There are an awful lot of people up in a place called The Springs who are sick and tired of their neighbors, because their neighbors like to park heavy duty work trucks all over the place and leave them there for the rest of the neighborhood to look at.
(In case you’re from the other side of the island, The Springs is a sprawling, traditionally working class hamlet north of East Hampton on the east side of Three Mile Harbor, known for its artist community and its beautiful light, its high school taxes and tiny house lots. Most people just call the place “Springs” with the exception of people who’ve been there forever and people who want you to think they’ve been there forever.)
Well, a bunch of people who live in The Springs have had it with the trucks, and they’ve convinced East Hampton Town to consider banning large trucks from parking overnight on the street and banning more than two truck in each driveway in town.
Last Thursday night, they came to town hall armed with photographs and exhibits of all sorts of landscaping trucks and trailers, vans and dump trucks, trucks with snowplow attachments and other examples of the broad range of truck-dum. It would have been a four-year-old’s paradise if the neighborhood wasn’t hopping mad.
The town is proposing two laws to address the issue. One would ban parking of commercial vehicles on the street, and the other would limit the number of commercial trucks people are allowed to keep on their property to two commercial trucks weighing less than 14,000 pounds each.
Some people who live in The Springs, like Alex Sneeden, said they thought 14,000 pounds was too darn big. He said the EPA describes “light duty trucks” as those weighing less than 8,500 pounds.
Connie Kenney said Southampton’s law limits truck size in residential areas to 10,000 pounds.
“No one would argue that tractor trailers shouldn’t park in residential areas,” she said. “The fine point is to decide which are acceptable and which are not.”
She pointed out that in her neighborhood on Harbor Boulevard, a wood chipper is constantly parked at the end of the street. In her neighbor’s yard are several box trucks, a boat that hasn’t moved in years, and a truck that is used for storage in the driveway.
Ruth Nasca, who lives on Carl’s Road, said her neighbor’s house looks like a used Ford yard, with a broken down old Ford van and two dump trucks parked out front, along with five cars that her neighbors use when they’re not driving trucks.
David Buda said it is crucial to define the weight of trucks that can be parked in residential areas, in order to make the town code enforceable and ‘close a loophole big enough to drive a Mac truck through.”
No one laughed. People often don’t laugh at town board meetings.
“That was a joke,” he said.
He also said he thinks trailers should be regulated.
Martin Drew, who lives in Springs, said he doesn’t want anyone to take away the utility trailer he has in his yard.
Only one person at the hearings seemed concerned about the drivers of the trucks.
Iris Osborn, who lives in Wainscott, said a lot of former volunteer firemen and EMTs have moved out of town, and some of the few that are left would be in violation of the of the new code.
“We have lost all these working people: plumbers, carpenters, electricians. They have all moved away. They can’t afford to live here,” she said. “The ones who are here, a lot are living in Springs. It was originally the least expensive housing. Now it’s the most expensive taxes.”
“You have to consider the working people,” she said. “It’s wonderful to have a community with no trucks, but who’s going to service the people who live in those communities? The fire departments are looking for volunteers. My husband’s group had 50. Now they’re down to ten.”
The public hearing is now closed, and the board is still mulling over the proposed law. In the meantime, all you landscapers and masons, plumbers and carpenters from all over the East End, if you are considering an overnight visit to your lover in Springs, you might want to consider weighing your truck first to make sure you won’t violate any new laws that could harm your burgeoning relationship.
If you already live in Springs and you own more big trucks than you will be allowed to fit in your driveway, the town is considering opening up a truck yard where you can keep them. More to come.