Minutes, September 23, 2013

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Call to order

1. Attendance: members present

Cathie Gandel, Carey Millard, Jeff Mansfield, Alejandro Saralegui, Fred Cammann, Jenice Delano, Weezie Quimby, Julie Burmeister, Leonard Davenport, Gay Lynch, Norm Lowe, Nancy Walter-Yvertes, Christine Chew Smith, Phyllis Davis

Guests:

Councilwoman Christine Scalera, Tom Neely, Director of Public Transportation; Christine Fetten, Director of Municipal Works, Geri Bauer, Bridgehampton homeowner and Cynthia Dennis from the Topping Rose House.

Press: Annette Hinkle, Sag Harbor Express

The meeting was televised by SeaTV.

2. Minutes of August 26, 2013 were approved unanimously upon a motion by Julie Burmeister, seconded by Norm Lowe.

3. Councilwoman Scalera introduced Tom Neely and Christine Fetton. Ms. Scalera commented that clarification of the Parking Tax line on our tax bills is underway and she will report findings to the CAC at the next meeting.

Storm water management.

Ms. Fetton gave a power point presentation about keeping local waters clean through good management of storm water runoff and household waste water. She outlined the goals the Town is seeking to achieve and the education and outreach programs initiated. Some points covered in her presentation included keeping contaminants out of the system by further regulating them, using local firewood to prevent invasive insects from killing tree root systems that hold soil in place, managing home septic systems, cutting back on automobile idling which releases pollutants into the air, and encouraging public involvement through school events and public meetings. Homeowners should be aware of potential contaminants used by landscapers hired to work on their property.

October 23rd is Household Hazardous Waste day at Hampton Bays Recycling Center, 30 Jackson Ave., Hampton Bays.

Several members asked questions and mentioned runoff problems in their specific neighborhoods.

Church Lane between Montauk Highway and School Street has severe runoff problems. There are no storm drains. There are no storm drains in this area. Ms. Fetten and Mr. Neely agreed to look into the situation.

The Development off of Ocean Road on the former Topping property has the potential for serious flooding. The Town does not check site plans for single homes for potential runoff problems; however subdivisions are handled differently. Individuals with complaints about runoff problems can call the Town Council to be directed to the appropriate person to address the problem.

4. Parking in Bridgehampton

Tom Neely reported that the Town had reviewed the parking spaces in Bridgehampton in 2005-06 and it was estimated that there were about 450 spaces in the hamlet, some 240 of them in the three municipal lots.  There is long term parking available to permit holders at the Railroad Station and the lot behind the Candy Kitchen.  Leonard Davenport suggested that the reserved spaces for long term at the School Street parking be eliminated and that the entire lot be open for long term parking with permit and that signage at the school street parking lot reflect that.

In response to a question, Mr. Neely also said that the Town had approached Newman Village about giving over excess parking spaces there for municipal parking and had been turned down.

Several members were surprised to learn that anyone can purchase a long term parking sticker. There are no local residency requirements.  Recently only 29% of permit holders were locals. Members generally felt this was unfair to local residents.

Cynthia Dennis from the Topping Rose House mentioned that complaints about workers and customers using the “Starbucks” parking lot had ceased since they have made an arrangement with the Baptist Church on the Turnpike to use that lot when not used by the congregation. Topping Rose provides valet service for patrons.

Gay Lynch asked about results from traffic counters placed on Lumber Lane. Traffic there has grown over 2%. Gay suggested that the congestion at the corner was so great that Lumber Lane should be made a one way street.

In answer to a query about speed bumps on Lockwood Avenue, Mr. Neely said that he had not known of the speed bump plan, which was a project of Alex Gregor, the head of the Highway Department.

Discussion of parking problems and possible solutions will be continued at future CAC meetings.

5. Planning Board

Cathie Gandel reported that there are three Bridgehampton projects which are, or will be, before the Planning Board.

The former Ackerman property at Lumber Lane and Montauk Highway.

The commercial/residential project at Butter Lane and Montauk Highway designed by Fred Stelle.

The Equinox gym buildings on the Konner property across from Bridgehampton Commons.

6. Old business

Horse farms

The proliferation of commercial horse ventures with large barns and ancillary buildings on land designated for agricultural uses by NY State agriculture and markets law in 2011 was addressed. A concern was that land, whose development rights had been purchased by CPF funds and the property taxes thereby reduced, is bought at these lower rates by wealthy people who are taking advantage of the tax supported funding.

Jenice Delano met with Fred Thiele to discuss possible changes to the ag and mkt law.

Ag preserves required by the Town as a percentage of developed property have also been seen to be overbuilt upon. Nancy Walter-Yvertes pointed out that neighborhood opposition to overlarge barns could be effective.  Jenice Delano suggested that the Town Attorney’s office be asked about taxes on ag preserves.

Cathie Gandel suggested the CAC send a resolution to the Town expressing concerns about the size and placement of buildings on ag reserves for commercial horse farms. The resolution was proposed by Phyllis Davis, seconded by Ale Saralegui and passed unanimously.  It reads:  The Bridgehampton CAC takes note of the number of properties being developed as horse farms, both commercial and private, and is concerned about the size of the buildings on these properties. We see that the barns for 20plus horses are being suggested, along with indoor riding arenas, and housing for personnel. We are concerned that these large buildings detract from the open space and vistas that are important to Hamlet residents.

After further discussion about how properties where development rights have been bought by the Community Preservation Fund are being used, Jeff Mansfield suggested that the CAC ask the Town to look at CPF legislation in light of unforeseen consequences of the law as it now stands. The CAC voted to send a resolution to the Town. It reads: The Bridgehampton CAC requests that the Town revisit the CPF legislation in light of unforeseen consequences resulting from the law as it stands now, notably the proliferation of commercial horse boarding operations which, we acknowledge, are permitted under the Ags/Markets.  We ask the Town to investigate whether, in addition to purchasing development rights, the CPF can purchase certain agricultural rights (for example, the right to run a horse farm) so that the land could be used for purposes that are more limited than are now permitted.
Additionally, the BHCAC requests that the town provide us with a report of all properties in Bridgehampton purchased under the CPF and other agricultural preserve programs in terms of:

A. their current use:

1. annual farm crops

2. vineyard

3. open pasture

4. horse farms

5. parkland

6. tree farms

7. other or mixed

8. historic places

B. Number and size of buildings or structures

C. Percent of obstruction of Vista preservation from adjacent roadways

1. hedges

2. Other plantings

3. Structures, including residences

4. other

Old business

Carey Millard said that the CAC might write to Anna Throne Holst in favor of preventing development of Pine Barrens property in East Quogue. After some discussion, Leonard Davenport proposed that a more general resolution be sent covering CPF purchases and their development– to read: In principle, the Bridgehampton CAC supports the Town’s efforts to protect large areas of open space in order to preserve our natural resources, including groundwater, wetlands, woodland habitats, and wildlife species.

New business

Carey Millard announced that AT&T has proposed building a new 120 foot wireless tower on Foster Avenue just north of the Bridgehampton railroad station.  On October 10 there will be a scoping session at Town Hall which CAC members are urged to attend.

She also reported that Raymond Topping’s large field between Ocean Road and Halsey, contained many acres, maybe 30. Of that total acreage 19.6 have been sold for a family compound, consisting of one large house and 4 parcels for the children of the owners. There will be a Planning Board public hearing on Thursday, Oct. 10th at Town Hall.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05.

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