Divided Over Pet Clinics

    The prospect of a change in the town code that would allow veterinary clinics to locate in central business districts gave the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee some jitters on Monday night.
    The East Hampton Town Board plans to discuss the change at an upcoming meeting, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who is the town board liaison to the committee, told the gathering. The request to change the code came from the advisory committee in Montauk, on behalf of Molly Miosek, a veterinarian who hopes to establish a clinic on Essex Street, in the easternmost hamlet’s downtown area.
    Ms. Overby could offer little as yet about specifics. Several people wanted to know just what a veterinary clinic would entail. “Whatever a vet clinic does,” Ms. Overby said, somewhat uncertainly. “Keeping animals overnight? I think a vet clinic means everything. Boarding.”
    “There’s a lot of barking,” said Sheila Okin, “and a lot of houses on Main Street, including mine.”
    “I would rather have a dog clinic in Amagansett than another nail salon,” said Betty Mazur.
    “I think it’s an inappropriate use in Amagansett,” Ms. Okin said, to murmurs of agreement.
    Britton Bistrian, a committee member who is an architect, pointed out that “Amagansett has very limited central business.” In fact, she said, “I don’t think there’s a single piece of C.B. in Amagansett that would allow [for] it.” In any event, she said, such a code change would require “layers and layers of planning and approval.”
     Ms. Overby agreed. “There would have to be a hearing for the entire town,” she said. “We can’t just put it in Montauk. We’d have to do it for everybody.”
    “I think we need more research,” said Kathy Mullen.
    “They asked me at a work session, how does Amagansett feel,” said Ms. Overby. I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
    Kent Miller, chairman of the committee, called for a show of hands. Three members voted yes, five no, and six abstained, saying they wanted more information.
    Also on Monday night, the committee pondered the question of how to convey its sentiments to the town planning and zoning boards without defying Supervisor Bill Wilkinson’s explicit instruction not to do so directly. Ms. Mazur, citing two forthcoming requests from homeowners in the dunes, each wanting an unusual number of variances, expressed discouragement with “the proliferation of large houses that are changing the face of the hamlet” and wondered “what good is it to go to Z.B.A. meetings” when one could not write or speak in the name of the entire committee.
    Tom Field, a committee member, suggested that “Betty brought it here, now we can go out and share it with our community. Twenty-five letters would carry a lot more weight than one.”
    Kieran Brew, vice chairman of the committee, agreed. “We need to go to people and say, ‘If you don’t like this, say so.’ ”
    “And we should care about the whole hamlet, not just where we live,” said Ms. Bistrian.
    “The lanes should care about Beach Hampton and vice versa,” someone else remarked.
    Another member of the audience wondered whether the town board might relay the committee’s disapproval of the two dunes applications to the zoning board. Councilwoman Overby made it clear that it could not. “The town board cannot collaborate with or influence the zoning or planning boards,” she said, ending the discussion.
    Toward the end of the meeting there was a brief exchange about the Amagansett Farmers Market, with several members bemoaning its appearance. “Nothing has been done to improve the look of the property,” said Joan Tulp. “The fence is falling down. It’s disreputable. . . . we’d like it to look nice all year long, not just in the summer.”
    “It doesn’t look nice in the summer either,” came a voice from the audience. “It looks like they picked up furniture at the dump.”
    Ms. Tulp said she complained a while ago to the Peconic Land Trust, which  manages the property, to no avail. There are two years left on Eli Zabar’s lease on the market, which will open for the holiday weekend on Friday, May 25.
    Finally, Ms. Overby told the committee that the long-awaited public bathroom to be built in the parking lot behind Main Street will not happen this summer. All the necessary county permits have expired, she said. The town will have to start again from scratch.