Plan May Provide Relief After Decade-Plus Wait for Loo

Restrooms Suggested for Amagansett Square

    With share houses, taxis, and beer can-fouled beaches fading with the summer sun, the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee’s meeting on Monday night saw a smaller turnout than in recent months.

    The issue of a public restroom in Amagansett — which has become something of an inside joke among the committee what with a lack of action despite years of discussion — was abruptly pushed to the front burner when Britton Bistrian, a land-use consultant and member of the committee, announced that her client Randy Lerner, who owns the Amagansett Square complex, has proposed to construct a building there that would house two unisex restrooms and a retail space.

    Mr. Lerner is willing to shoulder a majority of the cost, estimated at $200,000 to $250,000, Ms. Bistrian said. “It’s very conceptual now,” she told the committee, but “we’ve worked out, somewhat, the design and layout.”

    Early in 2001, Pat Mansir, then a town councilwoman, worked on plans for a public bathroom at Amagansett Square, which she had proposed in 1998, Ms. Bistrian said. “Pat had done a huge amount of work,” she said. The project “requires a lot of approvals, but does not require a variance to town code.”

    The site proposed is between The Salon and Day Spa and the westerly side of the parking lot that wraps around the complex. Construction could be completed by May, Ms. Bistrian said, provided the public supported the project and full funding was secured.

    The proposal, Ms. Bistrian told The Star in an e-mail on Tuesday, calls for a 368-square-foot structure with a 96-square-foot covered porch. Each restroom would house one toilet and a sink. A 209-square-foot retail space would be attached to the facility.

    “Is there any reason we wouldn’t think this is wonderful?” Jeanne Frankl, a member of the committee, asked her colleagues. There was silence.

    The discussion then turned to the long-proposed restroom on the north side of Main Street, in the commercial district’s parking lot. Would a restroom on the south side of Main Street serve the businesses on the north side, asked Tom Field, a member of the committee. “Would it stop people coming to the library to use their bathroom?”

    “I imagine it would cut down some,” said Kieran Brew, the committee’s chairman.

    “Why would it be bad to have a bathroom in both parking lots?” Mr. Field asked.

    “It’s also a question of volume. Amagansett is much, much busier” than in the past, Mr. Brew said. “We should support Mr. Lerner’s plan, but [a second restroom] is a valid argument.”

    “The disparate setup is a good idea,” said John Broderick, of the committee. “If you think of what it’s like in the square in the summer, on a Saturday.
. . . I’m a fan of both sides of the street, just because of the volume.”

    After further discussion, Ms. Frankl suggested the committee let the town board know that it “strongly supports the idea of building a restroom in Amagansett Square.” The motion was seconded, and all in attendance agreed.

    “The idea of having a public bathroom in the square is great,” said Mr. Brew, “but at the same time, not in lieu of the plan to have one in the back,” on the north side of Main Street.

    Also at the meeting, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, the committee’s liaison to the town board, relayed some thoughts about the summer. Conditions in the parking lot at Indian Wells Beach, she said, were improved by changes implemented before the season began, chiefly the placement of an attended booth at the entrance to the lot. Parents, she said, “felt their kids were safe. There weren’t so many cars. We know the parking issue was helped a lot on Saturday and Sunday for locals. That was a big step forward.”

    Less successful, she said, was the effort to control litter. “A lot of household garbage was found there at the trash cans,” she said. The young adults who hold large parties at the beach “love to drink and throw beer cans on the sand.”

    “The crowd was still there, but the effects weren’t bad. . . . For the most part, I thought it worked very well,” said Mr. Brew.