In East Hampton, Cantwell Sets Course For 2016
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell laid out a broad range of goals for 2016 in remarks to the public at his swearing-in Tuesday morning for his second two-year term in office, including a plan to work with Southampton Hospital on a 24-hour emergency facility in East Hampton, and plans to replace the old town hall building and the senior center on Springs-Fireplace Road.
“We’re in preliminary discussions with Southampton Hospital to bring a year round, 24-7 emergency care facility to the Town of East Hampton,” he said. “It would be a major improvement for the ambulance services in our town, and a game changer in providing health care services to the community we live in.”
Mr. Cantwell said that once Southampton Hospital builds a new hospital on the Stony Brook Southampton campus, as planned, the hospital will be even farther away from East Hampton than it is now.
The aging brick town hall building behind the new town hall on Pantigo Road has been unoccupied since the new town hall was completed half a decade ago, and Mr. Cantwell said the town will be moving forward this year with plans to redevelop the site and sell 11,000 square feet of office space that the town is currently occupying on Pantigo Place, a short drive from the existing town hall.
“I can’t tell you how inefficient it is to have town offices spread out across these locations,” he said. “People come to this building to pay their taxes and then have to get in their car… Consolidating our operations onto this campus will be a big improvement to services to public.”
He added that the senior center has reached the end of its useable life, and will also need to be replaced.
Mr. Cantwell said the town intends to sell the 3.5-acre site of its closed scavenger waste site on Springs-Fireplace Road, which is currently being remediated but is in a prime commercial-industrial location.
He also said the town is in negotiations with three prospective tenants for the town’s industrial park on Industrial Road in Wainscott, just south of the East Hampton Airport. The money the town receives from leasing those properties goes into the airport fund, allowing the town to make improvements to the airport without taking FAA grant money.
Mr. Cantwell said the town expects to receive noise analysis from last year’s operations at the airport by March, and will hold public meetings to discuss that analysis.
The town board adopted a new rental registry in December, and Mr. Cantwell said registry applications will be available as of Jan. 15 and will be accepted by the town beginning Feb. 1. The town will begin enforcing the provisions of the registry on May 1.
Mr. Cantwell said the town is hosting workshops on how to complete the forms with real estate professionals at town hall on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and will be holding workshops for landlords and the general public on Jan. 27 at 1, 3 and 5 p.m.
“We’re seeking cooperation to help make this law an effective tool to help protect our residents,” he said. “If you have been participating in an illegal group house or a high turnover rental, or a multifamily occupancy in a single family residence, it’s time to stop. We’re serious about this law. Overcrowding in our community, in the summer especially, has been a critical issue…. We want people to cooperate and we want people to comply with our existing law. If we find illegal housing, it would be our intention to enforce this law strictly.”
He also urged the public to participate in the town’s Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan study, which will be underway this year, and to focus their attention on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Study, more than half a century in process, which is expected to be released this year.
His administration came under fire late last year over their reluctant support of the Army Corps current project shoring up downtown Montauk’s oceanfront with sandbags.
“Without a major beach replenishment project, it leaves the beach in Montauk in less-than-desirable condition,” he said. “We will press the Army Corps for sand-only FIMP improvements and will work with the community to reach a consensus going forward.”
Mr. Cantwell said the town also plans to work this year on hamlet studies for Montauk, Amagansett, Springs and Wainscott, and to work on affordable housing plans, including manor houses on Accabonac Road.
“It’s good to begin the year with an optimistic agenda, but there will be new issues, no doubt, that will divert our attention and become a priority in the year ahead,” he said. “Let’s work together and every day let’s try to make our community a better place to live and work.”