The East Hampton Town Board may soon hold a final public hearing on its proposal to ban alcohol at two Amagansett beaches.
After months of back-and-forth between the community, town officials and the East Hampton Town Trustees, the Town Board is ready to put its proposal to the test.
The ban would prohibit alcohol within a 3,000-foot stretch—1,500 feet going east and west of the road ends—at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue beaches during lifeguard hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ban would be in effect during certain weekends and holidays until the third week in June, when the town beaches open officially for the summer, and then every day after that until the beach is no longer protected by lifeguards.
The East Hampton Town Trustees had been requesting that the town limit the ban to 1,000 feet so as not to disturb the public’s enjoyment of the beach.
But the town is going on the suggestion of Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo, who has said at least 2,500 feet would be more sufficient.
Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said it is a safety issue and not an access issue.
“Alcohol is not the problem, but over-drinking alcohol, that is the problem. It’s an enjoyment of life issue for all user groups. They get louder and more spread out, and families feel displaced. Drinkers can go there at 5 p.m. and have glass of wine—I’ll join you—and the families have their time as well.”
Town Planning Director Marguerite Wolffsohn said a few changes had been made to the town board’s proposed formula business legislation, which would create higher standards for formula stores that want to move into East Hampton Town.
The law now defines a formula store as a retail store, restaurant or fast food establishment with 15 or more stores within the United States. Formula stores are not prohibited within or around historic districts, but must comply with preservation goals for each specific historic district and should blend into the character of the community even at the expense of conforming to the chain’s standard look.
Formula businesses would be allowed in residential business zones, central business zones and now resort areas, whereas in an earlier version of the amended law they would only be allowed in central business zones.
Each new formula store being built or moving into an existing building would be subject to site plan review by the town’s Planning Board.
Ms. Overby said she is working on legislation that would make it possible for affordable housing to be attached to or within a building in limited business overlay districts across the town.
A limited business overlay is a residential zone, mostly along Montauk Highway or North Main Street, that allows low-impact commercial uses.
“It’s not going to solve our affordable apartment issues and it isn’t meant to do that,” Ms. Overby said. “It’s meant to add another layer and opportunity for people that own those properties to have an affordable apartment above it.”
She said currently the idea is to allow one apartment per building, from 425 to 1,200 square feet, with a maximum of two bedrooms.
She said there are only limited business overlay districts in East Hampton or Amagansett.
Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he’d like to find out just how many LBO designations there are in the town.
Once a few more questions are answered, the board expects to put the proposed legislation up for public hearing.
The town’s Senior Services Committee is asking older residents to take a survey to get a better idea of what seniors need in terms of programming and what they think is offered.
The survey is online at www.easthamptonsurvey.com, but the town will help anyone fill out a survey who doesn’t have internet access, according to the committee’s co-chair Dennis Fabiszak.
According to the committee, they learned from the 300 surveys already received that 40 percent of the people who took the survey and 30 percent don’t drive at night.
Member Tom Cohill said the results will help the town understand what needs to be done.
“If we continue to see that trend, it will definitely impact how we feel we can address programming needs,” he said.
Seniors have until June 19 to fill out the survey.