Tag Archive | "Noyac Road"

Letters to the Editor (2/28/13)

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Effect of Airport Noise

Dear Editor,

The complexities of manmade borders have always been problematic to some degree on the East End; but with recent population/commercial expansion, some border issues have escalated into serious multi-town crises. I am referring to the East Hampton Airport noise control controversy and who gets to decide what amount of noise pollution is acceptable to homeowners other than the homeowners themselves. Shockingly the East Hampton Town government pays no heed to the greater East End area surrounding the airport and furthermore that what they decide about the future of the airport affects only them. They need to hear from Southampton residents that helicopter noise is intolerable and that all flights in and out of the airport need thoughtful community-minded noise abatement management. And to all Southampton residents, you may be unaffected by these hourly sonic boom shockwaves right now, but when property values start to fall as a result, it will certainly affect us all.

John N Linder

Sag Harbor

 

Rallying for Safety

Dear Editor:

We like safety. We, neighbors in Noyac, are deeply invested in seeing a safe, smart solution to the mess in the Cromer’s / Whalebone parking area that bleeds onto Noyac Road, and now, if plan 7A is implemented, will instead bleed into Pine Neck. In the quiet months before seasonal influx of visitors hungry for summer fun, we can vividly imagine the rumblings of back hoes and cement mixers revving up, and while we chat on the street or in the Noyac Civic Council meetings or in the Southampton Town Hall or over coffee at Cromers, we discuss the alarming calming-one-safety-problem-while-creating-another-problem plan for Noyac Road known as plan 7A. And though it may appear that the deed is done and the opportunity to de-fund the Noyac Traffic Calming “solution” (good luck to those new to the project who will try to dig up plan 7A online) has passed with only an ineffectual Memorializing Resolution issued, we still sense opportunity.

There’s opportunity to know our neighbors and their concerns, to understand the diverse Pine Neck community of ‘year-rounders’ and garner support for amending this plan. Some of us have lived many places, some of us grew up here and stayed, all of us appreciate the rare ‘untouched’ nature of Circle Beach and the boardwalk-like approach to it via Noyac Avenue. This is a diverse neighborhood economically and politically,  a neighborhood of artists, musicians, former CEOs and tradesmen, of dog walkers ambling and first time bike riders pushing off, and parents watching from a distance their child’s first strides of independence while pretending not to watch, because it’s safe.

There’s opportunity to stand up for a broader consideration of safety that includes Pine Neck pedestrians and Noyac Road bike riders, and to see Noyac neighbors coalesce around challenging the excessive expenditures of tax-payer dollars in an overblown plan that compromises the character of a neighborhood without due consideration of environmental impact and pedestrian/bike commuting safety. We can take a step back and do the proper studies that include environmental impact review (SEQR) and make informed choices.

There’s opportunity still to seek efficient, lasting solutions with the community and with Superintendent Alex Gregor, who, though it may be the 11th hour, has graciously met with a few neighbors recently to discuss the ‘concept’ renderings, and who concedes there have been less disruptive (to Pine Neck) plans developed that were shelved. Make no mistake Mr. Gregor is behind the current plan and will be seeking a bid and he has the last word as the project is funded. But I for one left the meeting feeling that he is a good man with a bad plan, and that this push forward has more to do with battle fatigue, and resistance from commercial interests, than with what’s best for Noyac. We remain convinced that there is still opportunity to reach out for public support for a win-win solution, one that addresses the big picture of Noyac’s evolution towards street safety and recreational flow, and hopefully opportunity to undo the mischaracterization of Pine Neck residents as self-serving resistors to a safe solution. I’m proud to see my neighbors are part of the solution and not part of the problem, part of the smart solution, that is.

Respectfully,

Susan Bachemin

Noyac

 

Show Up

 

Dear Bryan,

In his recent letter, the Sag Harbor PBA President wrote that I have an “agenda,” but did not explain what he thinks my agenda is concerning the PBA, contracts, and local government. In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. PBA President, what is my agenda?

It is now one month later and still no reply to my simple request to be informed by the PBA President as to what my “agenda” is regarding police unions. I am not surprised, but no matter.

On Saturday, March 9th at 10 a.m. come hear me make my case. I have secured the Pierson High School auditorium and paid for the liability insurance to host this event.  Hey, the least you can do is show up. If nothing else, it will be great theater.

Bottom line….I’m putting myself  “out there” on behalf of local governments across Long Island versus the tyranny of police unions and their destruction of our communities. Because I love government and because I accept our individual responsibility to it, I will have done my part. All you need to do is show up.

Bill Jones

Hampton Bays

 

 

 

Southampton Town Halts Major Traffic Calming Plan for Noyac Road; Looks Towards Smaller Steps

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By Amy Patton

Hoping for a measure by the Southampton Town Board to remove funding previously earmarked for a major traffic calming project on Noyac Road, a group of concerned residents were instead served up a plan of compromise by the Southampton Town Board on Tuesday.

And more than a few in attendance weren’t too happy about it.

The board agreed to what it called a “memorializing” resolution. It would, in part, urge the Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor to consider “phasing in” safety improvements on the busy section of Noyac Road that fronts Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone General Store in the Pine Neck neighborhood in Noyac.

In 2011, Southampton Town’s budget allocated $450,000 in funds for the highway department to direct a complete reconstruction of that section of Noyac Road which abuts the two commercially-zoned properties of the popular store and market. It included a plan to divert traffic onto Bay Avenue and Elm Street, and, in addition, called for the widening of Noyac Road and the installation of a raised center median.

Since the project was initially proposed, many locals have bristled at what they consider an unwanted and drastic solution to the traffic problems, speeding and congestion in the area.

Noyac Civic Council (NCC) member Chuck Neuman, the self-described “president emeritus” of the organization, said he had problems with the board’s “fuzzy logic” regarding traffic remediation.

“We ask you to please stop paying lip service to this and take some action,” said Neuman.

One thing the board and members of the NCC did agree upon is Noyac Road is currently a safety hazard. The subject had councilwoman Bridget Fleming — who lives in Pine Neck — characterizing the stretch as “fatally dangerous” several times during the meeting.

“With this memorializing resolution, we are sending a very clear message to both our highway superintendent and this community,” said Supervisor Throne-Holst.

A “phased-in” approach to the situation, she said, would consider front-line traffic calming measures such as rumble strips, restriping, increased signage and stepped-up police patrolling in the area; without allowing for a complete reconstruction of the roadway.

The supervisor stressed completely removing the town budget money slated for what is titled as the “Noyac Road Realignment Project,” is not the right solution for both the town and the Noyac community.

“By defunding this plan,” Throne-Holst said, “it would take away the ability to have further conversations with the highway department about the matter. That would just ensure that other projects in the area don’t get done.”

She did urge patience to those in attendance at the meeting, adding that the highway department is currently “extremely busy” working to clean up and repair some of the town’s roads, many of which were severely impacted by damage from Superstorm Sandy and last weekend’s blizzard.

Those in the affected community, though, expressed disappointment about what they considered to be a watered-down compromise offered by the board.

The Whalebone’s co-owner Linda Heine also expressed concern about the “breakdown’ in communication between the NCC and the town’s highway department head Gregor.

“I’m hoping that we can all work together on this,” she said. “Everyone is aware of the safety hazards there and we all want change. Change is good. But a change of this magnitude is not good for a community as small as Noyac.”

Throne-Holst and other board members acknowledged that communication needs to be improved between Gregor and the people who will potentially be impacted by any road project in the area.

“[With this resolution], we’re sending a very clear message to our highway superintendent and our community,” said Supervisor Throne-Holst.

But, the supervisor added, “This is as much as we can do today. My hope is that we can come to some understanding on this matter. Your objections, be assured, have been heard loud and clear.”

Put Brakes on “Jake”

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By Amanda Wyatt

Elena Loreto, the president of the Noyac Civil Council, is enjoying a quiet moment gardening in her backyard. But in the middle of snipping some fresh flowers, her solace is interrupted by what sounds like a machine gun.

Of course, she knows it’s not a weapon. It’s merely another truck on nearby Noyac Road, using its “Jake brakes” to slow down around a curve. And for Loreto, this is an everyday occurrence.

“I am one block from Noyac Road, and I’m one block away from Trout Pond,” she explained. “I’m right at that curve. On an ordinary day, I hear the trucks using these brakes on Noyac Road. There’s no denying it. If they’re using them, I’ll hear them when I’m in my backyard. If I’m sitting on my deck, I’ll hear them. If my windows are open, I’ll hear them.”

With any luck, Loreto may find her street a bit quieter in the coming months, as the Southampton Town Highway Department takes new measures to prevent “Jake braking” and cope with other traffic concerns on Noyac Road.

For several weeks, a “no Jake braking” sign has been posted on Noyac Road, put in place by the town’s Superintendent of Highways, Alex Gregor.

“Little signs don’t work, so I got a big, in-your-face electronic billboard that I borrowed from the County Department of Public Works,” he said in an interview this week.

“What we’re asking is for the trucks to consider [on] the 9, 10 or 11 miles of Noyac Road that they don’t use their engine brake — that’s what a “Jake brake” is,” explained Gregor. “It’s an electric switch that makes the engine brake itself, rather than just depending on the brakes. But it does increase the noise level and it’s a residential area.”

Loreto recalled that this issue came up at a meeting in the spring, when Noyac residents met with local officials at a public forum to discuss problems on the road.

She also worried that using Jake brakes might mean that the truckers were speeding to begin with.

“If they’re doing the speed limit, which is 30 to 35, there’s probably no need for them to use these Jake brakes,” she claimed.

Gregor agreed that speeding was a major issue.

“Without a doubt, one of the biggest problems from noise, whether commercial or regular cars, is the excessive speeds,” he said.

There is currently no fine for “Jake braking” on Noyac Road, as there are in some parts of the country. However, Gregor hoped that local government officials would take his lead and ban the brakes as part of their town code.

At the same time, he also expressed his hope that truck drivers would stop “Jake braking” as a sign of courtesy to Noyac residents. Otherwise, he feared, there could be a larger effort to ban trucks from Noyac Road altogether. This would force trucks to travel on smaller back roads or already crowded main drags like Montauk Highway and Scuttlehole Road.

“No one [in Noyac] wants to stop their refrigerator from being delivered or a FedEx truck,” noted Loreto. “Our interest is getting a lot of the extra vehicles off Noyac Road that don’t belong here — the ones not making the local deliveries.”

In addition to “Jake braking,” Gregor is also planning to “upgrade the signage” on the road, warning drivers of upcoming bends and curves. He also hopes to put up additional signs showing how many accidents there have been on a particular stretch of the road within a given time.

For example, he noted, there have been a staggering 47 accidents near the Whalebone General Store and Cromer’s Country Market in the past three years alone. There has been an “extreme increase” in accidents in general, said Gregor, many caused by speeding.

Gregor said he has also been in talks with Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson, who said that they would ramp up radar enforcement on Noyac Road to the best of their ability.

“I’m hoping that they’ll saturate the area for two to three weeks,” he said. “I don’t really know any other way to slow people down.

Town Considers Limiting Truck Size On Noyac Rd.

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By Claire Walla

When it comes down to it, 10,000 pounds isn’t really that much.

Sedans, SUVs and light-duty pick-up trucks would make the cut. But, according to Southampton Town Traffic Coordinator Tom Neely, heavy-duty pick-ups, larger vans, dump trucks and tractor-trailers would have to go.

That was cause for concern for many who came to Town Hall speak out on the issue of banning vehicles over 10,000 pounds at a Southampton Town Board meeting on Tuesday, April 24.

The proposed legislation, put forth by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, would effectively prohibit vehicles over 10,000 pounds from driving along Noyac Road between County Road 39 and the Village of Sag Harbor. A few exemptions would include school buses and vehicles doing business on Noyac Road.

The legislation was put together in an effort to further address traffic-calming measures, which have been hotly debated for years with regard to Noyac Road, specifically the curve that runs along Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone Gift Store.

Discussions have mainly revolved around road repairs, like installing a concrete median or adding striping to get cars to slow down. But at a community meeting last month, which was attended by over 100 Noyac residents and every member of the Southampton Town Board, a couple of people brought up the ban.

“We were thinking about fuel-delivery trucks, ones that seem to use [Noyac Road] as a thoroughfare rather than a delivery route,” Throne-Holst said. She added that the major threat comes from the large trucks that tend to use Noyac Road to bypass traffic on Montauk Highway, and proceed to speed through the bayside hamlet.

“There’s risk and danger for oncoming traffic,” she said. Let alone the noise factor.

“The noise is significant,” said Bill Reilly, who lives on Oak Drive near Noyac Road.  He explained that because road conditions have improved over the years, it’s effectively increased the amount of traffic caused by large trucks.  While banning all trucks over 10,000 pounds might not be the solution—Reilly admitted that vehicles prohibited from driving down Noyac Road would just travel elsewhere—he said, “we’ve got a significant problem.”

However, the legislation, as it now stands, may have some unintended consequences, as members of the Sag Harbor community pointed out on Tuesday.

“If you took the trucks off Noyac Road, my opinion is that you would also increase the speed on Noyac Road,” said Mickey Valcich of garbage-collection company Mickey’s Carting.

East Hampton Highway Supervisor Steve Lynch added that prohibiting certain vehicles from using Noyac Road would add time onto their routes, which would be costly in the long-run.

John Tintle, who owns and operates the Sand Land Corporation, which has a facility on Mill Stone Road, agreed.

“The unintended consequences passed on to the tax payers would be enormous,” she said. Tintle explained that he already charges higher prices for deliveries that are further away because of fuel costs. By averting Noyac Road, and thus adding extra time onto truck routes, he said costs would inevitably rise.

And they would not only rise for those living in Southampton Town.

Jay Card, superintendent of highways for Shelter Island, and Jim Dougherty, Shelter Island Town Supervisor, both spoke out on the issue, saying it would make commuting on and off the island for commercial trucks very difficult.

“It would essentially cause us to go all the way to East Hampton to get back to Montauk Highway,” Card said.

“We basically think that in a soft economy like this, this is no time to be burdening our residents with additional costs,” Dougherty said.

Neely explained that the town used the 10,000-pound benchmark only because it had used that measurement in the past. He further noted that this would prohibit F350 trucks and Ram 3500 trucks from taking Noyac Road.

“If this were to go forward, looking at heavier weights would be something we’d want to put out there,” he said.

The other big issue is enforcement, a topic many speakers brought up.

Neely explained that in order enforce the law, police officers would be responsible for pulling vehicles over and physically checking the inside of the passenger door, where the maximum weight is listed. Officers would also be responsible for checking any documentation the driver might have to prove he or she is making a local delivery or service call.

“You would have to put a number of vehicles on that road to do enforcement,” said Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano. “And I guarantee that once you put this into effect, you’re going to get a lot of calls [from people saying], ‘there’s a truck on Noyac Road, do something about it.’”

Throne-Holst said she recognized there were many concerns, particularly for the business community. And while she said the town does not have accurate statistics on just how many of the vehicles that drive down Noyac Road are large trucks, she suggested the town put together a study in order to secure that information.

“In the end, we need some sort of understanding of what the actual traffic looks like there,” she said, adding that this is just one component of what she hopes will be a bigger plan. “What this town needs to do is a comprehensive truck route.”

The board closed the public hearing on Tuesday, but has opened up a 30-day comment period on the proposed legislation.

Truck Stop

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There are few who would argue with the fact that there is a problem on Noyac Road.

A sliver of roadway once created for commuters to get between Southampton and Sag Harbor, the road has become much more significant for cars regularly traveling the length of the East End. It is often used as a zippy alternative to Montauk Highway, meaning speeding autos and commercial truck traffic are regular fixtures on this bayside artery.

For years residents have complained of increased traffic. Noyac Road, the main thruway for a relatively small community primarily comprised of homes, has become a by-way for an influx of vehicles, large and small. It’s annoying and dangerous to residents. And it’s also physically damaging to that road.

The road was not designed for incessant truck traffic. The noise is obnoxiously close to many residences, sure, but the weight of those vehicles digs into the pavement and causes more unnecessary cracks and blisters than the highway department can regularly keep up with.

We’re happy to hear Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has been proactive in putting forth legislation that would ban commercial truck traffic on Noyac Road. The proposed legislation would prohibit trucks over 10,000 pounds — except those vehicles with reason to be there, like school buses or delivery trucks making stops on or near Noyac Road — and subject any violators to traffic fines.

This is a measure that’s been talked about for years, and it’s something that should have been enacted a long time ago, as Noyac Road traffic is nothing new. Southampton Town will hold a public hearing on the matter on Tuesday, April 24 and we hope to hear many voices in support of this plan.

However, we urge the Southampton Town Board not to lose sight of the bigger issue at hand. There is a real problem with the curve in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone Gift Shop. We believe the ban on trucks on Noyac Road is a great way of addressing part of the problem, but it is in no way a silver bullet.

We’re pleased to see the town responded favorably to the wishes of Noyac residents at a community meeting two weeks ago and proceeded to back away from the extensive plan to totally transform the road in that area. (The handful of concrete medians, including a “loading zone” that blocks direct access to Bay Avenue, were a little too excessive.) And we’re eager to see more immediate measures being taken. Striping and/or rumble strips are a great way to initiate small steps toward change that the community, and the town at large, can begin to respond to.

At the same time, residents need to understand that anything the town does is going to change something. The hamlet is going to evolve whether residents want it to or not, and they have to be participants to help manage that change as best as possible.

What we really should be doing is making that road more pedestrian friendly, with bike lanes and sidewalks. Ultimately, we should not only work to ease the dangers that are so prevalent on that stretch of roadway, we should work to make Noyac Road even better than convention. But, that’s not possible without us first committing to some sort of change.

Again, there are few who would argue with the fact there is a problem on Noyac Road. ?But, it’s not going to get any better until we take decisive steps toward making that change.

Town Considers Banning Trucks on Noyac Road

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By Claire Walla

It’s not a panacea, but it’s a start.

When Noyac residents gathered two weeks ago at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center to discuss their distaste for the 2011 plan to calm traffic on Noyac Road, one of the many ideas tossed out from the crowd was a measure to limit commercial truck traffic on that strip of roadway between North Sea and Sag Harbor Village.

And at a Southampton Town board meeting last Tuesday, April 10, board members unanimously agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter. (This will take place Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m.)

The idea was pushed by a handful of people at that Noyac community meeting, but it’s an idea Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said goes back a good number of years.

“There’s just been such an explosion of traffic on that road,” she said.

The effort to limit trucks was brought about in earnest in 2004 when the town conducted a hamlet study of Noyac. In addition to the current traffic issues concentrated on the curl in the road near Cromer’s Market, the frequency of large, 18-wheeler trucks along the narrow, single-lane, shoulder-less roadway was of concern.

“When you live here, after a while you become blasé about it,” said Noyac resident Chuck Neuman, who is also the former president of the Noyac Civic Council. “But, when you think about it, it’s a quality of life issue. I live about 500 feet away from the road, and when [trucks] break, I hear it!”

According to the current draft of the law, the measure (if enacted) would ban all commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds that aren’t traveling Noyac Road for a pre-approved purpose. School busses and delivery trucks with designated stops on Noyac Road would be allowed, for example. But commercial trucks using Noyac Road as an alternative route to Highway 27 would be banned, and subject to fines.

Throne-Holst said the reason why this measure was largely overlooked in the past is because the original plan included the construction of weigh stations in order to regulate truck traffic. These would cost a pretty penny to implement, and the thought made many residents pessimistic of the town actually going through with putting such a structure in Noyac, or North Sea.

But Throne-Holst said the current plan is for this new law to be upheld by law enforcement.

In addition to the issue with weigh stations, Throne-Holst added that there was some skepticism surrounding the viability of a plan to enforce traffic restrictions without the town implementing a comprehensive, town-wide plan for traffic. While this is still waiting in the rafters of town hall, Throne-Holst said she hopes this might be the start of an effort to create a town-wide transportation plan. But, even so, she said Noyac Road is “well situated” for the proposed ban on commercial trucking.

According to town records, there are currently several roadways in the town of Southampton that limit commercial truck traffic—most of them small side roads—including Hildreth and Carroll streets streets in Sag Harbor. And, as Supervisor Throne-Holst pointed out, many smaller roads that lead in to Noyac Road currently impose trucking restrictions, which would make it a bit easier and even logical to regulate traffic on Noyac Road.

Noyac resident Linda Heine has been at the helm of efforts to control traffic out in front of Cromer’s Market. As the owner and operator of the Whalebone Gift Shop in that same shopping complex, Heine has held strong opinions of the various plans the town has put forth in an effort to take traffic-calming measures.

After expressing a deep dissatisfaction with the town’s most recently proposed effort to increase traffic safety near her store—plans which included cutting off access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road and creating several concrete medians—Heine said she was pleased the town seemed poised to scale back.

“I really appreciate the fact that Supervisor Throne-Holst was willing to re-think it and look at alternatives,” she said this week.

Of the concept of banning commercial truck traffic, Heine said, “it’s a very interesting thought.” She admitted the volume of large trucks on Noyac Road is an issue, even pointing out that in the span of just a few minutes last Tuesday morning, she counted four large trucks zoom passed her house, which sits on Noyac Road.

However, she admitted the issue is not at the forefront of her thoughts at the moment. She said she’s not sure the measure will directly affect the need for calming traffic.

“No matter what kind of vehicles you have on Noyac Road, the whole key to traffic-calming is slowing traffic down,” she said.

Back to the Drawing Board For Noyac Road

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Noyac Road, Tom Neely adjusted

By Claire Walla


“I think this is the largest community meeting of this kind that I have been to in my four-plus years in office,” exclaimed Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst as she looked out at more than 100 faces at a Noyac Civic Association meeting last Wednesday, March 28.

The public had turned out en masse at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center to weigh in on the town’s most recent version of a plan to reconstruct Noyac Road. Twenty-eight people spoke that evening, and all but one was adamantly opposed to the current 2011 plan detailing new traffic-calming measures to be implemented at the bend in the road near Cromer’s Market in Noyac.

Above: Southampton Town Director of Transportation Tom Neely addressed a packed house last Thursday at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center.

Complaints mostly hinged on the scale of the town’s blueprint, which most residents agreed was much too extreme for their bayside neighborhood.

“Of all the plans I’ve seen, this is about the worst,” said Ralph Dispigna. “If you want to destroy a neighborhood, this is the way to do it.”

Tony Lawless, who owns and operates Cromer’s Market, echoed most of the sentiments that night, saying the current plan would create more traffic, causing cars to drive into Pine Neck to avoid congestion.

“On any given day I could have three tractor-trailers pulling into here,” he said, pointing to the proposed parking lot, where the 2011 blueprint calls for a stop sign to be implemented. “Do we need tractor-trailers driving in here [Pine Neck] because they can’t get in here?”

He continued, “Elm Street is one of the narrowest roads in Pine Neck and you’re diverting all the traffic onto it.”

According to a survey drafted and tallied by the Noyac Civic Association (84 people responded to 350 surveys which were sent out) 56 percent of respondents said “No,” the 2011 plan does not accomplish its mission. And an even greater number of respondents, 65 percent, felt the plan would “change the rural character of Noyac.”

.Ultimately, when asked point blank whether they were in favor of the 2011 plan, 64 percent of respondents voted “No,” versus only 27 percent who voted “Yes.”

Noyac resident Jim Posner said he felt the town should “respect the survey.”

“We’re not engineers, but the surface of it shows that we’re against it,” he added.

Like many, he said speed bumps and stop signs — part of what he called “the ‘let’s take it easy’ approach” — would be a much better solution than concrete barriers.

“If we did step one, then we could see how it worked,” he continued, and if it doesn’t, “then we could go into a fancier plan.”

Ultimately, after listening to many reactions from community members, Throne-Holst submitted that the current plan would need to change.

“I think what we’re hearing first and foremost is that this is overkill,” she said. “We have to take a giant step backward.”

The effort to improve the bend in Noyac Road near Cromer’s was first established on a town-wide level eight years ago when a 2004 Hamlet Study identified the potential dangers on that stretch of pavement. A year later, the town’s first conceptual plan for reconstruction involved adding a concrete barrier between the road and a proposed parking area in front of the commercial businesses on the north side of the street.

The plan also called for blocking access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road, making it only accessible via Elm Street.

Six different iterations of the original plan surfaced over the years — all of them blown-up into large color posters, which peppered the walls of the Nutrition Center last week — the last of which seems to have brought on the most controversy.

The 2011 Conceptual Plan, like the original, proposes adding a concrete median between newly created parking spaces, in front of The Whalebone and Cromer’s Market, which wraps around Bay Avenue, cutting off direct access to the neighborhood. Like the original plan, cars would be forced to access Bay Avenue from Noyac Road by first turning onto Elm Street, then taking a right onto Bay.

Keith Schumann, who said he was representing the next generation of Noyac residents and just so happened to be a former traffic engineer, said he, too, believed the 2011 plan was too drastic.

This plan also requires cutting into the triangle-shaped property where Bay and Elm join — a piece of land belonging to Whalebone owner Linda Heine. Even though the town has drafted plans that build over that patch of dirt, Heine said last week that she was “offended” by the town’s intent to build over it.

“That piece of property is owned by my family,” she told the crowd. “I was told it wouldn’t be touched unless we wanted to give it away.” And, she said, they don’t. (Throne-Holst later stated that the triangular piece of land would not have to be touched in order to implement traffic-calming measures.)

Heine said she preferred the 2009 Plan over the 2011 iteration, saying it was much more “friendly.”

Resident John Anderson, who has lived in Noyac for 50 years, didn’t object to any of the statements made that night. Rather, he simply called for action.

“Sometimes, backing out of those spaces [at Cromer’s], you’ve gotta say your prayers!” he exclaimed.

“We’ve been talking about this problem off-and-on for 10 years,” he continued. “And I’ve seen faces here I’ve never seen before. My great concern is that we’re going to spend another 10 years talking about it.”

He paused before continuing, making his message was loud and clear.

“For crying out loud, let’s fix it,” he exclaimed, making no attempt to contain his passion. “Can the powers that be make some decisions?”

According to Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, the town is now hoping to implement striping, rumble strips or stop signs before the start of the summer season. While the supervisor is also exploring the idea of preventing commercial trucks from traversing Noyac Road, an idea some in the audience seemed to favor, he said this is something that would take a lot longer to implement and would require an additional public hearing and a resolution by the board.

Meeting to Discuss Traffic Calming By Cromer’s

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Noyac Road

By Claire Walla


Business owners have protested, residents have called for action and grass-roots organizations have entered the fray.

The small curve of Noyac Road that runs by Cromer’s Market has divided both the community and the Southampton Town board for more than six years, as plans to implement traffic-calming measures have continually been re-shaped and redefined in an attempt to satisfy all needs.

And while not all parties can seem to come up with a viable plan to suit everyone’s desires, those involved can at least agree on one thing: something needs to be done.

This overarching goal is the impetus behind a meeting next Wednesday, March 28, where all parties will get one last chance to come to the same table to be heard.

Hosted jointly by Southampton Town and the Noyac Civic Council, the meeting will bring together town personnel — like Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor — as well as residents and local groups with a vested interest in the reconstruction project.

To prepare for the discussion, Noyac Civic Council President Elena Loreto said she sent a survey to 359 Noyackers in an effort to solicit their thoughts on the matter. The survey included five questions related to the most recent construction plan, which was proposed by Gregor in 2011. In a nutshell, that plan includes installing two concrete medians in Noyac Road, as well as creating a concrete barrier between the road and the parking area in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone gift shop.

The survey questions are as follows:

Do you feel the 2011 plan accomplishes its mission?

Do you feel this plan will change the rural character on Noyac?

Do you feel this plan will adversely affect the businesses in terms of traffic flow, accessibility for patrons and accessibility for delivery trucks?

Do you feel this plan will adversely affect home owners bordering the construction area [in Pine Neck]?

Are you in favor of this plan?

The questions are all yes/no, however Loreto said there is a section at the end of the survey where people were invited to offer any additional comments on the plan. As of last week, she said she had received 44 completed surveys back, though she expects to receive more before the meeting.

“It looks like everyone wants something done, but most people do not think this plan will succeed for various reasons,” Loreto said of the survey results thus far, which will be kept anonymous. “People seem to favor trying something in increments.”

Rather than constructing concrete medians, she said some residents are more in favor of using striping to calm traffic. And, she added, many residents are concerned with the proposed “loading zone” created in the 2011 plan. According to the design, the concrete barrier separating the commercial parking area from Noyac Road would essentially extend over Bay Avenue where it meets up with Elm Street, thereby cutting-off access to Bay Avenue from Noyac Road.

“People are fearful that that might funnel traffic into Pine Neck,” Loreto continued. “They don’t want anything that’s too severe.”

At a town board meeting last month, Alex Gregor pushed the need for more permanent traffic-calming measures, saying concrete barriers are necessary for safety. He noted how dangerous that stretch of Noyac Road is, particularly because cars back out of parking spaces into on-coming traffic, and the union of Bay and Elm streets at that Noyac curve essentially creates 20 potential “conflict points.”

Also voicing some concern with the construction project is the local organization SpokesPeople, which sees this as an opportunity to increase bike safety in the area.

According to group member Mike Bottini, SpokesPeople’s main concern is making sure the construction plan allows for bike lanes on either side of the highway. With the current plan only allowing for 11-foot-wide traffic lanes on either side of the road — in addition to a left-hand turn lane — Bottini said SpokesPeople will push to get at least eight more feet added to the road for bike safety, creating two four-foot bike lanes going in each direction.

Of course, he added, implementing bike lanes at this section of Noyac Road begs the question: What’s it going to connect to?

That’s yet to be determined.

“But, you’ve gotta start somewhere,” he said.

With the town recently having adopted a Complete Streets policy, Bottini said this will be the start of more comprehensive bike and pedestrian accessibility in Southampton Town.

“Hopefully, one day we can make the connection from Cromer’s to Long Beach.”

The Noyac Civic Council meeting about Noyac Road will take place Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike.

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.

Party’s Over: Town Shuts House

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2210 Noyac Rd. adjusted

By Claire Walla

The house had been on the town’s radar since last summer, said Southampton Town Chief Investigator David Betts. He had received numerous noise complaints and several reports of overcrowding at the Noyac Road home, just south of the fork where Noyac and Deerfield Roads meet.

To get to the bottom of the issue, last Sunday, July 24 Betts executed a search warrant and discovered 25 people had been staying in the house — all on a short-term basis. Both circumstances violate Southampton Town code.

According to investigators, the house has a certificate of occupancy for six legal bedrooms.

“So, you’re probably talking about [a maximum occupancy] of eight to 10 people,” Betts explained.

However, upon inspection, investigators discovered that the basement had been illegally converted into four bedroom spaces and a separate living area had been fashioned above the garage. That space was discovered to have been used by two people who were not part of the larger group leasing the house this past weekend.

The homeowners, Muhammad and Anessa Raham of New York City, have been charged with several town code violations in the wake of this weekend’s investigation. They include: no rental permit, operation of a transient rental, excessive vehicles, no building permit, no smoke detectors (two counts), no carbon monoxide detectors (three counts) and change of use (two counts).

Betts said this weekend’s investigation comes after 12 complaints were recorded in 2010 and eight so far reported this year. The complaints range from excessive noise and overcrowding, to the construction of a sand volleyball court built on the property without a permit, as well as reports of the Noyac facility being used to host a prom after-party.

The property at 2210 Noyac Road is currently listed on several real estate sites as a seven-bedroom rental. According to Corcoran, it has “a spectacular great room and a finished lower level with a separate apartment.” (The listing also indicates that the location is currently rented.)

On streeteasy.com, the same property is priced at $20,000 for the month of June and $45,000 for the month of July, although short-term rental (for an unspecified period of time) is also available for $4,000. (This website also indicates the property is “no longer available as of four months ago.”)

Even though short-term rentals have become relatively commonplace on the East End, as it is a popular waterfront vacation destination, leasing property for less than 30 days is illegal in Southampton Town. Betts explained that homeowners can lawfully lease property for 30 days or more, but only after having received a permit from the town.

All 25 guests this past weekend were reportedly leaving the facility that day. But, authorities say the property had been booked solid for the entire summer.

Now that charges have been pressed against the homeowners, Betts said the house is permitted to be occupied by the family or even by renters, but can only be made available for the “shortest term lease” (30 days). And in that case, the Rahmans would need a permit.