Sky High Taxes
You may not have helicopters, jets, and seaplanes disturbing the peace and quiet over your Southampton Town home, but you are affected; and it will eventually be in your pocketbook.
There is a real “perfect storm” of events happening for Southampton Town to potentially lose several million dollars a year in tax revenue — every year.
Operations at the neighboring East Hampton Airport have continued to grow every year — and the noise from helicopters, jets and seaplanes grows with it. East Hampton Town is currently seeking FAA money which will commit them to a 20 year marriage to the FAA, and with that, continued total loss of their ability to control airport noise, pollution and curfews. A million dollar control tower is currently under construction, which will help with safety, but as with other small airports around the country, it being there will probably increase aircraft traffic.
Suppose 2,500 taxpayers in Southampton seek a lower tax assessment because the year-round and constant aircraft noise overhead has made their homes less desirable and less valuable? Suppose each homeowner is granted just a $1,000 reduction in their tax liability. That’s a $2,500,000 liability.
That’s some good for the people affected; but who is going to make up that money? The answer: the rest of Southampton Town taxpayers will have their taxes increased to compensate.
The airport is in East Hampton, but much of the noise from it is over Southampton. Ask the Southampton Town Board to do something before your taxes go up.
Education, Not Commerce
I am writing to spread a good word about the upcoming election in Sag Harbor. For the first time in my 11 years of living in Sag Harbor Village, I have had the need to reach out to our local government and learn the process of changing a code. I could not have done this without the help of Robby Stein, a current Village Trustee. He has made himself available to me each and every time I have reached out — often getting back to me within an hour or so if I leave a message or send an email.
Robby has impressed me with his vision of the Village, his integrity and his ability to mesh with the current village government even when they do not see eye to eye on issues at hand.
I feel very strongly that this village continues to grow and support the many changes that will inevitably happen. I trust it will be in good hands with a trustee such as Robby and I encourage you to reach out to him with your own questions or concerns about the state of the village. He is actively involved with the community – and ready and available. I first met him while he was biking around prior to his first election. He was more than happy to chat about my concerns and ideas and I felt inspired to know he could possibly win and hoped he has the opportunity to serve our Board of Trustees.
Whatever your thoughts are for the election, please come out and vote on June 19th because your opinions matter for the future of our village.
Mare Dianora and Claes Brøndal
Community and Caring
Recently the Pierson High School Baseball Team became the Long Island Class C Champions. They finished their season 21-4, first winning the Suffolk County Class C title and went on to win the Long Island Class C title.
As a Pierson alum, a parent and community member, I would like to take this opportunity to thank some people. First a big thank you to the Sag Harbor Fire Department. Not only are they dedicated to the community as volunteer fire fighters, but they are quick to respond when it comes to supporting the students. They certainly know how to make an entrance. Secondly, I would like to thank Frank Venesina, Conca d’oro and Jim Renner, Il Capuccino. Both restaurants had celebratory dinners prepared within record time. Frank and Jim are dedicated to the students of the community as well. Always showing support.
So if your child asks why it gets so busy here during the summer, you can tell them it’s because of people like Frank and Jim, and the volunteers at the Fire Department. They help to make our community tight knit and caring.
I love this town!
P.S. A HUGE Congratulations to Melissa Edwards and her Varsity softball team making Pierson history by earning their spot in the State Semi-Finals. They were one of four of the best softball teams in New York State. And another congratulations goes out to the students at Pierson who were nominated, and those who won a Teeny at the 2012 EEAC Awards this afternoon. Go Scarlet and the Black!
Parking Move is No Solution
As a resident of Jermain Avenue, I find Dr. Gratto’s response to the complaints of the Neighbors of Pierson regarding ferry parking to be grossly inadequate. I am confident that it was never the intention of the Neighbors of Pierson to transfer the parking problem from their streets to the streets of their neighbors.
What is needed is a solution to the problem of exposing residential streets to increased commercial traffic. Transferring the problem from one street to another is not a solution. There is not a street in the Village that would not object to the introduction of an unknown volume of tourist traffic, the overflow of which will likely be parking in front of homes on Jermain Avenue — as well as surrounding streets — for hours.
In addition to the increase in noise and pollution this increased tourist traffic will generate, there are safety issues involved in channeling high levels of traffic, and potential bumper to bumper parked cars, onto village streets. These streets were never intended for this use. The superintendent may want “to make a couple of bucks” off ferry parking but the degradation to the impacted streets and the dangers created for the residents of these streets are not offset by $20,000.
I feel Dr. Gratto’s comments in The Sag Harbor Express (June 7, 2012) reflected an ignorance of the community surrounding the Jermain Avenue and Division Street parking lots. I also found his comments to be cavalier and condescending. In an effort to educate Dr. Gratto, I would make the following points:
• Jermain Avenue is no less a residential street than Montauk Avenue or any other street in the Village outside of the commercial zone.
• Jermain Avenue is no more heavily trafficked in the summer than any number of other Village streets.
• Jermain Avenue must unfortunately endure traffic in the summer due to tradesmen and summer people using it as a short cut to East Hampton. However, this traffic passes through. No one parks, loiters or litters, they just drive past our homes.
• After business hours, when the “trade parade” has gone home, Jermain Avenue is not an especially busy street.
• The residents of Jermain Avenue and the surrounding streets will definitely be disturbed by the influx of additional traffic, especially as this traffic will continue well into the night. The overflow cars will remain parked outside our homes during the day and into the night.
• The driver of the shuttle van will be required to remove garbage from the parking lot after the last shuttle run; who will be removing the garbage from in front of residents’ homes?
• The homes on the streets surrounding the parking lots are heavily, if not exclusively, owner occupied; this is a true residential area. The people who will be negatively impacted by this intrusion of commercial tourist traffic and overflow parking are village residents whose taxes support the schools and maintain the school parking lots.
If there is a solution to the problem of ferry parking, I do not know what it would be. However, it most certainly is not the channeling of this purely business based tourist traffic onto village streets and into residential areas in order that the Superintendent may make “a few bucks” parking cars in school parking lots.
Further, as he is a non-elected, employee of the school district I question Dr. Gratto’s right to decide which residential streets will be invaded by tourist traffic and which will be spared. I also question his clairvoyance as to which residents will or will not find this traffic disturbing on their doorsteps.
Ferry parking is a serious complication to the ferry trial and it is a problem which elected village government, not the Superintendent of Schools, should be addressing and working to resolve. This is village planning; it is not the jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Schools.
Education, Not Commerce
As a resident of Jermain Avenue and a person who has willingly supported the Sag Harbor School District for nearly four decades, I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this week’s Express.
School Superintendent John Gratto has decided to lease the school parking lot on Jermain Avenue to Peconic Bay Water Jitney/Hampton Jitney. This is for parking for users of their new ferry experiment, who will be shuttled by bus to and from the dock all day in summer and on weekends (with a special midnight shuttle on Saturdays still under discussion).
“Since the Jermain Avenue lot is already in a high traffic area, Dr. Gratto said, the influx of vehicles is less likely to disturb neighbors,” says the article.
Why thank you, Dr. Gratto, for seizing the opportunity to make a bad situation worse.
Is this how the school treats its neighbors? I naively thought our schools were about education and community, not commerce.
And what are our Village Trustees thinking — rushing this ferry through, without the kind of careful consideration it needs? What, exactly, is the hurry?
If it is all about ‘making a couple of bucks,’ the scheme might backfire.
What about good will?