Tag Archive | "Graboski"

Sprucing Up Hamlets with Outdoor Dining

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The photos pinned to the wall of the Southampton Town Board meeting room on Tuesday evening showed pleasing and inviting scenes of the Southampton Village streetscape. Each of the five pictures highlighted a different village restaurant’s bustling outdoor dining area, where patrons noshed on meals while basking in the sun as pedestrians walked by.

These photographs weren’t snapped by a professional photographer hired by the restaurants, but were in fact taken by town councilwoman Nancy Graboski who, along with councilman Christ Nuzzi, has spearheaded a campaign to allow outdoor dining throughout the town. Graboski presented the photos, which she took over Memorial Day Weekend, at a Southampton Town Board meeting to show the board the acclimating quality of outdoor seating.

Employing the help of deputy town attorney Kathleen Murray, Nuzzi and Graboski drafted legislation to allow outdoor sidewalk dining. The draft law was modeled after similar legislation found in Southampton Village.

“This is a law to create a license so that restaurants can put a few tables on the sidewalk,” explained Graboski. “It is consistent with the resort nature of our town. This will help keep our hamlets viable in this difficult economy. One major goal of the 1999 comprehensive plan was to be sensitive to the viability of our hamlet centers and this will help us do that.”

According to Graboski, the new law will apply to the Southampton Town hamlet’s of Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays, Water Mill and East Quogue and will help promote economic sustainability for food establishments. Graboski said a local restaurateur told her that having seating areas situated outside his restaurant in the winter months increased his business by 10 percent.

The outdoor dining legislation comes with a few standards, which Murray enumerated at the meeting. Firstly, the law only applies to restaurants with a primary enclosed business, and excludes take-out operations, drive-thrus and drive-ins, bars and nightclubs. The outdoor seating must be located in front of the restaurant’s indoor operation. There must be at least 10 feet of space between the restaurant’s exterior wall and the curb of the sidewalk. The restaurant will leave six feet clear to accommodate pedestrian traffic and safety. For example, if there is 12 feet of space between a restaurant and the sidewalk curb, the dining establishment may use six feet of sidewalk width for outdoor dining. Restaurants are allowed to install retractable awnings over the outdoor seating, but umbrellas are expressly forbidden.

To maintain the same occupancy limits for the restaurant, the town stipulates that indoor seating must be reduced to correspond with the additional outdoor seating, and the outdoor seating may not exceed 20 percent of the total indoor seating capacity. Licenses issued to restaurants by the town would only be valid for the season — May 1 through November 1, and allow dining from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“This is a good business initiative,” said Nuzzi of the legislation, which was unanimously passed by the town board. “It will assist the business community and hopefully expanding dining opportunities will additionally flow out into the retail establishments.

Bridgehampton CAC Gets Past “Solar” Farm

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by Marianna Levine

 

During a January 26th meeting that was attended by Town Board members Nancy Graboski and Chris Nuzzi, the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee resolved their problems with the so-called Ocean Road solar farm, started organizing a revised version of the hamlet study, and heard several reports from community members. The Ocean Road farm, being built near the intersection of Ocean Road and Montauk highway, had been a major topic of debate in the last three CAC meetings. In December CAC co- chair Fred Cammann, and CAC secretary Dick Bruce met with Kyle Collins of KPC planning services, and the farm’s designer Rocco Lettieri in order to clarify their understanding of the farm’s proposed design and purpose.

Bruce pointed out that that the developer had, in his opinion, satisfactorily addressed the CAC’s concerns. They had eliminated the proposed mechanical building, and placed its functions in the basement of the barn. A structure that both Bruce, and Ocean Road neighbor Georgia Rose admitted was beautiful. Lettieri also had eliminated the loading area along the southern side of the property, choosing instead to use the farm’s central field to do any loading of agricultural products. The CAC’s worries over glaring solar panels were also lessened when Cammann and Bruce explained the panels would be absolutely flat on the ground.

After acknowledging that Ocean Road has a special place in many people’s hearts, Cammann said, “I was also concerned about the view from the road, but the windmill is only 35 feet high, and that and the barn are the only structures you’ll see from Ocean Road. Think about the many metal structures and trucks you usually see on other farms.” Bruce concurred, “perhaps when you think of agricultural reserve land you think of an open field and not necessarily structures, but as long as (the building) is agriculturally related it is okay.”

 

Revising Hamlet Study

Jeffery Vogel then led a discussion on the CAC proposed revision of a 2004 hamlet study. Vogel said it was the CAC’s goal to acknowledge the entire community’s vision for Bridgehampton. Councilwoman Graboski added that it was important to talk to the school, the fire department/EMS to get their input in this study as well. Vogel agreed and explained that the study’s work group is currently creating on an outline of its specific goals.

Chair Cammann thanked the town board members for cooperating with the CAC on this, and Graboski was grateful for Vogel’s initiative and work on the project noting that, “in the current economic environment, the town can’t afford to bring in consultants.” Councilman Chris Nuzzi, agreed, “it’s great to have the community involved in creating this amendment to the current hamlet study, and we’ll provide whatever available staff we have to help you in this effort.”

 

Greenbelt, Historic Houses, Migrants

The meeting had three other presentations. One by The Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt’s president Sandra Ferguson, and its secretary Dai Dayton. They brought several photographs and maps of the Greenbelt, and asked for help from the community in weeding the Vineyard Field behind the South Fork Natural History Museum in May and June.

Coinciding with the new hamlet study, Bridgehampton resident Ann Sandford introduced and explained the newly gathered Bridgehampton Heritage study. The study is basically an inventory of about 175 historic houses in Bridgehampton which is currently available to the public on Southampton Town’s website. Ms. Sanford explained that the study was set up in such a way so that people could print it up and use it as a reference for a tour of the hamlet. This report was presented to the town’s landmarks board in January where the board had voted to make all the structures historic heritage buildings. Their recommendation will now go to the Southampton Town Board.

Finally, John Millard reported on the revised application by Dave Schiavoni for a gunite plant in Bridgehampton. Apparently the gunite plant, which is located behind Agway off Snakehollow Road, had been operating for several years without the proper paperwork in place, and was currently under a stop work order by the town. The majority of CAC members seemed to agree that they wanted the application to be denied. Co-Chair Tony Lambert however tried to point out that the plant was in an industrial area, and that the majority of residents impacted by any noise or dust were only part time residents.

The meeting ended in a somber fashion when two community members, Christian Stocakel, and Kevin Tate complained of a migrant workers’ camp, housing about 40 people in four structures near their own house on Montauk Highway. Stocakel and Tate expressed frustration that they have fought this situation for six years without getting any help from the town. They said they came to the CAC with the hope that the CAC could offer some advice on how to proceed. Cammann told them that the CAC would talk with the town board and get more information about the situation, which appears to concern the late Christian Wolfers’ estate. The other bit of sad news concerned the recent accident in front of Starbuck’s in Bridgehampton. CAC co-chair Lambert stressed the need for additional lighting at the crosswalks on Montauk Highway so that perhaps fewer people get hit crossing the road there.

 

Law Will Change The Way We Build

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Southampton Town Board is moving “backwards” in its implementation of green energy codes according to councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst.

At a special meeting on Friday, September 12 at town hall, the Southampton Town Board adopted a resolution for a public hearing that offers amendments to the original green legislation which was sponsored by Throne-Holst and called for, among other things, the use of solar energy to heat pools and energy rating standards for all new construction and substantial renovations. Proposed amendments include changing the effective dates of the original legislation and exempting indoor pools from the solar heating mandate.

 The new resolution also proposes to allow the chief building inspector the ability to downgrade the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) for houses where the site may not be compatible with renewable energy technologies. The proposed amendment also adds an administrative appeals process for homeowners who oppose the decisions of the building inspector.

 The resolution will be presented at a public hearing on September 23 followed by the board’s vote.

 The resolution, if adopted, will change the original legislation consisting of a four-tier approach for the HERS ratings to a three-tiered approach and change the highest HERS rating required from 95 to 90 effective October 1, 2008. The resolution calls for new homes up to 3,500 square feet to attain a HERS rating of 84 or higher. For homes between 3,501 and 4,500 square feet the requirement is a minimum HERS rating of 87 and for all new homes built over 4,501 square feet a minimum 90 HERS rating is required. By October 1, 2009, new dwellings over 6,500 square feet will be required to receive an energy star rating of 95.

 Throne-Holst believes the town should not wait until 2009 to implement the 95 HERS rating. It’s this aspect of the legislation which has received the most criticism, but Throne-Holst maintains achievement of a 95 rating is “very do-able.” She sees no reason why larger homes couldn’t attain the 95 HERS rating now.

“We are putting this off for the wrong reasons,” argued Throne-Holst who feels that owners of larger homes have the means and ability to meet the higher threshold. “It’s giving away the store to the wrong people

The resolution also proposes that implementation of the legislation for substantial reconstruction of homes be postponed until October 1, 2009 at which time it will follow the HERS requirements based on the size of the home. According to the legislation, the definition of substantial reconstruction is “construction that includes the removal and replacement of the ceiling, interior finishes of a dwelling which expose the exterior framing, and more than 50 percent of any windows, exterior doors, or HVAC building system.”

For all new dwellings and substantial reconstruction, the resolution calls for a HERS certificate prior to the issuance of a building permit based on a review of the plans and specifications. Before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy (CO), the applicant must certify that the dwelling satisfies the HERS program requirements with performance and field testing verifications.

 Supervisor Linda Kabot told members of the board and others in the room that she believes the amendments are in the best interest of the community.

“We are not watering down the original threshold, we are phasing it in,” she commented.

In a statement released by the supervisor’s office the amendments are being proposed “due to technical issues involved with implementation.” Despite her reservations with the amendments, Throne-Holst says she is not against holding a public hearing on the matter.

“It’s in the spirit of open government,” she said, “and it’s important to let other people into the legislation and I am all for being respectful for the parties.”

 But she expressed concerns with what has happened in the past months regarding this legislation.

 “I am disappointed with the direction that some of this has taken,” she said. “In the end we are watering it down.”

 Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, who proposed a resolution to change the effective dates of the legislation and who crafted the current resolution along with Kabot and councilman Chris Nuzzi, believes “the 95 HERS mandate may be asking too much and asking the homeowner to generate all of their own power.”

 “We can continue to work with the industry,” she commented. “This postponement is in response to comments raised during the public comment portion and questions raised about the 95 HERS.”

Graboski added that a 90 HERS is a significant step and that the board is still conserving energy while being mindful of their goals.

 “We are proceeding aggressively with the 84, 87, and 90 HERS rating, this gives the town board a chance to see how all this is operating, and gives us a chance to make refinements if we need to,” Graboski said.

 If adopted, the new resolution could also move the mandate on solar heating for swimming pools to January 1, 2009 (previously it was slated to take effect October 1, 2008) to allow for further exploration of solar heating methods for pool businesses and incentives for this mandate.

 “We are no longer the cutting edge board we thought we could be.” Throne-Holst commented on Friday. “We are a community unlike any other on this island because we have homes that tax our grid more than any other.”

 Kabot responded, “I am very proud of this board. It is still cutting edge – we are still clearly progressive.” But she adds, “To grow a greener industry you should incentivize.”

“It has zero to do with the original intent of the law,” Throne-Holst said. “This is backwards as far as I’m concerned.”