Tag Archive | "Alex Gregor"

Southampton Town Leaf Pickup Program Gets Revised

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By Claire Walla

For many, one of the benefits to living in Southampton Town is that, come fall, when nature’s dead weight begins to blanket the earth, the town’s highway department will come to the rescue. Residents have traditionally been able to pile leaves along the side of the road in preparation for highway department personnel, who swoop by in a garbage truck and suck-up the lifeless debris.

This year, however, Southampton Town’s Leaf Pick-up Program will be a little different.

Though the leaf program will not be entirely discontinued, Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor hopes curbside pick-up will be greatly reduced. The superintendent will introduce a voucher program this year, through which residents will be allowed to dump up to eight yards of leaf waste at one of several transfer stations that will be set-up near each hamlet and residential district within the town. There will be two locations in Noyac, two in Bridgehampton and one in North Sea.

“What we’re trying to do is end the practice of landscapers indiscriminately dropping leaves on the side of the highway,” Gregor said.

He noted that illegal dumping increased about four or five years ago when landscapers were barred from dumping leaves for free at town transfer stations. Instead of paying fees, Gregor explained, many landscapers began leaving loose piles even in non-residential areas in Southampton Town. (All leaves are required to be left curbside directly in front of the residence from which they came.)

Especially this past year — after East Hampton Town officials eliminated leaf pick-up service entirely — Gregor explained there’s been an influx of illegal dumping of leaves in Southampton Town. He said the problem is prevalent in areas close to the town line in Wainscott and Bridgehampton, primarily along sections of Sagg Main.

“It’s a safety problem,” Gregor continued, explaining that this year oversized piles of leaves created notable road hazards for cyclists, school buses and snow plows, which at times found no place to leave excess snow. Plus, he added, “we’re trying to keep the drains clean.”

Residents who are 73 years of age or older and those with special needs would be able to dispose of loose leaves in front of their properties as before.

All other residents who decide not to participate in the voucher program will be required to place leaves in brown paper bags (available for purchase through the highway department or at Loews) before leaving them by the side of the road for pick-up. Highway department employees will still make one round through all residential areas of the town in order to pick-up the bags. Loose leaves will be passed over, as will twigs and brush, which were also left uncollected this year.

“I’m trying to encourage people to take advantage of the voucher program,” he said.

“I know it’s not a popular thing, but I have to look out for the general welfare of the people who use the roads,” Gregor continued. “It’s a no-win situation because there’s nothing you can do to make everyone happy.”

This year the leaf pick-up program cost about $1.2 million and the town collectively generated almost 50,000 yards of leaves and brush.

Gregor argued that with about eight employees for each of the six highway districts under his jurisdiction, “the amount of leaves and the amount of homes is just overwhelming.”

Despite being forced to downsize the program, Gregor is requesting $750,000 from the town to bolster the leaf program, money that — if obtained — would actually make it possible for the highway department to reinstate loose-leaf pick-up. This would be used to hire up to 23 part-time employees for the pick-up program and the purchase of 12 garbage compactors (two per district), which can collect a significant amount of leaves — more at one time than the garbage trucks the town currently uses.

“The only way [too keep the leaf program as is] is to really hit it hard with a lot of equipment and a lot of man power,” Gregor said.

However, Gregor said a town board resolution would need to be passed before the end of this month in order to make this a ballot initiative in November. He has yet to hear back from any members of the town board.

Don’t Dismiss Noyac Agaain

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Noyac residents have waited six years to have a traffic calming plan in place in front of Cromer’s Market, and have suffered much longer with a roadway which has become increasingly dangerous. Two fatalities and a number of accidents in the vicinity the past year alone should flag this stretch as a priority for the Town of Southampton.

We were happy to report several weeks ago that the town was intending to begin a re-design of several hundred feet of the roadway, actually moving a portion of Noyac Road about a dozen feet south of its present location, giving drivers more room and a safer way to enter and exit the parking lot in front of Cromer’s and the Whalebone General Store. In summer months in particular, this can be a treacherous place to get in and out of.

At Tuesday night’s Noyac Civic Council meeting, newly-elected town highway superintendent Alex Gregor reviewed with the audience of Noyac residents the plan that has seen numerous drafts and revisions, and we’d have to say the thirty or so in attendance were happy to see a plan that can move forward.  We heard Mr. Gregor say he hoped to have work begin on the project shortly after Labor Day.

We also heard something else in his voice: a bit of hesitation.

In his presentation, Mr. Gregor appeared less certain the project would actually be started this year. Even civic council president Chuck Neuman appeared concerned, fearing that if the project was passed over, Noyac would again have to wait through another cycle of project funding.

At issue is a piece of land that must first be deeded to the town from a subdivision across the street from Cromer’s, upon which the road would be moved. Mr. Gregor said he has urged town attorneys to push to finalize the deal, but it has not yet been done.

We are incredulous that after so much time, the town may once again drop the ball on a project in the hamlet — and one that clearly has health and safety issues. If they fail to move on Noyac Road this year it will simply underscore that Noyac truly is the town’s poor stepchild.



Southampton Town Residents May Be Bagging Their Own Leaves

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The future of the Southampton Town leaf and brush pickup program will be the subject of a special forum next week, and the newly-elected superintendent of highways, Alex Gregor, hopes changes could save his department money.

Gregor told the Noyac Civic Council Tuesday night his department spends well over a million dollars each year to pick up leaves during the spring and fall each year; $354,000 of that is to drop the leaves at the town dump.

He would like to see residents help cut that expense by bagging their own leaves with town-provided bio-degradable paper bags, and encouraging them to either take the leaves to the dump themselves or have a landscaper do it.

The savings in both time and money for his crews would free them up to do other work, such as paving roads and clearing drains.

“East Hampton and Southampton towns are the only towns out here that still allow loose leaves to be picked up,” said Gregor.

The forum will be held at Golf at the Bridge on Saturday, March 27, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.