Of Parking and Proxies

Amagansett group hears of farmland buy

    The town-owned parking lot behind Amagansett Main Street has 157 spaces, but shopowners have long said more are needed, especially in summer but also on spring and fall weekends. In 2009, an East Hampton Town Planning Department study concluded that the hamlet needed 90 more spaces, or, if two vacant lots and five that are zoned for business but now contain houses were all commercially developed, as many as 346 more.
    The town is now eyeing vacant land north and east of the municipal lot, owned by the Bistrian family, for possible expansion.
    “We have opened discussion with the Bistrians about how to get up to three acres to expand the parking lot,” Councilman Dominic Stanzione told Monday night’s meeting of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee. “They are excited about the opportunity.”
    On and off over the years, going back some three or four administrations, the town has talked with the family about acquiring all or part of their 30-acre parcel, to no avail. Britton Bistrian told the advisory committee last month that community preservation fund money might figure into the current discussions, and Mr. Stanzione confirmed it on Monday.
    “The town is looking to buy the development rights,” he said, adding that while the talks are “in a very early stage . . . nothing is off the table. Every idea will be explored.”
    Deer have been as problematic in Amagansett as anywhere else in town, and Mr. Stanzione, who is the town board’s liaison to its deer management committee, gave a brief rundown on the committee’s progress. It is close to achieving a “critical compromise” between “the non-lethal group” and “others,” he said, meaning hunters and those of like mind. A five-year program that would include, in its initial stages, “emergency action,” and “over time, non-lethal action” is under study.
    Mr. Stanzione did not elaborate on what kind of “emergency action” is contemplated, but made it clear that the issue has become urgent. Townwide, there have been three cases of babesiosis, a serious disease spread by deer ticks, in the last 90 days, he reported. “Many think deer fencing is essential,” he said. “Others say it’s changing the community.”    
    The councilman noted that a public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1 at Town Hall on whether to put deer fencing around the perimeter of East Hampton Airport, where there were one or two deer-versus-plane incidents last summer.
    “We could have a vote to close the airport,” he remarked jokingly.
    “Could we put all the deer in there first?” shot back Kieran Brew, ACAC’s vice chairman.
    Mr. Stanzione’s comments were preceded by a discussion of “modern parliamentary procedure” presented by Bill Di Scipio, secretary of the advisory committee (William J. Di Scipio, Ph.D., as he signs the minutes of meetings). “We are not just advisers,” he maintained at one point. “We are a professional committee.” Dr. Di Scipio, who had clearly put a lot of time and effort into drawing up what he called “a system to enhance the workings of the committee,” ran down a list of proposed rules dealing with and defining “ordinary motions” (to adjourn, to recess, to amend, etc.) and “special motions” (point of order, to appeal, to rescind, etc.) in the course of a 20-minute slide show that had a few in the audience muttering, though most listened politely.
    After Councilman Stanzione’s remarks, Dr. Di Scipio returned to the fray, though this time there was scattered vocal opposition. “We don’t need these hard-and-fast rules,” said Tom Field. “They limit discussion. The chairman takes care of it.”
    “We have 34 [committee members] with different ideas,” Dr. Di Scipio responded. “I don’t want to put all the power in the chairman’s position.”
    “No one does this,” protested Sheila Okun. “If we have all these rules we’ll never get anything done. We’re all here for the same reasons, we’re here for Amagansett.”
    Dr. Di Scipio pressed valiantly on. “There has to be a quorum,” he said. “And this brings in the issue of proxies. The federal government and the state government —” Here, the muted groans became audible.
    “Part of your right to vote is your punishment to be here,” said Joan Tulp. “I am absolutely against proxies.”
    “I’d like to make a motion that everyone in favor of proxies raise their hand,” said Elaine Miller.
    “I move to rescind that motion,” said Dr. Di Scipio.
    “He hasn’t got a second for that,” Mr. Field observed, and Kent Miller, the chairman of the committee, declared the meeting over.
    “Okay,” said Dr. Di Scipio. “I’ll still be your secretary.”