Parking and New Chairman

A forthcoming addition to the municipal parking lot behind Amagansett Main Street was the focus of Monday night’s meeting of the hamlet’s citizens advisory committee, whose members wound up agreeing that what the lot really needs, besides more parking spaces, is a timed ticket machine like those in East Hampton Village.

Before the meeting was over, however, the chairwoman, Vicki Littman, announced that she was stepping down and, after considerable back and forth, Jim McMillan was elected to replace her.

“Right now, the lot is not efficient,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who reports back to the town board on the committee’s concerns. “People park illegally and don’t worry about it. You have a central business district parking lot that’s essentially used for long-term parking.”

Weekenders who ride the Jitney often leave their cars in the lot until they return, committee members said, and the situation is exacerbated during the summer when spots at nearby beaches fill up early and latecomers use the Main Street lot.

Tina Piette asked Mr. Cantwell why the town’s seasonal traffic control officers do not ticket overtime vehicles. “Trying to enforce timed parking in a parking lot, marking tires, is not as simple as you might think,” he replied. “It wasn’t until the village put in ticket machines that it really worked.” The supervisor was the East Hampton Village administrator at the time.

Currently, the Amagansett lot has about 155 spaces. The northeast corner, where land is being purchased, will have about 40 more, Mr. Cantwell said, which will be for “employees all day long, and for people who live in apartments” nearby, with identifying stickers. Most of the remaining spaces will have a two-hour limit, he said, except for long-term parking, whose duration has not been determined. “We need to decide. Overnight? Three days?”

The design of the addition is complete, he said. All that remains is to “close the transaction,” meaning the purchase of the land itself. It was unanimously resolved to recommend the installation of a ticket-spitter. Use of the redesigned lot will remain free.

A discussion of the recent hamlet study report on Amagansett was postponed until next month, following Mr. Cantwell’s suggestion that committee members take time to watch the June 3 proceedings on the study on LTV and “see if we can build a consensus of opinion on what the committee supports and what not.”

“I think some of the recommendations should be weighed up,” he said, citing both a proposed “east side business district” and the central core. Members agreed to put off the discussion and to invite a representative of the town’s Planning Department to their next meeting, July 10. 

With only the election of new officers remaining on the agenda, the evening appeared to be winding down, but appearances proved deceiving. 

Ms. Littman announced that she has a busy time ahead, with a daughter applying to colleges, and would be stepping down after two years in office. Suiting action to words, she took a chair in the audience, after which the meeting was opened to nominations for chairman, vice chairman, and secretary.

Rona Klopman and Kammy Wolf were duly renominated for second terms as co-secretaries, and unanimously elected. When it came to vice chairman, however, Ms. Piette intervened, questioning whether there was a quorum of voting members in the room. Betty Mazur, a former chairwoman, commented that “the problem with C.A.C.s is that if we have too many members, and they don’t come, we don’t have a quorum.” (Amagansett has 38 members, 18 of whom were there.)

“I would like a list of names,” Ms. Piette said. “No,” said Ms. Mazur. “Robert’s Rules says you don’t give the names.”

Ms. Piette then took strong exception to the election itself, saying there should have been more notice that one was to take place that night and suggesting it be postponed until July. Members had been sent emails with the evening’s agenda four days before, and she implied that was not enough time for some who might want to run to plan to attend.

Carl Hamilton, alone in the back row, stood up and proposed a compromise: Nominations tonight, elections next month; anyone interested could come then and be nominated as well. The motion was seconded and voted on, but it failed, 9 to 5, with three abstentions. Quickly then, Ms. Littman was nominated for vice chairwoman and elected, 16 to 1.

Mr. McMillan, the current vice chairman, had just been nominated for the top job when Mr. Hamilton stood again and nominated Ms. Piette. Debby Pratt seconded, and now there was a contest.

“Because two people are running, we are having written ballots,” Ms. Mazur said. Paper was torn up, pieces passed around, and someone appointed Supervisor Cantwell counter-in-chief.  This time the vote was 12 to 6. Mr. McMillan was elected the new chairman of the committee.