Recent Stories: Government

Joanne Pilgrim
July 20, 2017
East Hampton’s new port security vessel, a 42-foot boat that will be stationed in Montauk to fight fires and assist the Coast Guard with its duties under the Department of Homeland Security, will be christened in a ceremony on Wednesday.

East Hampton’s new port security vessel, a 42-foot boat that will be stationed in Montauk to fight fires and assist the Coast Guard with its duties under the Department of Homeland Security, will be christened in a ceremony on Wednesday. It will be named for John L. Behan of Montauk.

The $600,000 boat, which was delivered in early June and can travel at a speed of 30 knots, was purchased in part with a $450,000 grant from the federal homeland security agency; the town contributed $150,000, or 25 percent of the cost.

Christopher Walsh
July 20, 2017
Wind farm officials hear fishermen's pleas and are exploring an alternative to an initial plan to route the installation's transmission cable through Gardiner's Bay.

In response to strong opposition from commercial fishermen who fear a disruption of their work and destruction of fish habitat, officials of Deepwater Wind, a Rhode Island company that plans to construct a 15-turbine wind farm approximately 30 miles off Montauk, are exploring an alternative to an initial plan to route the installation’s transmission cable through Gardiner’s Bay.

At an April meeting of the East Hampton Town Trustees, several fishermen voiced those concerns to Clint Plummer, Deepwater Wind’s vice president of development, should the transmission cable be laid to make landfall in Gardiner’s Bay.

T.E. McMorrow
July 20, 2017
The facility, which would store power drawn from the grid when demand is low and release it back at peak hours, is planned for a half-acre site on North Shore Road, which connects Industrial Road and Navy Road in Montauk.

A building containing lithium batteries, which National Grid and PSEG want to put up in Montauk, was discussed during a public hearing before the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday night. The facility, which would store power drawn  from the grid when demand is low and release it back at peak hours, is planned for a half-acre site on North Shore Road, which connects Industrial Road and Navy Road. But three setback variances would be necessary for construction, and opposition is evident. If the Z.B.A. grants the variances, a public hearing before the town’s planning board would follow on Aug. 9.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 20, 2017
The new owner of the former Oceanside Motel in Montauk, now called Hero Beach Club, has sued East Hampton Town over its adoption last month of a law that prohibits resorts from having takeout food shops.

The new owner of the former Oceanside Motel in Montauk, now called Hero Beach Club, has sued East Hampton Town over its adoption last month of a law that prohibits resorts from having takeout food shops.

Jon Krasner, the managing partner at Hero Beach, bought the hotel in October. In March, he submitted an application to the town planning board for approval of renovations that included the conversion of a four-unit building into what is described in Planning Department documents as a 1,440-square-foot store, with a 1,000-square-foot basement area and a new sanitary system, and two decks, of 463 square feet on the first floor and 515 square feet on a second floor. In addition, a new 3,675-square-foot wood deck over an existing swimming pool and deck was also proposed.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 20, 2017
East Hampton officials are set to enact a law and establish a rebate program designed to get septic systems that contribute to water pollution out of the ground and replace them with newer ones that reduce emissions of nitrogen.

East Hampton officials are set to enact a  law and establish a rebate program designed to get septic systems that contribute to water pollution out of the ground and replace them with newer ones that reduce emissions of nitrogen.

At a meeting tonight, the East Hampton Town Board is expected to set hearings for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Town Hall on a law that will require low-nitrogen systems for all new construction and replacements of sanitary systems, and on a rebate program that could provide money for homeowners that would pay for all, or a substantial amount, of the cost of voluntarily replacing old sanitary systems.

Taylor K. Vecsey
July 19, 2017
Planned development districts, or P.D.D.s, which were designed to allow flexible use of residential, mixed use, commercial, and industrial areas in the Town of Southampton, are no more.

Planned development districts, or P.D.D.s, which were designed to allow flexible use of residential, mixed use, commercial, and industrial areas in the Town of Southampton, are no more. The Southampton Town Board repealed the highly controversial law by unanimous vote on July 11. 

P.D.D.s allowed unique zoning regulations for specific properties in exchange for community benefits. More than 20 such districts had been approved since the law was adopted in 1995 and dozens more had been requested. The vote was 4 to 0, with Councilwoman Christine Scalera unable to attend the meeting. 

Jackie Pape
July 18, 2017
The survey showed that prices at 21 of 28 stations in East Hampton and Southampton Town are above the Long Island average.

A gasoline price survey, released by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. on July 11, showed that prices at 21 of 28 stations in East Hampton and Southampton Town are above the Long Island average.

A press release from Mr. Thiele states that the average price for gas in East Hampton ranges from $2.65 and $3.19 per gallon, and in eastern Southampton, along Montauk Highway, the range is between $2.27 and $2.59. West of the canal in Southampton, the average range is $2.35 to $3.29.

The Long Island average is $2.43; the New York State average is 2 cents lower.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 13, 2017
East Hampton Town may have had its efforts to stem noise from aircraft using East Hampton Airport shot down in court, and found no success in a bid to have the Supreme Court review the case, but town board members are not giving up.

East Hampton Town may have had its efforts to stem noise from aircraft using East Hampton Airport shot down in court, and found no success in a bid to have the Supreme Court review the case, but town board members are not giving up.

The town board is hoping to find leverage in Washington, D.C., that would result in an amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill now before Congress that would give the town authority to impose airport rules. At the same time, through state legislation, the town is seeking to ensure that community members have a say in future decisions that could whittle away that authority.

Star Staff
July 13, 2017
Tim Sini, the county police commissioner who is running to be Suffolk district attorney, and Bridget Fleming, who is seeking re-election to the County Legislature, will speak on Monday.

The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee and Resist and Replace, an activist group that seeks to hold local, state, and federal representatives accountable and to promote those opposed to Trump administration policies, has invited the public to meet candidates for two Suffolk County positions on Monday at 7 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett.

The Suffolk County Democratic Committee’s chairman, Rich Schaffer, will present Tim Sini, the county police commissioner who is running to be Suffolk district attorney, and Bridget Fleming, who is seeking re-election to the County Legislature. Ms. Fleming, who lives in Noyac, is a former member of the Southampton Town Board. She was elected to the legislature in 2015.

Christopher Walsh
July 13, 2017
Zach Cohen, who is seeking to run for a seat on the East Hampton Town Board on the Democratic Party ticket, filed a petition with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Tuesday to participate in a primary election that would be held on Sept. 12.

Zach Cohen, who is seeking to run for a seat on the East Hampton Town Board on the Democratic Party ticket, filed a petition with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Tuesday to participate in a primary election that would be held on Sept. 12. Mr. Cohen’s petition has 835 signatures; 353 were required.

The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee formally nominated its candidates for townwide offices on May 17, passing over Mr. Cohen in favor of Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, a Democrat on the town board who is seeking re-election, and Jeffrey Bragman, an attorney and newcomer to politics. Barring a successful legal challenge to Mr. Cohen’s petition, a primary among the three candidates, and any others who filed a petition for candidacy, is likely.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 13, 2017
A $4 million purchase of enhanced development rights on almost 30 acres of farmland in Wainscott would be the first East Hampton Town acquisition under which only food farming would be permitted.

A $4 million purchase of enhanced development rights on almost 30 acres of farmland in Wainscott would be the first East Hampton Town acquisition under which only food farming would be permitted.

The East Hampton Town Board will hold a hearing next Thursday on whether to use the community preservation fund to buy these rights to the Dankowski farm, 29.5 acres at 7 Osborn Lane and 97 Wainscott Hollow Road. Doing so would preclude future use for anything other than food production in perpetuity. 

Suffolk County had already bought the development rights to the Dankowski farm, allowing only agriculture there, but that included allowing barns, greenhouses, other structures, horse farms, and related operations.

Christopher Walsh
July 13, 2017
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have sponsored legislation that would set up a seafood marketing task force to promote the marketing and sustainability of seafood landed in New York State waters.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle have sponsored legislation that would set up a seafood marketing task force to promote the marketing and sustainability of seafood landed in New York State waters.

The legislation, passed last month, requires Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signature to become law. Mr. Thiele said last week that he hoped that would happen before summer’s end.

Along with promoting the marketing and sustainability of New York seafood, the task force would provide the governor and Legislature with a report of its progress and findings, addressing research, marketing, expansion, and funding opportunities. Its intent is to stimulate the economy and create jobs for coastal communities.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 13, 2017
The tiny house craze, a proliferation across the country of small dwellings on wheels, similar to recreational vehicles, could be brought to bear on a problem in East Hampton: the lack of affordable housing for seasonal workers.

The tiny house craze, a proliferation across the country of small dwellings on wheels, similar to recreational vehicles, could be brought to bear on a problem in East Hampton: the lack of affordable housing for seasonal workers.

Ryan Chadwick, a restaurateur and entrepreneur who runs the Grey Lady restaurant in Montauk, is working with other municipalities with seasonal tourism, such as Aspen, Colo., on the installation of mobile modular dwelling units that can be brought in to house workers when needed. A lack of affordable housing in resort towns such as Aspen and East Hampton is a problem both for workers and for business owners who need additional employees during the busy season.

Christopher Walsh
July 13, 2017
The East Hampton Town Trustees approved three initiatives aimed at restoring eelgrass in waterways at their meeting on Monday.

The East Hampton Town Trustees approved three initiatives aimed at restoring eelgrass in waterways at their meeting on Monday.

Kim Barbour of Cornell Cooperative Extension described proposed research projects, including a groundwater discharge study in Napeague Harbor. The study would pinpoint the best spots to plant eelgrass, which provides essential habitat to marine life but was decimated by algal blooms in the 1980s and ’90s and is further stressed by higher water temperatures.

Joanne Pilgrim
July 6, 2017
A Suffolk County effort mandated by the state is underway with the goal of reducing property taxes or eliminating tax increases by getting municipalities in the county to coordinate or eliminate duplicated services and to make purchases together for better prices.

A Suffolk County effort mandated by the state is underway with the goal of reducing property taxes or eliminating tax increases by getting municipalities in the county to coordinate or eliminate duplicated services and to make purchases together for better prices.

To help develop a plan to be submitted to the County Legislature, County Executive Steve Bellone has set up a series of community meetings to solicit ideas and public opinion.

A meeting will be held at East Hampton Town Hall at 11 a.m. on Monday. It will be followed by a meeting that night at 6 at Southampton Town Hall, and others in Babylon and Huntington on Tuesday and July 18.

Christopher Walsh
July 5, 2017

Representative Lee Zeldin of New York's First Congressional District will host mobile office hours Thursday night from 6 to 9 at Stony Brook Southampton's Chancellors Hall at 39 Tuckahoe Road. All members of the public and press have been invited to attend.

According to an email from a member of Mr. Zeldin's staff, constituents will be afforded one-on-one meetings with the congressman or a staff member to discuss issues important to them. An appointment is not necessary.

No videotaping or recording will be allowed; the email states that that prohibition is to protect constituents' privacy.

Taylor K. Vecsey
June 29, 2017
Southampton has established the East Coast’s first “green zone” in a town-owned East Quogue park, where it is using electric-powered maintenance equipment only, to reduce noise levels and eliminate carbon emissions and toxic pollutants.

Southampton has established the East Coast’s first “green zone” in a town-owned East Quogue park, where it is using electric-powered maintenance equipment only, to reduce noise levels and eliminate carbon emissions and toxic pollutants.

“So far, so good,” Kristen Doulous, the director of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department told the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday. Nicholas Palumbo, a member of the town’s sustainability committee and the director of Suffolk County Community College’s sustainability program, reported that in the one month since the project began, neighbors have said the noise reduction has improved their lives.

Christopher Walsh
June 29, 2017
The East Hampton Town Trustees will apply this week for an emergency permit to open Georgica Pond to the Atlantic Ocean, according to Francis Bock, the governing body’s presiding officer.

The East Hampton Town Trustees will apply this week to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service for an emergency permit to open Georgica Pond to the Atlantic Ocean, according to Francis Bock, the governing body’s presiding officer.

The traditional spring opening of the pond did not happen this year due to weather conditions and an earlier-than-usual arrival of federally protected piping plovers, the small shorebirds that nest in the ocean dunes. A bloom of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, has again compelled the trustees to close the pond to the harvesting of marine life and warn against exposure to it.

Joanne Pilgrim
June 29, 2017
A court decision last fall prohibiting barns and other structures on farmland protected by a Suffolk County program may play into a lawsuit challenging a barn on Peconic Land Trust acreage in Amagansett.

A court decision last fall prohibiting barns and other structures on farmland protected by a Suffolk County program may play into a lawsuit challenging a barn on Peconic Land Trust acreage in Amagansett.

Fouad Chartouni, whose residential property is surrounded on three sides by farmland fronting on Town Lane, filed suit in November seeking to overturn county approval for the barn.

The barn was to be used by tenants renting portions of the land trust’s Deborah Light Preserve. It has remained unoccupied as a result of the lawsuit, John v.H. Halsey of the Peconic Land Trust said yesterday.

Christopher Walsh
June 29, 2017
The aerial application of mosquito larvicide over marshlands in East Hampton Town could be reduced if a proposed new protocol demonstrates less need for it.

The aerial application of mosquito larvicide over marshlands in East Hampton Town could be reduced if a proposed new protocol demonstrates less need for it.

The East Hampton Town Trustees and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming are working to persuade vector control officials at the Suffolk Department of Public Works to reduce or eliminate the use of methoprene, a larvicide the county insists is safe but many believe harms non-target species, including crustaceans. A trial ban on methoprene had been proposed for a portion of Accabonac Harbor in Springs; the new protocol would replace that plan.

Jackie Pape
June 29, 2017
Today is the day that Uber, Lyft, and other “transportation network companies” can begin operating legally on the South Fork, as the result of a law approved in Albany earlier this month.

Today is the day that Uber, Lyft, and other “transportation network companies” can begin operating legally on the South Fork, as the result of a law approved in Albany earlier this month that removed them from local regulation, giving it instead to the State Department of Motor Vehicles.

The law effectively killed an East Hampton Town regulation that required every taxi company to maintain a local office, and another in Southampton Town that required drivers to have local permits.

Today is also the day that the big ride-hailing companies, which allow riders to use an app to summon cars and pay for rides, are undoubtedly going to discover local competition. A new service, TAHA Limo, an East Hampton company, is now an option, as is an app called Skedaddle.

Joanne Pilgrim
June 26, 2017
The Town of East Hampton learned on Monday that the United States Supreme Court will not review a lower court decision that struck down three 2015 laws restricting access to the East Hampton Airport in order to reduce aircraft noise.

The Town of East Hampton learned on Monday that the United States Supreme Court will not review a lower court decision that struck down three 2015 laws restricting access to the East Hampton Airport in order to reduce aircraft noise.

East Hampton had submitted a petition to the Supreme Court early this year in the hopes that it would review and uphold the laws: a once-a-week limit on takeoffs and landings at the municipal airport by planes that fall into a "noisy" category, and two overnight curfews, one with extended hours encompassing the noisy planes.

Joanne Pilgrim
June 22, 2017
Under the proposed law, installation of one of the new nitrogen-reducing systems would be required for new construction, when undertaking a substantial expansion, when an existing system fails and needs replacing, and when commercial sites require new site plan review.

East Hampton Town’s proposal to institute new standards for wastewater treatment — requiring the installation of new technology systems that remove much of the nitrogen that seeps into and pollutes ground and surface waters — and a proposed rebate program that would help residents pay to switch out old systems got widespread approval at a public hearing before the town board last week.

Under the proposed law, installation of one of the new nitrogen-reducing systems would be required for new construction, when undertaking a substantial expansion, when an existing system fails and needs replacing, and when commercial sites require new site plan review.

T.E. McMorrow
June 22, 2017
Neighbors express concern about NextEra Energy Resources' proposed battery facility near the Dune Alpin subdivision in East Hampton.

A group of residents of the Cove Hollow and Dune Alpin area of East Hampton have until Wednesday to file written objections with the East Hampton Town Planning Board to a proposed East Hampton battery-cell facility that is intended to draw electricity at off-peak hours, then release it back into the local grid when needed.

At a planning board meeting on June 7,  at which the board was reviewing the facility’s site plan, it was reported that the energy stored there on racks of lithium-ion batteries would be able to power 4,000 buildings for up to 8 hours. However, several neighbors expressed concern, if not outright alarm, at the proposal.