Tag Archive | "Noyac Road"

Arlene Schroeder’s Inn Makes it Easier

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Arlene Schroeder in front of her house, the Edgemere Inn. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Tucked away on a quiet private drive off of Noyac Road in North Sea, Arlene Schroeder and her West Highland terrier, Hazel, prepare to welcome guests to their home, The Edgemere Inn—a bed and breakfast for the physically challenged.

Ms. Schroeder had worked for the state as a service coordinator for the developmentally disabled for the majority of her professional life when, at the age of 45, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“Until you’re disabled, or in a wheelchair, you have no idea,” she said on Monday, 19 years since her diagnosis. Many hotels, she explained, are not easily navigated by wheelchair-bound patrons. Even restaurants that advertise themselves as being wheelchair-accessible frequently have one step between the entrance and the dining room, which Ms. Schroeder said, “can be like a mountain.”

A native of Hicksville, Ms. Schroeder spent childhood summers at her aunt and uncle’s beachfront house on Edgemere Drive in Southampton.  Her aunt and uncle would sail their boat to Mystic, she said, while she and her grandmother would escape to the house overlooking Little Peconic Bay. Her grandmother, not a fan of the sand or sun, would stay inside while a 10-year-old Ms. Schroeder would explore the surrounding beaches and wilderness.

Ms. Schroeder was “very close” to her aunt and uncle, who left her the house in their will some 10 years ago. After working for the state for 27 years, Ms. Schroeder retired.

“I retired because I felt I wasn’t giving my consumers, the taxpayers enough,” she said. “And I felt it wasn’t fair to the consumers I was working with.

So Ms. Schroeder moved into the house she had summered in as a girl and began to make changes to it. Doors were widened, floors leveled and ramps installed in order to make the rooms of the house wheelchair accessible.

Ms. Schroeder did some of the work for preparing for progression of multiple sclerosis. The disease, the cause of which is still unknown, attacks the nervous system, progressively disrupting the communication between the brain and body.  Two weeks ago Ms. Schroeder got a new motorized wheelchair that she now has started using around the house, “I don’t like being in a wheelchair,” she said. “But I like the ease with which I can get around now.”

The real driving force behind the remodeling, though, was to open up a bed and breakfast on the water for the physically challenged. Four years ago, Ms. Schroeder got her 501c4, status as a not-for-profit. She is now applying for her 501c3, which would change her status to a nonprofit. If accepted, that would mean that she would not have to pay any taxes if she were to turn a profit. “I haven’t made a profit yet,” she added.

But making money is by no means her goal, anyway. Ms. Schroeder strives to create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere for those who have difficulty getting away. “I tried to make it like a bed and breakfast, not like a hospital room,” she said in one of the four bedrooms in her house (one is her own room, one is not quite ready for paying guests, she said.)

The rooms are large, airy and have the desired feel of a small bed and breakfast. Only small details distinguish them from those in any other inn. But those small details, Ms. Schroeder said, are all crucial.

Her hallways and doorways all had to be widened from 24 inches to 36 inches to enable wheelchairs to pass through. Her showers have been redone to allow them to fit wheelchairs—one bathroom has a seat in it to allow guests to move themselves from their chairs into the shower.

“I made some mistakes,” said Ms. Schroeder, pointing up at the bathroom mirrors from her wheelchair. She explained that she needed to have them tilted down, to allow her guests to see themselves while seated.

But those mistakes are not stopping her. Ms. Schroeder continues to expand and improve the Edgemere Inn. At a fundraising event at the Southampton Social Club on Saturday, June 28, the not-for-profit received donations that will go toward funding new projects.

Among these are an outdoor shower, a ramp down to the beach and an elevated garden. “What I would like to do, is to have raised gardens so that people can pick flowers, if they want to, or strawberries, or tomatoes,” she said pointing to part of her 1.2-acre property.

But the most valuable donation she received on Saturday, she said, was a woman’s offer to volunteer at the inn for 20 hours a week. “That really meant the most to me,” she said.

Her customers are not just the physically challenged in need of respite, she explained, but can be those who come to visit family who do not have wheelchair-friendly homes.

Last summer, Ms. Schroeder had a guest who had not been able to visit her sister in Sag Harbor because her son’s cerebral palsy had drastically limited the number of places they could stay.

“People can have their families come meet them here too,” she said.

Noyac Civic Council Grants Scholarships, Talks Traffic

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May Evjen, left, and Sara Bucking, this year’s recipients of Noyac Civic Council scholarships. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Michael Zarro was met with traffic questions, requests and complaints from concerned citizens at a Noyac Civic Council meeting on Tuesday, June 10.

Lt. Zarro, who will celebrate his 26th year as a member of the force next month, attended the meeting, he said, to find out “what you as a community think is the problem.”

Trucks and speeding, it turns out, are the two main concerns among the residents who attended, and there is no simple solution in sight.

Several Noyackers complained about loud construction and concrete trucks barreling down the hamlet’s quiet, predominantly residential streets starting at 6 a.m. every weekday. Residents insisted that the trucks drive so much faster than the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit, that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for them to drive around their neighborhood. “You can’t get out of your driveway!” one woman said.

Lt. Zarro said that knowing what specific time to target will help with traffic calming in the area.

One resident suggested that the Southampton Town Police Department station three officers at various spots along Noyac Road at 6 a.m. every day for a month. Lt. Zarro did not think that that would be a possibility but did inform the room that Lieutenant James Kiernan, also of the town police department, will provide more traffic enforcement for the road.

Due to the closure of several bars in Hampton Bays that required police patrols, police officers who previously worked on the busy weekend night during the summer season will now have more time to enforce Noyac speed limits, said Lt. Zarro.

One resident asked if adding traffic lights would help to alleviate the situation, but Lt. Zarro said that he didn’t believe so, “I don’t think they’ll slow traffic down, either,” he said. The stopping and starting of trucks creates also more noise than their passing by, it was explained.

Ralph DiSpigna expressed concern over conflicting figures he was given about the number of traffic accidents on Noyac Road. When he asked the Southampton Town Police, he was told that there had been five accidents in five years. He was told by the Southampton Town Highway Department, however, that there had been 21 in the same time frame. Lt. Zarro said he would investigate this further and get back to him.

The lieutenant emphasized the importance of reporting accidents and instances of speeding to the police department at the time that they occur. He added that a report must be filed for the specific case to go on record.

The police officer also discussed the dangers of telephone scams warning the crowd how professional the scammers can be. A press release authorized by Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa on June 9 was handed out and described three scams to be particularly worried about: the relative in jail scam, where the caller claims to need money to bail the victim’s relative out of jail; the IRS tax warrant scam, in which the caller claims to be an agent from IRS about a past due balance; and the jury duty scam, where the caller pretends to be a police or warrant officer demanding payment of a fine.

Lt. Zarro warned everyone to stay vigilant and never to give out personal information over the phone or the Internet.

During the meeting, Bob Malafronte gave a progress report on East Hampton Airport’s Noise Abatement Committee. Mr. Malafronte is one of only two committee members from Southampton. “They are making incredible progress,” he said, despite the fact that both flights and noise complaints are up this year.

Mr. Malafronte added, “We’re going for a complete helicopter ban. Other things will come up later, but for now it’s just helicopters.” He suggested that residents call the airport every time that they are disrupted by helicopter or plane noise. “I know that your efforts have gotten us some recognition,” he told the room.

President Elena Loreto presented the 2014 scholarship winners, Sara Bucking and May Evjen, both of Pierson High School. Sara has volunteered at East End Hospice’s Camp Good Grief, the Southampton Historical Society and the Easter Bonnet Parade. She plans to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, in the fall. May is a volunteers at the Southampton Presbyterian Church and the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. She will attend American University in the fall where she will major in communications and media studies.

“She hopes to make films,” said Ms. Loreto. “I hope she makes one about the Noyac Civic Council. I’m sure it’ll be a horror film.”

Noyac Road Work Temporarily Disconnected

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Verizon workers were back on the job on Noyac Road this week.       Stephen J. Kotz

By Stephen J. Kotz

The presence of a Verizon crew on Noyac Road in front of Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone gift shop this week was a welcome, if overdue, sight to Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor.

The telephone company’s crews “pulled out of the job last week on Tuesday afternoon [April 22] and never had the courtesy to tell us,” said Mr. Gregor on Friday. Mr. Gregor said he had first been told Verizon would not be able to finish its work, splicing wires and moving poles, until the end of June, jeopardizing the completion this summer of a project intended to make that stretch of Noyac Road safer.

After applying pressure on the phone company, Mr. Gregor said he had since been told that crews would be able to finish their portion of the work by the end of this month, which would still cause a serious delay in the project.

“We need two months to get the job done” after the poles are moved, he said. If Verizon’s crews don’t get their part of the project done in a timely fashion, Mr. Gregor said, “we may just have to wait until fall” to repave the road. “We’re going to see what the timing is to see if we can do some of the work now and do some of the work after Labor Day,” he added.

Last month, the highway superintendent told the Noyac Civic Council that he wanted to get the project done by the end of June to avoid disrupting traffic after school lets out and mobs of summer visitors descend on the South Fork, but that that timeframe depended on the phone company completing its work by the first week of May.

“We know in July and August you don’t want to be on the main roads doing construction,” he said this week.

As it is, after Memorial Day, assuming paving crews are able to get started, work will be suspended on Fridays and Mondays to avoid creating more tie-ups as weekend traffic increases with the arrival of the summer season.

The highway superintendent said he had been told Verizon workers had been pulled from the project because their supervising engineer retired at the end of the month, but he said the real reason was because Verizon “wanted us to pay for their time and equipment,” something the town refused to do, as part of the road project.

On Tuesday, Linda Heine, the owner of the Whalebone and a long-time opponent of the project, said the work has not caused traffic problems—yet.  She said even though both the road the parking areas in front of the businesses will be widened, there will be problems because access to store parking will be limited to driveways at either end of the business block. When delivery trucks block one end of the parking area, a common occurrence, she said, traffic will be backed up.

“There’s not enough room to effect the kind of change they want,” she said. “I hope and I pray it’s going to be a nice thing, but I’m not counting on it.”

Mr. Gregor said it was time to get to work. ‘We have gone so far,” he said. “It’s time to execute the project.”

 

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.