Quogue To Air Plastic Bag Ban, Steeper False Alarm Fines Next Month

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Quogue residents will be able to weigh in on two local laws at next month’s Village Board meeting on Friday, December 19.

The first, which is based on current discussions in Southampton Town, is a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags at retail and grocery stores in the village.

“I want to let it play out on the Town of Southampton level,” Village Mayor Peter Sartorius said at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, “but I wanted to get it going so we have time to let merchants know, so they can come to the public hearing.”

The law, which will be discussed in more detail next month, would ban traditional plastic bags and allow paper bags or the sale of reusable bags. The legislation states, “As a result of the damage that these bags have caused and the threat of future damage they pose to the area’s environmental conditions, the village finds it necessary to join its neighboring municipalities in restricting retail establishments from providing certain plastic bags … and encouraging the use of reusable bags.”

If the legislation passes, the ban would go into effect on April 22, 2015. If a shop is found to be distributing plastic bags after the law is enacted, the owner could be fined up to $1,000 or spend up to 15 days in jail.

The second proposal discussed by the board on Friday would increase the penalties incurred by business or property owners based on false alarms from automatic fire or security systems. For emergency alarms other than fire alarms, such as security or gas alarms, the new legislation proposes no charge for a first offense, $50 for a second, $75 for a third, $100 for a fourth, $150 for a fifth, and $200 apiece for a sixth and all subsequent false alarms. Currently, the village does not charge for a first false emergency alarm, and charges $50 per false alarm after that.

Under the new legislation, false fire alarms would be billed on a yearly basis. The charge would be $50 for the first false alarm, $250 for the second, $500 for the third, and $1,000 for the fourth and each additional alarm.

Currently, the village currently does not charge for a single false alarm over a three-year period. If a fire alarm sounds a second, third or fourth time in three years, the person or business is fined $250, $500 and $1,000, respectively.

Village officials and Quogue Village Fire Chief Bruce Davidson believe larger and more frequent fines are necessary for false fire alarms because they require more people to respond. “It’s very rare that you go to a house once,” Ted Necarsulmer, a village trustee and member of the fire department, said. “They’re all repeat offenses. I think this is a necessary fix.”

Both public hearings are scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday, December 19, at Village Court on Jessup Avenue.

New Scholarship Offered

The East End Financial Group, the financial company that recently took over the Length of Service Award Program for the village’s fire department, is working with the department to nominate one senior from the village for the EEFG Fire District/Department Scholarship award program. High school seniors have the opportunity to win $1,000, $500 or $250.

Each fire department or district affiliated with EEFG will nominate one senior for the awards. Applications are due to the fire department by March 1, 2015.

Pancake Breakfast

The fire department also will host its annual pancake breakfast on Sunday, November 30, at the firehouse on Jessup Avenue, from 8 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and will be sold at the door. This year, there will be a Chinese auction and a silent auction for a handful of high-end items.

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