Government Briefs

East Hampton Town

North Main Traffic Circle?

    Members of the East Hampton-Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee have asked town officials to revisit an idea for a traffic circle at the foot of Three Mile Harbor and Springs-Fireplace Roads, where they hit North Main Street in East Hampton.

    Potential actions to alleviate traffic back-ups in the area were originally addressed in a 2003 “North Main Street Corridor Study,” which became a part of the 2005 updated town comprehensive plan.

    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson agreed on Tuesday to contact the county, which owns sections of the roads involved, about having a traffic study done.

Trees in Airspace

    Trees surrounding East Hampton Airport have grown into airspace that must be kept clear, the Federal Aviation Administration has informed the town. Fixing the issue will be more complicated, and costly, than just trimming the treetops, the East Hampton Town Board learned Tuesday from Dennis Yap, an airport consultant.

    The area in question encompasses 50 acres, he said, and a survey must be done to identify the problematic trees, and those expected to grow too tall in the coming years.

    In the meantime, the town must seek approval from the F.A.A. for modifications to the angle of takeoff and descent for planes, so as to avoid the offending trees.

    The survey, to be conducted this year, is estimated to cost $35,000 to $40,000, while engineering fees, a federally required environmental review, and an F.A.A. inspection following the work next year would run another $30,000 to $35,000, Mr. Yap told the board. Board members had expressed frustration that a seemingly simple process would be so involved and costly.

Water Skiers Beware

    Dale Petruska, an East Hampton Marine Patrol officer, told the town board on Tuesday that areas of Three Mile Harbor designated for water skiing have become too shallow to safely allow the sport. Dredging of the harbor, he said, has resulted in sand moving along the bottomlands, leaving parts of the water-ski zone only three feet deep.

    However, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, a boatman and a longtime water skier, said that the area has always been shallow and that boats used for water skiing do not draw much water. “Certain activities have inherent risks,” he said.

    Councilwoman Theresa Quigley expressed concern about limiting recreational activities. “Having said that,” said Ms. Quigley, whose daughter was injured last summer while swimming in the ocean, “I, of all people, understand the risks of a water accident.” Both she and Councilman Dominick Stanzione said that they were not comfortable making a decision about the skiing area. But Supervisor Wilkinson said that “mine is not to question. They’re making a call that this is unsafe.”

Ocean Currents on Radar

    Radar equipment to collect data on ocean currents and waves could be installed along an East Hampton beach if the town board approves a request from the Coastal Ocean Observation lab at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

    Ethan Handel, a research coordinator at the lab, told the board on Tuesday that an East Hampton site is needed to fill a gap in a system of 30 data-collection sites from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras.

    A 35-foot transmission antenna and a smaller receiver antenna would be set on the dunes, anchored by thin guy wires in a 20-foot radius and wired to a small enclosure with computer equipment. An area near the bathroom at Ditch Plain beach in Montauk has been identified as an ideal site, Mr. Handel said, though other spots, as long as electricity is available, could be considered.

    Mr. Handel said that with the data collected, maps are made of what the ocean is doing, every hour, up to about 100 miles offshore, and that the information is used by the Coast Guard when planning search and rescue missions and can be used in making decisions about coastal erosion and beaches.

No Employee Jackets

    A budget transfer that would have enabled Supervisor Wilkinson to spend $7,000 on jackets for town employees — in what the supervisor described as a reward program — was defeated in a vote last Thursday night.

    Ms. Quigley was the only board member beside Mr. Wilkinson to vote for the measure. Mr. Stanzione abstained from the vote, and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby voted no. She had suggested at an earlier meeting that the town might have other more pressing needs for the funds. Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc was absent from the vote.