Dim Lights and Dirty Restrooms

Marilyn Behan, left, and Diane Hausman joined East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione to lead the meeting.
After winning the election at the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee for the positions of secretary and chairwoman, Marilyn Behan, left, and Diane Hausman joined East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione to lead the meeting. Janis Hewitt

     Some Montauk residents say the dim lighting in the hamlet’s business district is unsafe, and they want the town to turn up the lights downtown.
    At Monday’s monthly meeting of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, Kathleen Beckmann, who lives on Main Street at the eastern end of the hamlet and who like others has noticed the new, brighter lights in East Hampton Village, wondered if Montauk could receive the same treatment. Ms. Beckmann also said she has watched in frustration each night as police officers remove the pedestrian cones near her house at about 5 p.m. She said she asked them why, and was told the cones are taken away at night because cars often knock them down.
    “I don’t know who to talk to about that but I’d like to see it improved,” Ms. Beckmann said.
    Crosswalks, said others in the audience, create the most dangerous areas.
    Jim Grimes, a volunteer with the Montauk Fire Department, said the department is frequently called to Main Street in summer for accidents caused by unsafe conditions. Instead of launching yet another study, as one committee member suggested, “We might find that illumination fixes the problem,” he said.
    “It’s bad for business if people get hit on Main Street. It’s like sharks; sharks are bad for business, we don’t want sharks,” said Councilman Dominick Stanzione, the town board liaison to the committee. The board is moving toward a resolution on Montauk lighting, he said.
    Four people were nominated for the positions of chairmen and secretary at the start of the meeting. John Chimples and Diane Hausman were nominated for the chairmanship, with Ms. Hausman, who presided over the committee in the 1980s, winning 17 to 11. Ms. Hausman, who is president of the Montauk School Board, was asked before the vote if that could be a conflict of interest, but she and other committee members decided it was not.
    Marilyn Behan and Julie Brumm were nominated for secretary, with Ms. Behan receiving 18 votes to Ms. Brumm’s 9. Ms. Behan, who ran unsuccessfully for the town board in November, observed jokingly that now she was one for two in elections.
    “May it be the first of many elections to win,” said Mr. Stanzione.
    Lisa Grenci, who had held both positions, announced last month that after 15 years she was finished serving as chairwoman, but would remain a member. After taking her seat in the audience she received a vigorous round of applause. Linda Barnds, who was the acting secretary, did not run for the job.
    The new officers got right down to work on the agenda. On the subject of restrooms, one member said the ones in Montauk are not clearly identified for visitors, and asked Mr. Stanzione to ask the town board for better signs.
    The new town-owned restrooms that were built last summer on South Edison Street near the Sloppy Tuna look “as if a bomb has dropped on them,” said Dan Stavola, who recently joined the committee. He asked what the town was doing to improve the surrounding area.    
    Not much, Mr. Stanzione replied, as town funding limits any new projects. The councilman suggested that the Chamber of Commerce, or, as one member suggested, the Montauk Village Association, get involved and beautify the area. “The M.V.A. or chamber would move much faster than town government,” said Mr. Stanzione.  
    “You know, we pay taxes. We are not necessarily getting our value here,” said Mr. Grimes.
    Mr. Stanzione promised to tell the town board everything that had been discussed and return next month with some solutions. “I’m looking forward to bringing them back because I’m going to outperform here,” he said with a big smile.
    Membership in the advisory committee has continued to grow, with more business owners joining each month.