Signs, Surveillance in Village

    Further discussion about an upcoming change to the laws governing the size of real estate and construction signs was eclipsed at Friday’s East Hampton Village Board meeting by a preliminary talk about placing cameras in the Reutershan parking lot behind Main Street.
    The cameras, said Lt. Anthony Long of the village police, “would help us perform our duties more effectively,” assisting the traffic control officers by recording license plates that enter and leave the parking lot, and automatically mailing a summons to those who loiter longer than the prescribed two-hour limit.
    Lieutenant Long spoke to the board about starting a pilot program in July “to see how it goes,” but the board, and the audience, had many questions.
    “What about people who park two hours, go around the block, and then park again for another two hours?” asked Barbara Borsack, the deputy mayor.
    Mary Ella Moeller, a frequent attendee at board meetings, brought up another point. “What if you have a handicapped sign you hang over your rear-view mirror?” she asked. “That lets you park for three hours.”
    “Right off the bat you’re hearing the concerns of the board,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said to Lieutenant Long. He suggested that a full presentation be made at a later date.
    The proposed law on the size of signs had been amended from an earlier incarnation. Real estate signs and contractors’ signs are currently limited to seven square feet, which the village board finds “unnecessarily large,” according to the new draft of the legislation.
    “The posting of such large signs, together with what has become a proliferation of such signs, detracts from the aesthetic appeal of the village as a whole,” reads the law.
    It points to other nearby municipalities — like Westhampton Beach and Shelter Island — which have enacted new laws to limit those signs. The new law would limit the size to 18 by 18 inches, and signs would have to be square.
    Only one-sided signs would be permitted, and they would have to be displayed parallel to the street, rather than the current method, with two-sided signs hanging perpendicular to the street and several smaller signs hanging below. Those add-on signs would be banned under the new law.
    A hearing on the proposed law will be held on March 16 at 11 a.m.
    Another amendment, this time to the definition of gross floor area, will also be put to a public hearing on the same day. The new law would require that stairwells and interior spaces with ceilings higher than 15 feet be counted twice toward the total allowable area, as if those high-ceiling areas were two stories.
    Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, gave an update on Georgica Beach and road-end work there. “Now we’re thinking that the road reconstruction can start in April, with a completion date of June 15,” he said, adding that there would be “some blackout dates,” like Memorial Day weekend.
    The beach, which was severely eroded by Hurricane Irene and again by a January squall, will be restructured “pretty simultaneously,” Mr. Cantwell said, with a planned completion date of May 15.