A tall pedestrian footbridge spanning the Peconic River is planned to connect Riverside with the downtown Riverhead boardwalk.
A tall footbridge spanning the Peconic River is planned to connect Riverside with the downtown Riverhead boardwalk.

Hi, and welcome back to a round-up of what the East End towns are doing. Some things are actually happening out there:

Southold made some progress Tuesday on two long-languishing proposed laws, while Southampton board members are meeting today to discuss a proposed pedestrian footbridge over the Peconic River, which recently got 16 likes from Suffolk County. East Hampton plans to do some things tonight that they haven’t published yet and Riverhead will hold a work session with a brief agenda this morning.

Southold Town

Southold Town finally got around to adopting its long-languishing special events code Tuesday night in a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Chris Talbot casting the sole nay vote.

At a public hearing two weeks ago, many members of the wine and agriculture industry thought they would have more time to tweak the law, which would require permits for events that exceed the parking capacity of a site or include a use of a site not allowed by zoning. Right now, people only need permits in Southold for events on town-owned property and at wineries.

Sal Diliberto, who serves as the secretary of the Long Island Wine Council and owns Dileberto Winery in Jamesport, told Southold board members Tuesday night, before they adopted the law, that many members of the North Fork agricultural industry had gone to Albany on business Tuesday and were unaware Southold planned to adopt the law that night.

He said winery owners are very concerned that second offenses of violations of the permit requirement would be misdemeanors, because misdemeanor charges put them in the position of possibly losing their liquor licenses.

Board members said it’s about time to just enact a law and see how it works.

“Notwithstanding all the comment that’s been made…I believe that we are at the point where we should enact this and see how it works,” said Councilman Bill Ruland. “My mind is always open to change if there’s a reasonable reason for it.”

Mr. Talbot disagreed.

“I think back to the late 70s and early 80s when we had fallow farms here… I think the wine industry has grown this area. So many people come to this area and spend money freely here,” he said. “For Republican government to throw another hurdle in the way of businesses struggling to survive…For the life of me I don’t understand why we’re going forward with putting more hurdles in place.”

His comments were greeted with a smattering of applause.

A proposed leash law, which would require dogs be leashed on beaches between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. between May 1 and October 1, and would prohibit dogs from bathing beaches while lifeguards are on duty, was tabled Tuesday night, after some advocates for more stringent leash laws weighed in.

Currently, dogs aren’t allowed to run at large anywhere in Southold, but the law isn’t enforced.

Dan Catullo, who lives near Bailie Beach in Mattituck, was attacked by a dog running at large last May, and he’s been advocating for tougher laws ever since.

He said the attack on him was before 8 a.m., making the law irrelevant to the circumstances that caused him to push for a leash law. Mr. Catullo asked Southold to take East Hampton Village’s lead. In May, East Hampton Village banned dogs from beaches during the day and required them to be on leashes between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.

“East Hampton has seen the light,” he said. “Apparently, these people are wise enough to be taking action in the right direction… It seems to me we’re not wise enough to do the same…. We’re not the Hamptons.  We’re the North Fork…. Thank god we’re not the South Fork. But true wisdom is universal, south or north. Just remember that.”

The proposed law was tabled, but you can read it here. It will come up again.

Southampton Town

Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association president Vince Taldone will discuss a possible pedestrian bridge over the Peconic River from Riverside to the downtown Riverhead boardwalk with Southampton Town Board members at today’s work session.

Mr. Taldone will be speaking with the town board hot on the heals of Suffolk County’s 16-0 approval of the plan on Tuesday. Suffolk County purchased the 14-acre riverfront site on the Riverside side of the river in 2011 for use as a park, after plans to develop a convention center there fell through.

Mr. Taldone, who is working on a state grant proposal to build the pedestrian footbridge, and a walking trail, told the Flanders Citizens Advisory Committee Wednesday night that it was a relatively easy sell for the county to rubber stamp the project, since they will not be paying for it.

He said the woods alongside the river are now a haven for drug users, criminals and prostitutes.

“No decent person gets to have a waterfront experience in their own hamlet,” he said, adding that workers at the aquarium in Riverhead are excited about the prospect of releasing butterflies from the bridge with schoolchildren.

Mr. Taldone said the $2.4 million purchase price of the property back in 2011 is being used as matching funds for the grant proposal for the $1.15 million bridge project.

“We’ll hear on the grant within a few weeks. I think we’re gonna get it,” he said.

East Hampton Town

At its work session Tuesday, East Hampton Town Board members approved yet another small windmill along an agricultural stretch of town between East Hampton Village and Sag Harbor.

The turbine, at 124-130 Route 114, will be a Bergey Excel 10 kilowatt turbine on a 120 foot lattice tower. The Bergey Excel has become the standard 10 kilowatt turbine used on farms throughout the East End for minor applications such as running irrigation pumps.

There are now two similar wind turbines on Long Lane, which runs parallel to Route 114.

Councilwoman Theresa Quigley cast the sole vote against the turbine.

The board also agreed to allow the Parrish Art Museum to hold an exhibit of Springs sculptor Sydney Albertini’s work at John Little’s former studio, a barn at Duck Creek Farm in Springs, through Sept. 8. The property is owned by East Hampton Town.

East Hampton also agreed to seek state hazard mitigation funds to pay for its portion of a planned dredging of the Lake Montauk Inlet by the Army Corps of Engineers. The town is expected to pay between $800,000 and $1.6 million for the $26 million to $41 million project, depending on the Army Corps’ decision about the ultimate scope of the dredging. The more detailed option would include replenishing beaches to the west of the inlet along Soundview Drive and building groins to trap the sand there.

Soundview Drive has long been battered by storms and people who live there blame the Army Corps’ jetties at the entrance to the inlet for scouring out the beach when sand bypasses the area on its ever-marching littoral drift.

The East Hampton Town Board has a meeting tonight, but they haven’t yet published the agenda. When they do, it will be available here.

Riverhead Town

Riverhead’s work session agenda for this morning is brief. They will be discussing a 6 bedroom house at 5298 Sound Avenue, just east of Church Lane, and cell phone tower leases in the water department. And you never know what else…

Shelter Island Town

Shelter Island Town took the week off. They’ll be back in business Aug. 6.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

4 thoughts on “What are East End governments doing, anyway? Aug. 1 edition

  1. I don’t think this Tall Pedestrian Bridge idea is very fair. Why would only Tall Pedestrians be able to benefit from the use of a bridge? How would this be enforced? Who’s to say who is short and who is tall? Even the accompanying picture presents the problem: the Tall guy would be able to use the bridge, but that other short guy would have to walk around on Peconic Ave to get to Flanders Rd? Doesn’t seem right.

  2. Without sounding pedestrian, “Ouch!!” –
    somewhere, an apple isn’t falling far from a tree…

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