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One More Meeting Before Town “Bites the Bullet” on Noyac Road Expansion

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Noyac Road Expansion adjusted

By Claire Walla


For Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, the town has been waffling long enough. Something needs to be done about Noyac Road.

“I think there’s just a point at which we have to take action that is effective before we see more tragedy,” she stated at a town board work session last Friday, February 10. “What are we going to do, wait for someone to get killed before we do something?”

The stretch of pavement in question curls at a small shopping complex between Bay Avenue and Cedar Lane, which includes Cromer’s Market to the east and the Whalebone General Store to the west. Addressing several accidents that have occurred in the area over the years — precisely 47 from 2008 to 2010, according to Southampton Town’s highway superintendent Alex Gregor — the town has sought to make traffic-calming improvements since at least 2003, when a hamlet study identified that intersection as a major traffic risk.

However, town government played hot potato with the project for years, passing it from Land Management to the Planning Board and then the Town Board, before the board finally passed a resolution at the tail end of 2009 to allocate funds to the Highway Department designated specifically for the road construction project.

“There are rumors in the community that the funding was taken away [from this project],” Fleming said at the meeting.

She spoke in reference to an “alert” that had been circulated the previous week by an organization called Spokespeople. The document conveyed the notion that Councilman Chris Nuzzi intended to defund the Noyac Road project.

However, Fleming continued, those rumors are “not true.”

She explained that there was a budget modification at the end of 2010, which reallocated funds that had been reserved for the Noyac Road expansion project to other road repair projects within the Highway Department. But, this was only because — by the end of 2011 — construction had still not begun in Noyac. Fleming reiterated that the money is in this year’s budget.

“It has been in place since 2009,” she added. “We’ve authorized it, and we’re behind that.”

According to Gregor, the reason construction has been halted has to do with indecision in the community as to the best way to execute traffic-calming measures.

The proposed plan — which includes laying in concrete curbing to physically separate the row of shops from Noyac Road — has been through at least 13 drafts, Gregor explained. The current model includes expanding the road slightly to the south and adding three concrete medians in the middle of Noyac Road, plus a left-hand turn lane into the shopping center from the eastbound traffic lane. It also proposes cutting off access from Bay Avenue to Noyac Road.

Currently, Bay Avenue (which runs alongside Whalebone) meets up with Elm Street to the west at a single point, essentially funneling traffic from two roads onto Noyac Road in one spot. This is a major area of concern for Ray DiBiase, an engineer with McLean and Associates, who conducted a traffic study of this section of Noyac Road for the town.

While a normal “T” intersection will have roughly nine total “conflict points,” or areas where traffic accidents are likely to occur; this intersection has 20.

To mitigate this situation, the current plan cuts off access to Bay Lane from Noyac Road. Instead, the parking area extends into the road with a crescent-shaped area DiBiase explained could be used for trucks to park while loading and unloading goods.

However, Whalebone owner Linda Heine opposes the current configuration laid out by the town. And she has a more significant stake than many: her family now owns the triangle of land between Bay and Elm that the town has proposed paving over.

“I agree that something needs to be done, but this is way too much,” Heine said.

She particularly cited issues with the proposed “loading zone,” saying trucks in the area would block visibility to her store; but she also said putting concrete barriers between the parking area and the road is “overkill.”

“I don’t know why the parking has become such a major concern,” she continued. “I understand the safety issue, but anyone who couldn’t back out safely shouldn’t be on the road.”

In the end, Heine said she recognizes the conundrum the town is in, but feels there’s a better way for town officials to address the traffic problems.

In line with Heine’s concerns, the imposition of concrete barriers had some town council members questioning the need for such permanent adjustments — Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera wondered whether striping or rumble strips might be installed instead, and Councilman Jim Malone asked about traffic cameras as a way to prevent speeding in the area.

Both Gregor and DiBiase agree that more permanent fixtures were necessary to not only calm traffic, but prevent cars from swerving on the road.

“They call it a friction theory,” Gregor explained. “If your feeling is that the road is getting smaller, it forces you to drive slower.”

He cited the concrete median outside North Haven Village Hall as a successful example of this concept.

“Our responsibility is to everyone,” Gregor continued. “But, mostly the people walking and cycling the roads.”

Fleming added, “One of the things I’ve heard more and more is that if you make the roads safer for bicyclists, you make them safer for cars, as well.”

Noyac Civic Council President Elena Loreto agreed that something needed to be done. “Let’s face it, it’s dangerous,” she said. “As a bicyclist, I no longer ride on that road because it’s dangerous.”

However, she doesn’t believe the town’s current plan will satisfy all needs.

“I think maybe they need to look at the plan wish fresh eyes and come up with something different, because obviously some of [the plan] is not amenable to some of the store owners,” she said. “It doesn’t mean the town should stop, but maybe we should go back to square one.”

Last week’s meeting concluded when Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst reiterated her commitment to getting something done.

“Let’s have one more meeting,” she continued. “Let’s get as critical a mass [as we can] together at once, then after that I think we need to just bite this bullet and do it.”

Though an exact date and time have not yet been set, the town board is expected to hold a special meeting during the first week in March to address the proposed Noyac Road expansion plan.

Town Board Approves $80.3 Million 2012 Budget

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By Claire Walla


Last week, the town of Southampton unanimously approved a 2012 Adopted Budget that would represent a tax levy of approximately $63.8 million. According to the supervisor’s office, the exact calculation for what next year’s spending cost would be is still being tallied.

While this budget will be less than Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s preliminary $80.2 million spending plan, it still represents a 1.2 percent tax levy increase over this year’s operating budget. The supervisor had created a zero-percent increase in her proposed budget. But the 1.2 percent tax levy increase incorporated into the adopted budget still resides within the two-percent tax levy cap local governments throughout the state of New York must abide by for the 2012 fiscal year.

For a resident living in a home assessed at $600,000 outside an incorporated village in the town of Southampton, this represents a tax increase of $18.48, bringing town taxes up from $816 to $834. For residents within incorporated villages with homes assessed at $600,000, this would represent a reduction of about $24.21 on their tax bill.

In total, the town board will see 19 voluntary retirements from those taking advantage of the town’s retirement incentive. Employees will receive an additional $1,000 per every year of service to the town upon their retirement this year.

One of the greatest topics of conversation leading up to last Friday’s vote was the town’s police department. The supervisor had laid-out plans to reduce the staff by eight senior officers. However, the town board ultimately voted to force into retirement only three senior officers, who will retire by the end of the year along with four senior officers who had already planned to retire in 2012.

Town board members have the authority to force into retirement any police officer who has served for at least 20 years on the force. Though never enacted before, this provision to town code was implemented decades ago during contract negotiations between the town board and the police union.

The board’s Republican majority — Jim Malone, Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski — voted in favor of the revised plan, which would retire three members of the Police Benevolence Association (PBA) instead of those officers who are members of the Superior Officers’ Association (SOA). Bridget Fleming voted against it and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst abstained.

What’s more, board members also voted 3–2 against the supervisor’s proposed plan to spend nearly $700,000 on technology upgrades at the town police department. The program would purportedly have cut-down on the amount of time it takes officers to generate paper documentation and according to Throne-Holst, it would have saved the department money over time. But the board’s majority members, while supportive of the overall idea, felt it best to be more fiscally prudent in these economic times.

Cops and Trustees’ Last-Minute Budget Talks

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by Claire Walla

Perhaps no department in the town of Southampton has been as fiercely scrutinized during this year’s budget process as the Southampton Town Police Department. Though it’s still unknown how deep into the red the department’s overtime budget will be before the end of this fiscal year, it’s already seen a deficit in overtime spending that’s topped $250,000.

What’s more, Southampton Town Police Chief Bill Wilkinson has been tasked with streamlining the department, reducing current staffing levels from 96 to 90 officers.

While he’s been charged with finding a solution for his department’s current deficit, he also faces some backlash to his proposed plan to trim his department — which, he argues, would help alleviate the issues with the current deficit. The chief’s plan hinges on introducing new technology into the force.

“The technology program is critical,” Wilkinson told Southampton Town Board members at a town hall work session on Tuesday, November 15. “We’re looking to streamline and flatten out the command structure [of the police department] — that’s dependent on having the technology project.”

According to Wilkinson’s estimates, a standard Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrest typically requires officers to take roughly four to five hours to process the paperwork associated with it. With the proposed technology project — an automated system that would cut down on the amount of paper work and data entry officers are now responsible for — he said the time it takes to process a DWI would be cut in half.

Among town board members, there seemed to be few arguments with the benefits of the program. However, Councilman Jim Malone said he wondered whether the project, at roughly $700,000, would be too expensive to implement in this economic climate.

“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “With the state of economics being what they are, we’re trying to get by year to year… [The technology project] is an investment, but it carries a cost.”

For Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, the decision of whether or not to invest in new technology is not a simple matter deciding whether or not to pay for a $700,000 project. “The balancing act is: do we invest in the technology, or do we invest in more police officers?” she asked rhetorically.

Because if the town decides not to invest in the new technology, she pointed out that the police force would be short-staffed and would not be able to function adequately — without dipping into its overtime funds.


TRUSTEES


After several meetings with town board members regarding their proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year, the Southampton Town Trustees finally seemed to come to an understanding with the board regarding how much money each entity is willing to spend to keep the trustees in operation.

The trustees’ ultimately requested permission to put up a bond measure for $250,000 that would be met with a financial contribution from the town of $150,000.

This money would be put toward a series of four projects that trustees said are of high priority. The first and most important project would be to build a new structure to replace the existing storage facility on Jackson Avenue in Hampton Bays ($275,000). Additionally, the trustees need $15,000 to fix the Wooley Pond bulkhead, $200,000 for the Old Fort Pond dock, and $200,000 for the Baycrest Avenue dock

While Councilman Jim Malone noted that the total cost of these projects comes out to $690,000 and the trustees are asking for $400,000 in funds, Trustee Eric Schultz noted that the trustees would simply get through as many projects as they could before their funding ran out.

“I support the bonding,” Malone finally commented.

Additionally, the trustees asked to keep the services of attorney Joe Lombardo, who they said is well-versed in patent law and was instrumental in helping the trustees successfully defend their rights against implementing a saltwater fishing license in the town of Southampton. His has been written out of the supervisor’s tentative budget.

“If you decide not to keep him,” Schultz added, “We request that we have someone with the same amount of time dedicated to us.”

Finally, the trustees argued that they needed the services of a marine maintenance supervisor. The position is currently vacant due to retirement. And in order to save costs, the trustees proposed a 50/50 deal, in which they would pay half of this person’s salary, which they estimated would total $75,000.

Southampton: Top Cop Aims To Trim Operations

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By Claire Walla


Southampton Town Police Chief Bill Wilson admitted last Friday, November 4 that his department has, in fact, spent $225,000 more than its allotted overtime funds due primarily to changes in the department that he implemented when he took office last May.

However, he said, those costs don’t represent the full story.

Though the overtime budget is currently in the red, Chief Wilson said he has a vision for the department that will not only solve the overtime dilemma, but will bring more financial stability for the police department for the years to come.

“I think we can agree that the Southampton Town Police Department, operationally, has been on an austerity budget for quite some time,” Wilson began. “In looking at the long-term health and longevity of the police department over the next 20 years, I was tasked with finding significant savings [when appointed as police chief ].”

For fiscal year 2012, that total is $1.5 million, which is currently built into the supervisor’s Preliminary Budget. That cost savings is laid-out in a plan to trim the police department by eight members, using a stipulation in all officers’ contracts with the town that allows town officials to force officers who have reached 20 years of service into retirement. (Under Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s plan, officers who have 25 years of service or more will be affected.)

While Southampton Town Comptroller Tamara Wright recently said this formula has been complicated by the fact that fire service has now been thrown into the mix of what constitutes an officers’ employment with the town — the number of officers now eligible for retirement has risen to 12 — the chief maintains that trimming his staff in this way is the most effective for the department.

“There has been some concern with the department’s ability to operate with a certain amount of ‘brain drain,’” he said, referring to the fact that those forced into retirement would be the town’s senior officers with the most experience.

“We have talented people in those positions,” he continued, “But we have talented people waiting to fill those positions. So, at no time would public safety be jeopardized.”

He went on to explain that part of his reorganization would be removing superior officers from positions that he said could easily be “civilianized.” Wilson said that the lieutenant currently responsible for the office of emergency management — “an expert in the field” — has agreed to come back to the department after his retirement next August on a part-time or consultant basis in order to train a “civilian” to do the job.

Similarly, the chief said that a current sergeant interested in taking the town’s retirement incentive has agreed to come back to the department to work in an administrative, civilian position.

“In doing so, that would allow me to be able to flatten out the current command structure,” Wilson commented.

His goal, as he has explained it, is to get more uniformed officers out of the office and onto the streets.

In speaking to the longevity of the department, Wilson also told town board members that he hopes to make better use of technology to streamline procedures within the department that, as of now, are “archaic.” After adding that he has been asked to trim current staffing levels down to 90 (he said there were 96 when he first took command), operations will have to be streamlined.

That cannot be done “without the automization of a substantial amount of the services we perform — filling out paperwork, records management, processing evidence,” he added.

In one sense, Wilson continued, overtime numbers increase “because of the amount of uncommitted officer time — there is a report generated for every single thing that we do.”

But cutting back on those reports is not an option.

“One of the primary purposes of law enforcement is documentation,” Wilson said. “It’s just the way that the documentation is done that takes up time.”

The board went into executive session to discuss the finer details of Wilson’s plan regarding which specific staff members he proposes moving to higher positions to fill the spots of those expected to take retirement or be forced into retirement. However, though the board discussed Wilson’s plan for reorganizing his staff, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst noted that she would be continuing discussion with the department’s two main unions: the Superior Officers’ Association (SOA) and the Police (PBA).

Should an agreement be reached or should the board decide not to force officers into retirement, Wilson noted that it would affect his carefully mapped out plan for a reorganization that would result in $1.5 million in savings.

Pointing to the fact that the new measurement for retirement eligibility at 25 years now includes 12 officers instead of eight, Councilman Jim Malone said that decreasing the department by 12 officers “is not sustainable,” adding that that would mark a drop-off of nearly 50 percent.

As discussions continue about the future of the town’s police department, Malone said he wanted to see more options than the what’s currently laid-out in the Preliminary Budget (retiring those who have accumulated 25 years of service).

“While it’s a viable choice, the choice of one is not really a choice in my mind,” he said. “There’s got to be a contingency plan.”

Town Cops Bust OT By $225,000

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By Claire Walla

Much to the surprise of all members of the Southampton Town board, the Southampton Town Police Department has already spent $225,000 more than was allotted in its 2011 overtime budget — and it continues to accrue more debt.

At a town board work session held last Friday, October 28 the board met with Lieutenant Bob Pearce, Deputy Town Comptroller Kathy Scott and Town Management Services Administrator Russell Kratoville to discuss how the police department managed to run such a high deficit. Police Chief Bill Wilson was unavailable last week, though he is scheduled to address the issue again at this Friday’s work session, November 4.

According to Pearce, there are several factors for the overtime shortage. Not only was the department overworked in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, he said a recent shortage of staff has contributed to the need to dip into overtime. The department has lost four officers, bringing its force down to 92, and there are currently eight officers who are out, six of whom are being replaced in their absence.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi demanded to know why, from 2008 through 2011, when there wasn’t a huge variance in the number of police officers, “there is a huge variance in overtime,” he said. “I think drilling down to the details is necessary to see how these numbers shifted.”

Pearce further explained that when Chief Wilson joined the town he increased the number of sectors with 24-hour patrol from seven to eight, adding an additional patrol car for the Flanders/Riverside area, which Pearce said studies have showed has a relatively high rate of crime and warrants 24-hour patrol.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that it’s important to maintain eight sectors of patrol.

“We saw a very active season this year and there was a commensurate rise in crime activity that needed to be investigated,” she said.

For that reason, Throne-Holst said that the rise in costs came from the detective division.

According to figures read off by Russel Kratoville, the detective division generated 91 hours of overtime in July, 170 hours in August, 120 in September and 150 hours during the first 15 days of October.

For Nuzzi, the crux of the issue goes beyond the reasons why the department has accrued this debt, he is concerned with the town’s immediate dilemma. With two months left in this fiscal year, he emphasized the fact that there is currently a zero in the budget line for the department’s overtime pay.

“How are we going to be able to shift resources around to deal with this?” he asked.

The board had previously authorized shifting $175,000 from the department’s retirement fund to off-set this deficit, but that was before it was revealed that these overtime costs are rising.

“I just want to add that I felt as though I was caught,” Councilwoman Nancy Graboski said. “I didn’t know that we were in this position in the first place. I would have felt a whole lot better about authorizing the money if I had known prior to that — or if we had had something in the way of advisory — that there was no more money left.”

Luxury Events Nixed

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By Claire Walla


When luxury event planning company Gilt City was banished from its Hamptons headquarters at a house on Fithian Lane in East Hampton just last week, the New York City-based company packed up and moved west.

After securing a rental at 1432 Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton — another home zoned in a residential district — Gilt City continued to advertise high-priced Hamptons sojourns, which were to be based out of the Bridgehampton home. Southampton Town officials were not pleased.

“What we’re doing today is taking action,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said at a special board meeting held last Friday, August 12. With regard to two walk-on resolutions introduced by Councilwoman Nancy Graboski — one in reference to the house in Bridgehampton and the other in reference to a similar case at 2136 Deerfield Road in Noyac — the board voted unanimously to grant Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato the authority to “take any action necessary” to eliminate these illegal rental scenarios.

With regard to Deerfield Road, Mark Humphrey, a neighbor of the alleged party house, said before the town board: “This house is a nightmare.”

He continued to explain that the house has been “a nightmare” for four consecutive summers. “I have called the police on this particular renter no less than five times this summer,” he added. “One time, I couldn’t’ even find my driveway, there were so many cars… and I live across the street!” He estimated there have been up to 30 cars spilling out from the property’s main drive on any given night.

“The Town of Southampton has taken a hard stance on these kinds of situations, where a residential property is being used [illegally], whether as a prom house or a party house,” Graboski continued. She noted that the town adopted a more stringent rental code a few years ago, which grants town officials more control over rental properties in Southampton.

“And we’ve tightened up our special events law,” she continued. While “not-for-profits or entities that will benefit non-for-profits [are permitted] to hold special events, that’s usually on a one-night basis,” she clarified. More importantly, she added, “the law does not permit the operation of a business” out of a rental property.

Punctuating the importance of this decision, Councilman Jim Malone requested to be a co-sponsor of the resolution because of what he twice referred to as the “gravity of the situation.” Councilwoman Bridget Fleming followed his lead, co-sponsoring the resolution, as well.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said because both homes have been issued a number of violations, including having no rental or special event permits, she is seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against them, which would bar the current renters from occupying the homes. As of this week, Scarlato said “the TRO was denied,” though she wouldn’t elaborate on the reasons why. However, representatives for both homes are due in court this Friday, August 19.

“The town will continue to keep a very sharp eye on exactly what’s going on in both of these houses,” Scarlato confirmed. “We will continue to act in a way that is beneficial for the neighborhood and the town.”

At least, Scarlato continued, since last Friday’s special board meeting “things were relatively quiet” at both homes over the weekend. While the town continues to take action to enforce the multiple violations issued both properties, Scarlato seemed pleased to know that, at the very least, Friday’s meeting helped quell the chaos.

Split Vote on Beach Parking Compromise

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By Claire Walla


The fight to completely lift parking restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue has finally been called. On Tuesday, August 9, the Southampton Town Board voted two-to-three to keep a partial restriction in place.

As it stands, 100 feet of space, or room for up to four cars, is open to all residents without restrictions. The rest of the block has posted seasonal “no parking” signs, prohibiting parking between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The issue was initially brought to the attention of Southampton Town officials by several Noyac residents last year after they were surprised to find they were issued parking tickets in the area. Councilman Jim Malone largely spearheaded the effort to develop a compromise between Northampton Colony residents and those in the greater Noyac community, ultimately passing a resolution last month, for the 100 feet of available parking.

However, the end of Noyac Bay Avenue has sparked a greater philosophical debate stretching beyond the Southampton Town board and into the greater East End community. During public hearings on the issue, Southampton Town Trustee Jon Semlear urged the board to lift the parking ban, while representatives from the Surfrider Foundation and CfAR argued that parking restrictions on any town road compromise public access to the town’s waterways.

On these grounds, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming sponsored the resolution to lift all parking restrictions. They were the only town board members to vote in support of it.

“We lost,” said Noyac resident Dr. Stanley Shore, who was vocal in his opposition to restricted parking. He said the significance of the board’s decision this week is not in the fact that parking is now limited. “I can still go there,” he admitted. “There are never more than three cars there at a given time. It’s the principal of the thing that counts,” he continued. “Because there are no other [parking restrictions] in any of the other 40 streets [in Southampton Town] that end in the bay.”

He was disappointed by the town’s vote, particularly councilman Jim Malone’s. “He just caved in, even though he was the one who started the whole thing,” Shore lamented.

“I’m disappointed,” Fleming said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m very disappointed the majority chose to vote against the fundamental right [for all residents] to have access to our waterways. One of the essential ways to protect our waters is to ensure access. It’s part of the essential value of where we live. And certainly, as a Noyac resident, it’s one of the essential aspects of this community.”

Northampton Colony residents have a different perspective on the matter. Noyac Bay Avenue sits between the Northampton Colony clubhouse, which is paid for and maintained by local homeowners, and the Northampton Colony Marina, a private docking area.

The parking restrictions were put in place a couple years ago when neighbors said there was an increase of thefts in the marina, as well as instances of beach goers using Northampton Colony beach club facilities without authorization.

Larry Tullio, who is the harbor master at the marina, said he didn’t understand why the town had put forth a motion to lift the parking ban entirely after the community had already come up with a compromise. He wanted the town “to just leave it the way it is,” with room for up to four cars.

“We made a compromise and [the town] respected the compromise,” Tullio added. “That’s what I expected them to do.”

Update: Parking Ban in Noyac

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By Claire Walla

On Tuesday, July 26 Southampton Town Board will vote on a resolution to lift the partial parking ban now in effect on Noyac Bay Avenue in Noyac.
Earlier this month, town board member Jim Malone sponsored a resolution to compromise on 100 feet of unrestricted parking on the south side of Noyac Bay Avenue, which dead-ends at a channel leading into a private marina. However, after numerous residents in the greater Sag Harbor area and several more East Enders supporting beach access rights continued to fight to lift the ban completely, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst pushed to put another resolution on the agenda that would do just that.
At previous town board meetings, Throne-Holst, Malone and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming have openly expressed their support of lifting the parking restrictions entirely, claiming beach access to be a fundamental right for those in the town of Southampton.
While Councilman Chris Nuzzi has said he, too, supports beach access, he has previously expressed an unwillingness to take action beyond the 100-foot compromise that’s already been adopted by the town.

Parking Restriction Lifted on Noyac bay Ave. for Four Cars

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Jayne Southampton

By Claire Walla


Providing some hope for Sag Harbor and Noyac residents publicly outraged that Southampton Town would restrict parking on a town-owned road, the Southampton Town Board voted last Tuesday, June 28 to adopt a resolution that would allow up to 100 feet of concrete on the south side of Noyac Bay Avenue to be free and open to the public. One-hundred feet is equal to about four parking spaces.

Joanne Staffa, secretary of the Northampton Colony Yacht Club (part of the driving force behind the restrictions), spoke on behalf of the group when she said “we are willing to accept the proposed compromise” on 100 feet of free parking.

“But, we have one request,” she continued, “that at the easternmost part of the road, 40 feet remain open at the end to allow emergency vehicles” space to turn around.

Though on Tuesday the board acted on a measure that would only lift the parking restriction for 100 feet, board members plan to bring Transportation Director Tom Neely into the discussion to ensure all safety measures are met.

“I think it’s a good first step,” said Southampton Town Councilman Jim Malone who played a large part in developing the legislation that will effectively overturn the town’s original 2008 decision to post seasonal no-parking signs within this Noyac community, known as Northampton Colony.

Since then, the parking restrictions — effective May 15 through September 15 — have been located along 2,000 feet of roadside on the easternmost portion of the avenue, where Noyac Bay Avenue dead-ends at a channel of water leading from Sag Harbor Bay to the Northampton Colony Yacht Club. At issue for some Northampton Colony residents it the fact that the street is wedged between a private beach club belonging to Northampton Colony residents (to the north) and a private marina (to the south).

The parking restrictions were sanctioned by the board after 28 residents cited issues of theft and public safety, referencing primarily fishing equipment that had been stolen from several boats kept in the marina.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the town has asked its police department to step-up patrols in the area.

Residents against such parking restrictions, however, have said the cause for concern is not theft, or even public safety — which they argue is hardly significant, there has only been one crime there reported to Southampton Town Police since 2008.

The issue for many is one of public access.

“The point of this discussion is whether all members [of the community at large] will continue to have unrestricted access at the ends of these little roads,” said long-time resident Joan Weingartner, who grew up in North Sea in the ‘30s and ‘40s. “These are places we visit to sit, to walk around the beach, to enjoy a lovely view.”

With parking restrictions, she continued, “some of the elderly are going to have to use a wheelchair to get down there.”

“They can’t be out surfing or swimming, but they can go down and look at the water,” Weingartner added. “And you’re taking that away from them.”

Those in opposition to the town’s decision to restrict parking included representatives from the Surf Rider Foundation and local grassroots organization Citizens for Access Rights (CfAR), which opposes designated private beaches on the East End. And almost a dozen residents spoke to the need for unrestricted access — many of whom urged the board to act beyond the compromised resolution brought before the town council that evening.

“I would like to know why the demands of 28 people are trumping the needs of 56,000 tax payers?” Noyac resident Lisina Ceresa queried.

Because the road is town-owned, she pressed the notion that all residents in the town of Southampton — whose town taxes are used to maintain town roads — have the right to use them.

“On a personal level, the idea that we as your government representatives are not here to safeguard public access is troublesome,” Supervisor Throne-Holst said. “We certainly heard the neighbors who are concerned about crime, and perhaps some safety issues. But we’ve attempted to find a compromise here.”

In addition to voting on that evening’s resolution, Throne-Holst made a motion to schedule another public hearing in July to address lifting the parking ban entirely. She said the discussion would continue as long as there are concerns. And there are still grey areas in this case.

“The right to public access is something that we all value greatly,” said Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, speaking for all members of the board. “But we need to get some clarification from the trustees regarding the ownership of this particular beach.”

According to the Dongan Patent of 1686, which puts all waters in the town of Southampton under the care of the town trustees on behalf of the residents, the trustees have the right of “pass and re-pass.” In other words, even if the shores along the private beach club belong to those in Northampton Colony, the citizens of the town “would still have the ability to go back and forth on that beach.”

Northampton Yacht Club Harbor Master Larry Trullo told the board that the majority of the shoreline along the edge of Noyac Bay Avenue is privately owned.

“Everyone keeps referring to this as a beach, but there is no beach here,” he said. “The town owns maybe 50 feet.”

However, Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said she believed the area does constitute as a beach, and Throne-Holst added: “It’s not for you or anyone else to decide whether it’s good access or bad access.”

“It’s a waterfront community, it’s why we’re all here,” Malone continued. Restricting that access for the members of the Town of Southampton, he added, does “a grave injustice” to the entire community.

The town will re-visit this subject and consider lifting the no-parking ban entirely at a town board meeting July 12.

Conservative Party Opts Out of Supporting Kabot

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In a stunning turn of events, the Southampton Town Conservative Committee announced on Friday, July 24, that it wouldn’t back current town surpervisor Linda Kabot in her bid for reelection. The group had previously supported Jim Malone as their pick for supervisor, but last week Malone opted to run for a town council seat instead.
“After careful consideration we concluded we did not have a viable second choice after Jim [Malone] decided to step aside. Unlike the GOP who had a back up with Republican Supervisor Linda Kabot, we did not have another Conservative in the wings that we could put forward. Looking across the political spectrum we did not see another candidate we were comfortable extending the privilege of our Wilson Pikula to,” said Susan Heckman, the party treasurer, in a press release distributed on Friday.
Kabot will still have the nod of the town’s GOP, but of the loss of the Conservative Committee nod she said in a release on Sunday, July 26, “I do not know who is calling the shots behind the scenes, but I know it is not the Suffolk County Conservative Chair Ed Walsh in this instance. I have my suspicions that Republican Committee Chairman Marcus Stinchi and former Town Supervisor Skip Heaney have a hand in this high stakes poker game and the obvious delay tactics. This is disappointing and very telling. In politics, one must always watch one’s back and also be prepared to counter-act such political maneuvers.”
Only last Monday, Kabot announced securing both the Republican and Conservative nominations for the general elections in November. It appeared the parties reshuffled their ballots in order to circumvent a primary between Malone and Kabot. In a recent statement released by Kabot, she asserts that Malone failed to file the necessary paperwork with the Suffolk County Board of Elections in time for Kabot to receive the supervisor nomination of the Conservative Party.
“I began smelling a rat when there were several unanswered phone calls and emails to Jim Malone over the course of July 22 and 23,” stated Kabot in the release.

Heckman noted that Jim Malone is the Chairman of the party, but took a leave of absence from the position when he first announced his intent to run for the supervisor position.
“As such [Malone] was neither part of these deliberations or the vote of the executive committee to not fill this vacancy,” contended Heckman.
“We are happy to see that a needless and costly Republican primary has been avoided. Most importantly we are thrilled to see that Councilman Chris Nuzzi and now Council candidate Jim Malone will have the opportunity to run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines,” reported Heckman.
Kabot, however, called the move a “betrayal of trust” and said, “Trust, honesty and communication are key to ensure teamwork and a united front.”