Government Briefs 06.27.13

East Hampton Town

Eye on Burying Power Lines

    East Hampton Town will look into the possibility of obtaining state funding to cover 75 percent of the cost of having utility lines from East Hampton to Montauk placed underground, as part of a New York State Office of Emergency Management program designed to mitigate the risks and impacts of future storms.

    John Keeshan, a Montauk real estate agent who has been advocating the underground power lines for some time, told the town board last week that the total cost of the project could be $8 million. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said that a tax district, through which residents of the affected areas would be charged to reimburse the town for its portion of the cost, could be set up.

    Board members agreed unanimously to submit an inquiry to the state about the funding as long as the initial query does not obligate the town to proceed with the project.

Two Open-Space Land Buys

    After hearings last Thursday on two land purchases, the East Hampton Town Board voted unanimously to buy the properties with money from the community preservation fund and to add them to the list of holdings for which money from the fund may be used for upkeep and other management and stewardship.

     A lot on East Lake Drive in Montauk, just shy of an acre, will be purchased for $60,000 from Kathryn McGeehan to preserve open space. In East Hampton, almost half an acre at 36 Oyster Shores Road will be bought from the Edward Virgilio Irrevocable Trust and Louise Virgilio for $240,000. That purchase is also being made to preserve open space.

Money for Wastewater Plan

    Three town board members agreed last week to appropriate $200,000 in surplus money to pay for a townwide comprehensive wastewater management plan, which could result in recommendations for septic waste treatment and system upgrades. An outside consultant has been chosen to compile the plan.

    Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted against the resolution.

Arts Council Is a Go

    East Hampton artists who asked the town board to establish an East Hampton Arts Council got their way last Thursday night. With a unanimous vote, the board established a group that will “advise the town on issues concerning the arts and various artists, including education opportunities, business opportunities, areas for performing and producing art, and interface with various artist groups, businesses, museums, and associations.”

    It will have from 7 to 12 members to be appointed annually by the board, and a town board member will serve on the council as a liaison.

Yes to Sand at Ditch Plain

    Patrick Bistrian Jr. will be paid $85,680 to place sand on an area of the beach at Ditch Plain in Montauk so that the town can open the beach as a lifeguarded bathing area this summer. The town board approved a bid from the Bistrian company last Thursday night. Severe erosion had left much of the waterfront area at Ditch with exposed hardpan and rocks, and lifeguards had determined that it was unsafe to use as a bathing beach.

    With conditions changing continually, and an accretion of sand normally occurring at this time of year, the board also voted last week to allow the town lifeguards, who are monitoring the beach condition, to make the decision as to whether Ditch is opened for bathing.    J.P.

Southampton Town
Beach Erosion Control Districts

    New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. have announced that their bill to allow the Town of Southampton to diminish the Bridgehampton and Sagaponack Beach Erosion Control Districts has passed both the Senate and Assembly, and will go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    The Town of Southampton established its beach erosion control districts to rebuild protective beaches and dunes along the ocean. The project will bring approximately 2.5 million tons of sand to renourish the beaches between Flying Point in Water Mill and Townline Road in Sagaponack.

    The $26 million project will be financed by taxes paid by beachfront homeowners, based on assessed value and oceanfront footage. The new legislation has been written to exempt those oceanfront property owners who have already protected their parcels by exchanging development rights for a reduction in taxes.

    A press release said that the money will be borrowed by the town and paid back over a period of 10 years through the district tax levy.