A request from Sag Harbor Village to the East Hampton Town Trustees to discuss ways to manage an all-but-unregulated seasonal anchorage is an example of how demands on the area’s natural resources and infrastructure have outpaced government control.
Hurricane Sandy, which had a significant, though not catastrophic, impact on the East End, has been described as a turning point for coastal policy — only it’s not true here on the highly vulnerable East End. Instead, local officials have been mired in a 1960s-era strategy embodied by the United States Army Corps of Engineers downtown Montauk project. There seems to be little more than a hope that sometime this year the Army Corps will unveil a magical plan for a vast undertaking for most of Long Island’s south shore. This is a dangerous failure of leadership.
Sag Harbor officials are moving ahead with new, tough rules to regulate the size of houses in reaction to a spate of super-sizing, which has left many aghast over changes to their beloved village. The changes are overdue and should, perhaps, be made even tougher.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo renewed his push for a smaller New York this week. Well, not exactly, but for a smaller bite into its residents’ pocketbooks, to be achieved through municipal consolidation. The governor is putting the state’s money where his mouth is, offering a $20 million reward to the local government partnership that achieves the greatest reduction in property taxes. Here on the South Fork, when one thinks about consolidation, one thinks of school districts, among which taxing disparity can be stunning.
East Hampton Town’s planned purchase of the development rights on the 35-acre Whitmores landscaping nursery on Long Lane presents a dilemma. On the one hand, the $3.2 million deal would prevent the site’s ever being turned into a housing development. On the other, it does not appear to do much for the town as a whole, provide public access, or assure the land’s return to crop growing. A hearing on the purchase is scheduled for tonight at 6:30 in Town Hall.
That the East Hampton School District might radically overhaul its entire energy and heating approach is intriguing news. If the school board signs on, Johnson Controls, a leading national firm, would install 634-kilowatts of solar panels atop the district’s three schools. It would also improve the way oil is burned for heating, decrease heat loss and gain in classroom windows, and seek to make doors more airtight. The heating systems in the three buildings would have better insulation and power-wasting light fixtures would be replaced.
Come January and February — and, come to think of it, March — when the days are cold and the nights colder, cultural events are few and far between. This isn’t really surprising; half the year-round population of the South Fork is in Florida or Rincon, Puerto Rico, and the other half doesn’t feel like leaving the house. Yet for those motivated to put on an overcoat and venture out, there are options.
A little-noticed aspect in the debate about East Hampton Town’s newly approved landlords’ registry is that even after it goes into effect in February, the town’s rental laws will remain among the most generous on eastern Long Island.
New drones weighing more than half a pound must be registered with the F.A.A., and the agency has reminded owners that drones cannot be flown within five miles of an airport, unless air traffic controllers are notified in advance.