Tag Archive | "southampton village"

Judge’s Airport Decision Expected Friday

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Takeoff and landing activity at the East Hampton Town Airport on May 22nd, 2015

The East Hampton Town Board has postponed enacting airport restrictions until Judge Joanna Seybert makes her decision on a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, which she said she would do this Friday. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

 Many residents from Manhattan to Montauk are awaiting the Friday decision of U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert, who said she would rule on a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by members of the aviation industry against the Town of East Hampton.

The town board has so far held off implementing three historic airport restrictions it adopted in April out of respect for the judicial process, but, both times that the judge has postponed her decision, the town board has released statements saying it “remains confident that it will prevail in the litigation.”

Just days after the town board adopted two curfews and a restriction on the number of permitted operations by noisy aircraft at the East Hampton Airport during the summer, a group of helicopter operators and their allies filed two suits and a request for a temporary restraining order against the town. One of the suits claimed the town didn’t have the authority to enact the three restrictions, while another said that the new rules would cause irreparable injury to the airport, the large helicopter charter companies and local aviators.

On the other hand, hundreds of residents from as far away as the North Fork have for years been complaining about the constant noise from low-flying aircraft in and out of the East Hampton Airport at all times of day and night.  Despite attempts to change routes or the promises of the aviation industry to comply with routes and minimum altitudes, some of these residents say that traffic this year is only getting worse.

Kathleen Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition, said this week: “The weekends have been terrible,” this year. “The other day I must have counted 20 flights overhead in as many minutes,” she said.

Jemille Charlton, the East Hampton Airport manager, said this week that so far this season, “It’s been pretty much status quo.” The levels of route- and altitude compliance he said have been relatively high so far this year, but added that the number of complaints is  “still very high.”

“We’re very eager, desperate I might say, for these restrictions to deliver some relief,” Ms. Cunningham said.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley preemptively introduced a law on Tuesday that would limit the number of landings at the village’s helipad on Meadow Lane, ahead of Judge Seybert’s decision on Friday.

“The reasoning behind that is that we have had a 44-percent increase as compared to 2014,” Mayor Epley said on Wednesday. “If the East Hampton restrictions are held up in court, then we’ll have a substantial increase, more than 44 percent,” he said.

While the number of complaints hasn’t increased astronomically, Mayor Epley is more concerned about the safety at the heliport.

“Our helipad is located at the end of Meadow Lane—it’s a dead-end, two-lane road,” he explained. “It’s unmanned and cell phones don’t work there. He added that the village, like others on the East End, is supported by volunteer medical services and that increased services would create more of a burden on the area.

Mayor Epley opened and closed the public hearing on the new law last night without a vote on the law, and said he is waiting to hear Judge Seybert’s decision before asking the village board to adopt the new rules. If the judge sides with the town, Mr. Epley said it was likely he would call a special meeting to vote on the law ahead of the regularly scheduled July 9 meeting.

The East Hampton Town Board will post any decisions about the airport to the website htoplanning.com .

Tom Edmonds

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Tom 2015

Tom Edmonds, executive director of the Southampton Historical Museum, spoke to us about Southampton 375th birthday, and some of the events that will take place this year to celebrate it.  

Happy 375th Anniversary to Southampton. 

Happy 375th to you. Southampton and Southold share the 1640 founding date, and for the last 150 years there has been a mostly friendly rivalry between the two on who is the oldest. The argument is based on a few months’ difference. This year we are focusing on how 1640 changed the East End forever—some of the pioneers thrived, some went back to England, some moved on, some came as slaves and the natives did not do well at all.

There are a lot of events lined up for the next year, which ones are you the most excited about?  

We designed a local history lecture series that includes many representatives from around the Peconic Bay. Richard Wines from New Suffolk will give a talk on a forgotten battle from the War of 1812 that took place on the Long Island Sound. Richard Barons, director of the East Hampton Historical Society, will lecture on Captain Kidd who landed on Gardiner’s Island. David Bunn Martin, director of the Shinnecock Museum, will give a tour of his museum and the new, outdoor Wikun Village.

One that I’m really happy to be a part of is the March 7 convocation at Southampton’s First Presbyterian Church, which is also celebrating its 375th year. Speakers include Elizabeth Thunderbird Haile, tribal elder of the Shinnecock Nation; Al Krupski, Suffolk County legislator for the North Fork; the Reverend Peter Kelly from Southold’s First Presbyterian Church (also 375 this year,); Jay Schneiderman, Suffolk County legislator for the South Fork; the Reverend Michael Smith, Shinnecock Presbyterian Church; Showers of Blessings, a gospel group from Kings Chapel in Southampton and Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley.

After the convocation, guests are invited to a reception and 375th exhibition opening at the Rogers Mansion, a property of the Southampton Historical Museum, across the street.

Could you tell me a little bit about the event re-creating the 1640 historic walk? 

The Southampton Trails Preservation Society has marked out a trail that recreate the original hike taken by the English pioneers and the Shinnecock tribe. The Shinnecock were eager to acquire allies in their continuing war with the Pequots of Connecticut who were raiding their villages, killing tribesmen and kidnapping women. They hoped the English would help them so they encouraged them to settle on one of their prime spots near the ocean (today located near the Southampton Hospital) with access to good land and fishing. The Shinnecock helped them build primitive dugout huts which are being recreated by Southampton Village.

What else will be done to include the Native Americans and other peoples who were here prior to 1640? 

Little has been done to acknowledge the Paleo-Indians, the first settlers of Southampton, who came here 10,000 years ago after the glaciers receded. Almost nothing is known about them except for the extraordinary amount of arrowheads they left behind. Native development on Long Island began with the Big Game Hunters, the first people to arrive, to Hunters and Gatherers followed by the Shinnecock Woodland Period (500 CE to 1640) who were hunters, farmers and fishermen.

The Shinnecock Nation has participated fully in Southampton’s birthday celebrations every 25 years. Elizabeth Thunderbird Haile is on our board and also of the Shinnecock Museum. I’ve been working closely with her and David Bunn Martin.

What is really different this year is that the Shinnecock are preparing the historic recreation of the of the 1640 landing, and not the town. Our June 13th rededication of the monument to 1640 should be very interesting!

Just this month, the couple who demolished the historic Pyrrhus Concer House decided to sell the property. Do you think that the community and the local officials are doing enough to preserve and protect our history? 

No. Southampton’s historic buildings and natural resources attract new residents and tourists from around the globe. Businesses and property owners should think of our ancient heritage and historic charm as an asset that is good for business and needs protection, instead of something that gets in the way.

For more information about the Southampton Historical Museum visit southamptonhistoricalmuseum.org


Southampton Ready To Celebrate Its 375th Birthday

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Edmonds for web1127

Tom Edmonds, director of the Southampton Historical Society, at a tour of the Thomas Halsey House in Southampton Village.


By Stephen J. Kotz

Every 25 years, dating back to 1865, the Town of Southampton has held special celebrations to mark the arrival of the first European settlers  in 1640, and 2015 will be no different.

From a special New Year’s Eve party at the Southampton Inn, to a convocation on March 7 at the First Presbyterian Church, which was also established in 1640, a rededication on June 13 at Conscience Point in North Sea, where Puritans first landed on June 12, 1640, and a community picnic that same day at the North Sea Community Center, a number of activities and exhibits are being planned.

To lift the curtain on the town’s 375th birthday celebration, the committee that was formed to organize the anniversary observance hosted a group of journalists on November 22 and 23, offering tours of historic sites in the village, including the Thomas Halsey House—the oldest in Southampton; and a reception at the Rogers Mansion, the home of the Southampton Historical Society.

Dede Gotthelf, the owner of the Southampton Inn, also provided free meals and lodging for the visiting journalists.

Ms Gotthelf led a tour that took the group through the village estate section, where she pointed out some of the homes of the village’s rich and famous summer colony residents. “We’re just a little early,” Ms. Gotthelf said. “In a couple of weeks the hedges will start to lose their foliage so you can see some of the magnificent homes.”

The tour also passed some of the village’s most well-known landmarks as well, including the Meadow Club, Coopers Beach and St. Andrew’s Dune Church and the Southampton Bathing Corporation.

Later the group met Tom Edmonds, executive director of the historical society, who offered a tour of the Thomas Halsey House. Although a historical marker identifies the house as having been built in 1648, Mr. Edmonds said the original section, which consisted of two rooms, probably dated to 1683, although Mr. Halsey established a farm on the South Main Street site as early as 1648. A second section of the house was erected in 1730 before additional rooms were added to the rear.

Mr. Edmonds showed off some of the collection, including a two-piece helmet, so designed for easy packing, which settlers would have brought with them “because they didn’t know whether they were going to encounter hostile Indians.” There was a rug, displayed like a table cloth, because it was too valuable to be left on the floor and would have been displayed on a table or wall as “a way to show off that you could afford a rug like that;” there was the peel, an oversized spatula, decorated with a heart. That meant, Mr. Edmonds pointed out, that it was probably a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and recognized the fact that a woman spent the lion’s share of her day tending the hearth while her husband farmed or hunted.

While the 375th anniversary will celebrate the arrival of a band of Puritans from Massachusetts, anniversary organizers said they did not want to forget the Shinnecock Indians, who had been calling Southampton home for thousands of years prior to the arrival of white settlers. There is an extensive portion of the Halsey House dedicated to Shinnecock history, and the tribe has its own cultural museum on the reservation west of the village.

The Shinnecock tribe will also take part in the Conscience Point rededication when they will hold a special pageant.

The historical society will obviously take a central role in the celebration. It plans an exhibit at the Rogers Mansion opening March 7 that will detail the families who lived in the famous house, who included Samuel Parrish, who founded the Parrish Art Museum in his former home on Jobs Lane before moving to the Rogers Mansion for the remainder of his life. Other events include a celebration of the Halsey family on July 23, a Polish festival on August 1, a Harvest Day Fair on September 27, and a reunion of the Howell family, another founding family, on October 16.

The Southampton Cultural Center will present “Artists and Southampton: A Living Legacy,” opening on June 2. The Southampton Trails Preservation Society will recreate a historic walk from Conscience Point to the village on June 14, and on June 20, the village will hold celebrate the grand occasion with a concert, servings of cake and a community sing-along.

New York State Declares March 17 Pyrrhus Concer Day

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Brenda and Fred

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. presented Brenda Simmons, director of the African American Museum on the East End, with a proclamation declaring March 17 to be Pyrrhus Concer Day in New York State last Saturday.

The document was presented at a program held at the Southampton Historical Museum honoring the 200th anniversary of Concer’s birth. Over 120 people attended the event, including Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.

Southampton Center Hires Boston Architects to Design 25 Jobs Lane

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Machado and Silvetti Associates have been hired by the newly formed not-for-profit Southampton Center to design the restoration and renovation of the landmark building at 25 Jobs Lane in the heart of Southampton Village.

The Southampton Center, a not-for-profit arts organization conceived by Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and a Founders’ Committee he organized last year, will enter the former Parrish Art Museum space when that organization leaves for its new Water Mill home at the end of 2012. The Southampton Center is envisioned as a not-for-profit arts institution that will lease space within the 25 Jobs Lane property to different performing arts groups hoping to maintain the parcel as a cultural hub.

According to a press release issued last week by the Southampton Center, the Southampton Village Planning Commission will see a presentation by architect Jorge Silvetti on Thursday, July 12 at 6 p.m. during the Southampton Village Board of Trustees meeting. The selection of Machado and Silvetti, a Boston-based architecture firm, was the result of a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process engaging local and regional firms.

“We were energized by the enormous interest the architectural community showed in this assignment and were delighted to be able to choose among many highly qualified firms,” said Siamak Samii, chair of the Southampton Village Planning Commission and member of Southampton Center Founders Committee. “Machado and Silvetti fits the tasks perfectly — an internationally renowned firm who has specialized in the work of transforming great historic buildings for 21st century uses. They will be an ideal partner as we move forward in developing Southampton Center as a new cultural institution for the Village.”

The 25 Jobs Lane building was constructed by Samuel Parrish in the late 19th and early 20th Century and was designed by architect Grosvenor Atterby, who also designed the Forest Hills Gardens, the renovation of New York City Hall and the Rockefeller Barns at Pocantico Hills, New York. Those buildings were also renovated by Machado and Silvetti, which have won honors for design excellence in architecture by the Boston Society of Architects.

“We are extremely excited and delighted to help the Southampton Center both preserve and recast the former Parrish Art Museum building as a distinctive cultural institution like no other in the region,” Silvetti said. “Fortunately, this notable building by Grosvenor Atterbury lends itself to great flexibility of use and to a wide range of interpretations that would allow it to sponsor a multiplicity of cultural activities far beyond its original function as a museum. We look forward to working with the Southampton Center and the Village to restart the clock in this new chapter in the life of this much beloved icon.”

“The choice of Machado and Silvetti means that the Southampton Village community will have this important building restored to its original glory and ready for occupancy and modern day, year round usage,” said Epley. “This is a major step forward in the growth of the newly created Arts District on Jobs Lane.”

According to Epley, Machado and Silvetti will start to develop the conceptual design for the center immediately and will work with local and regional architectural, engineering and construction firms on the project. During the design and construction period, Southampton Center will program and occupy the planned flexible-use outdoor performance pavilion designed by the Rockwell Group on the grounds of the Parrish Arboretum.

Evacuations and Beach Closures Announced in Southampton Village

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As the East End braces for Hurricane Irene, the Village of Southampton was the first municipality to call for a voluntary evacuation of all of Meadow Lane effective at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 26. It is possible a mandatory evacuation will be called for tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., according to village officials.

The village has also closed all of its beaches as of 2 p.m. on Friday.

Rethink the Parrish

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Parrish Sceme C

Scheme C: The third concept for the Parrish Art Museum property envisions the creation of a horticultural center and greenhouse, as well as a 350-seat theatre space, courtyard and large multipurpose rooms connecting to the existing Parrish Art Museum building. A fourth scheme was also presented showing two additions at the rear of the property, connecting to the building via pergolas through the arboretum.

by Kathryn G. Menu

Southampton Village officials unveiled plans last week for what it hopes to do with the village-owned Jobs Lane property currently occupied by the Parrish Art Museum. That property will become vacant next summer when the museum moves to its new home in Water Mill.

The “Southampton Center for the Arts” is conceived as a visual and performing arts center. Combined with a conservancy dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the existing Parrish arboretum, the development as a whole is meant to nourish and celebrate the history of art and culture on the East End. It’s also designed to draw in artists of all disciplines from around the world to Southampton Village.

On Thursday, July 7 the Southampton Village Planning Commission held a forum meant to update the public on proposed plans for the Jobs Lane property.

Working with consultants Webb Management Services, planning commission chairman Siamak Samii said the village and a founders’ committee formed last year to look at the future of the property. The aim was to present a project that could address the needs of the village as a whole.

Duncan Webb, president of Webb Management Services and Douglas Moss of ForeSite Facility Planners presented four scenarios for the development of the property to the planning commission and a large crowd gathered at Thursday’s meeting.

Webb said the meeting was intended to gain community input on the concepts, all of which involve adding new structures to the Parrish Art Museum property.

In all four schemes, the existing 9,000 square-foot building would be restored and renovated and feature three entrances, a grounds exhibit, espresso bar, gallery space, a lobby and an exhibition gallery as well as a multipurpose room at the rear of the facility.

The village envisions a separate conservation organization would also be created, no matter which project is selected, aimed at preserving and improving the existing arboretum on the grounds.

The first concept presented was the smallest in scale, showing the creation of a 3,000 square-foot horticultural center and greenhouse in the northwest portion of the property. Directly adjacent to the horticultural center would be a 7,500 square-foot outdoor amphitheater.

Moss called this scheme “very minimal.”

The second proposal is larger in scale, calling for a two-story 25,000 square-foot addition in the same northwest corner of the property. That addition would house a 350-seat theater space, as well as a lobby, theater support room, multi-purpose room and horticultural center. It would connect to the existing building via a large plaza that Moss said would be shaped so it could also operate as an amphitheater.

The third concept calls for the horticultural center and greenhouse, which would connect via a walkway to a large two-story addition at the northwest corner of the existing building. That building would host the theater space, a theater support room, two multi-purpose rooms surrounding a courtyard, as well as a lobby.

The last scheme presented shows three new structures on the property. First, in the northwest corner sits the horticultural center. Next to that a 20,000 square-foot building would be constructed to host the theater, theater support room, a multipurpose room, classroom and a catering support room. Next to that building, directly behind the existing Parrish Art Museum, would be an outdoor performance space. On the other side, a 5,000 square-foot building hosting a multipurpose room would sit on the northeast corner of the property.

The two structures would be connected to the existing building, said Moss, through pergola walkways.

Moss added the disadvantage of the last scheme is that the structures begin to close off visual access to the arboretum, something the village is trying to promote, not detract from.

While Duncan and Moss did not present financial figures, on Monday Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said the project would likely cost around $20 million, with $10 to $15 million needed in the renovation and expansion of the site and an additional $5 million meant to cover the operating costs of the facility for five years after it opens.

A capital campaign would be used to raise the funding privately.

The facility, according to Epley, would be run wholly by the not-for-profit Southampton Center for the Arts, which has already been incorporated, and is in the process of filing for not-for-profit status. It would rent the property from the village.

Residents at the meeting were divided in their support of the plan, some stating its necessity not just economically for Southampton Village, but also to make the village more of a destination. Others feared it would be in competition with existing organizations like the Southampton Cultural Center, Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre and yes, the Parrish Art Museum.

“We don’t want to be in competition with the Parrish Art Museum or any other existing organization,” said Epley on Monday. “We have no desire to do that, which is why we are trying to create something a little different.”

Epley said the multi-disciplinary arts organization could host not just visual arts, but theatre, dance troupes and even technological art.

“Another component I would like to see is space for traveling exhibitions,” he said. “We can host different shows there, programming that involves not just art, but history, sports. We can develop relationships with organizations like The Smithsonian.”

Epley noted the founders’ committee has already been successful in reaching out to groups from New York City like Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Public Theatre and Shakespeare in the Park. They have all expressed excitement at the prospect of being able to bring programming to a space like this in Southampton, he said.

Locally, the center could also partner with groups like the Southampton Cultural Center, the Hamptons International Film Festival and even the arts program at Southampton College.

“There are so many different things we can do here,” said Epley. “And it’s extremely important we do something. This is the centerpiece of the Village of Southampton. We must have active, viable entities occupying this space 365-days a year. The idea is to create a destination point, which will be an economic driver for the village.”

Sprucing Up Hamlets with Outdoor Dining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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