May Evjen, left, and Sara Bucking, this year’s recipients of Noyac Civic Council scholarships. Photo by Mara Certic.
By Mara Certic
Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Michael Zarro was met with traffic questions, requests and complaints from concerned citizens at a Noyac Civic Council meeting on Tuesday, June 10.
Lt. Zarro, who will celebrate his 26th year as a member of the force next month, attended the meeting, he said, to find out “what you as a community think is the problem.”
Trucks and speeding, it turns out, are the two main concerns among the residents who attended, and there is no simple solution in sight.
Several Noyackers complained about loud construction and concrete trucks barreling down the hamlet’s quiet, predominantly residential streets starting at 6 a.m. every weekday. Residents insisted that the trucks drive so much faster than the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit, that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for them to drive around their neighborhood. “You can’t get out of your driveway!” one woman said.
Lt. Zarro said that knowing what specific time to target will help with traffic calming in the area.
One resident suggested that the Southampton Town Police Department station three officers at various spots along Noyac Road at 6 a.m. every day for a month. Lt. Zarro did not think that that would be a possibility but did inform the room that Lieutenant James Kiernan, also of the town police department, will provide more traffic enforcement for the road.
Due to the closure of several bars in Hampton Bays that required police patrols, police officers who previously worked on the busy weekend night during the summer season will now have more time to enforce Noyac speed limits, said Lt. Zarro.
One resident asked if adding traffic lights would help to alleviate the situation, but Lt. Zarro said that he didn’t believe so, “I don’t think they’ll slow traffic down, either,” he said. The stopping and starting of trucks creates also more noise than their passing by, it was explained.
Ralph DiSpigna expressed concern over conflicting figures he was given about the number of traffic accidents on Noyac Road. When he asked the Southampton Town Police, he was told that there had been five accidents in five years. He was told by the Southampton Town Highway Department, however, that there had been 21 in the same time frame. Lt. Zarro said he would investigate this further and get back to him.
The lieutenant emphasized the importance of reporting accidents and instances of speeding to the police department at the time that they occur. He added that a report must be filed for the specific case to go on record.
The police officer also discussed the dangers of telephone scams warning the crowd how professional the scammers can be. A press release authorized by Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa on June 9 was handed out and described three scams to be particularly worried about: the relative in jail scam, where the caller claims to need money to bail the victim’s relative out of jail; the IRS tax warrant scam, in which the caller claims to be an agent from IRS about a past due balance; and the jury duty scam, where the caller pretends to be a police or warrant officer demanding payment of a fine.
Lt. Zarro warned everyone to stay vigilant and never to give out personal information over the phone or the Internet.
During the meeting, Bob Malafronte gave a progress report on East Hampton Airport’s Noise Abatement Committee. Mr. Malafronte is one of only two committee members from Southampton. “They are making incredible progress,” he said, despite the fact that both flights and noise complaints are up this year.
Mr. Malafronte added, “We’re going for a complete helicopter ban. Other things will come up later, but for now it’s just helicopters.” He suggested that residents call the airport every time that they are disrupted by helicopter or plane noise. “I know that your efforts have gotten us some recognition,” he told the room.
President Elena Loreto presented the 2014 scholarship winners, Sara Bucking and May Evjen, both of Pierson High School. Sara has volunteered at East End Hospice’s Camp Good Grief, the Southampton Historical Society and the Easter Bonnet Parade. She plans to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, in the fall. May is a volunteers at the Southampton Presbyterian Church and the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. She will attend American University in the fall where she will major in communications and media studies.
“She hopes to make films,” said Ms. Loreto. “I hope she makes one about the Noyac Civic Council. I’m sure it’ll be a horror film.”