Hampton, the Montauk train station, the Lobster Roll, Deep Hollow Ranch, Inlet Seafood Commercial Docks, Turtle Cove Beach, Lazy Point Road, and now the Surf Lodge.
The filming would continue through September 19 and bring in a crew of 80 people and 18 trucks and vehicles.
The Town Board took issue with filming at Turtle Cove, which is on the ocean in Montauk, but Mr. Poppoon said fishermen and beachgoers would not be prevented from going to the beach or fishing, and if they didn’t mind being filmed in the background, they would be given waivers to make that possible.
Residents of Beach Hampton raised questions about whether they’d be disturbed again as they had been previously, especially when Showtime filmed the pilot last year at the private home there. Mr. Poppoon said only one light would be used to illuminate an outdoor scene at the house and that the homes across and around the home have been rented out for the filming, so no one will be directly impacted.
Mr. Cantwell said the permit is likely to be given.
“I don’t think there’s any strong objection,” he said. “In the longer term, we wish you the best of success and would welcome you back into the community if you have success. But the house in Beach Hampton—finding another location would be helpful to us … and don’t get in the way of the striped bass fishermen.”
Mr. Cantwell said Lombardo Associates would make its Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan for East Hampton Town available online at ehwaterrestore.com starting Wednesday.
Lombardo Associates was hired by the town to study wastewater management, water quality and the town’s aging and costly scavenger waste plant and devise recommendations for how to address sewage.
Mr. Cantwell said a series of public information sessions would be held to discuss the findings and recommendations.