In its first meeting of the new fiscal year, the East Hampton Village Board considered and quickly adopted three laws aimed at tightening existing regulations and reducing vehicular traffic on Huntting Lane, and fielded a request for new signage regarding pets in cars.
As previously reported in The Star, one proposed amendment would clarify the requirements for a resident beach-parking permit. Only those related by blood or marriage to village property owners are legally qualified for the permit. The proposed amendment requires an affidavit signed and notarized by the property owner attesting to the relationship and that the relative is currently residing at the property owner’s residence.
Susan McGuirk, who said she and her siblings own a house in the village, told the board she was “interested in how this came to be a problem.”
“We had some abuses this year in particular, where people alleged that they were nuclear members of a family,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. answered. “It turned out the house in question was rented and there was no one in the nuclear family living there, and they tried to usurp what was a very generous gesture on the behalf of the village.” He reiterated that a legitimate nuclear-family member of a village resident is entitled to a permit if they are living in the property owner’s house.
“I still think it’s a little ambiguous,” Barbara Borsack of the board said of the amendment. “You could have different family members coming out every weekend. Are they all entitled to a beach sticker every time a new family member comes to visit for the weekend?”
Linda Riley, the village attorney, said that “ ‘Residing,’ not visiting,” is the key word. “Visitors don’t get permits.”
“I still think it’s a little ambiguous,” Ms. Borsack said. “I think they can come in and say, ‘This relative is living with me this week,’ and next week, another one.”
Property owners will have to have an affidavit, the mayor said. “They’re going to have to swear to it. It’s very specific.”
Ms. Riley said that proof of residency, in the form of documents such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, automobile registration, utility bill, or income tax return, was required. Ms. Borsack was satisfied with the explanation.
With no comment from the board or public, the board also voted unanimously to codify its policy that mass assembly permits for events to be held on commercial premises are issued only when the event is to be held indoors. Similarly, a unanimous vote prohibits all parking, standing, or stopping on both sides of Huntting Lane from the intersection of Huntting Lane and Main Street easterly a distance of 676 feet.
The mayor then asked if anyone else cared to address the board. Lynn Lehocky, who said she is a village resident, stood before the board and requested that signs alerting people to a law against, and penalty for, leaving pets unattended in cars be erected in the village. Ms. Lehocky, who told The Star that she served on the board of Pennsylvania’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, cited the recent report of a dog that died of heat exposure after being left in a car in Bridgehampton.
Such signage has recently been erected in Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village, as well as in some privately owned parking lots, she said. She showed a sample sign, said that it cost approximately $30, and offered to pay for signs for the village. “The signs, I think, act as a deterrent to people who are not aware that it is a law,” she said, “and it also empowers people who see what’s happening to report it.”
Mayor Rickenbach said he was sympathetic, but that “in many respects the Village of East Hampton is very suspect with new signage. We try to keep it at a minimum.” He said that while he and the board are animal lovers, “if we did it for animals, I would submit that we should likewise remind people that they should not leave their children in the car. I applaud the fact that you’re here . . . but am a little resistant to putting signage up.” He wondered aloud if there was another way to educate the public.
Ms. Lehocky said she was open to any ideas, but that “it seems to be epidemic. . . . Even with windows somewhat down, the temperatures skyrocket to a point very quickly where they can kill the animal.”
Richard Lawler, a board member, suggested a notification within stores, given that that is where people parking their cars tend to go.
The mayor suggested that Ms. Lehocky contact Becky Molinaro, the village administrator, who would put her in touch with the East Hampton Business Alliance and Chamber of Commerce “to work with them to have some type of notification in the stores. I think that’s a very valid option,” he said. “We support what you’re saying, I’m just very averse to the signage.”
The mayor also issued a proclamation congratulating WLNG, which marked its 50th anniversary on Aug. 13. Citing the Sag Harbor radio station’s value in providing current event and cultural information to its audience, he presented the proclamation to Rusty Potz, the station’s executive vice president. “We thank you for a job well done, and we look forward to another 50,” he told Mr. Potz.