East Hampton Village Board Mulls Term Limits, Marijuana
Mayor Jerry Larsen was sworn in in September. One of his campaign commitments was to promulgate term limits for mayors and village administrators.
A proposal that would place term limits on elected officials in East Hampton Village, an interim budget for the next fiscal year, and the impact of state legalization of marijuana were discussed at a council meeting of administration of the village last Thursday. The council also announced that a public hearing will be held on Friday, May 21 on a proposal to convert parallel parking spaces to inclined parking spaces and with direct access on parts of Newtown Lane.
Both sides of Newtown Lane between Park Place and Main Street, and the north and east sides of Reutershan parking lot would be converted to diagonal parking according to plan.
Seeking to follow through on an election promise to enact term limits, Mayor Jerry Larsen proposed limiting mayors to three four-year terms and directors to four four-year terms. The proposal received unanimous support from board members. “We need new, younger voices and turnover,” said Arthur Graham. Mr Larsen asked Vincent Messina, the village lawyer, to draft a bill that makes it clear that administrators who serve for four terms would not be prevented from also exercising the function of mayor. The council discussed adding a provision that would reset the term of office for officials who do not participate in at least one election, and decided to reconsider the issue when a law is drafted.
New York state law legalizing recreational marijuana allows municipalities to ban the operation of dispensaries and salons for on-site consumption as long as a local law is passed by December 31. Nina Fern, an East Hampton resident and the editor-in-chief of The Highly, an online guide to using and buying cannabis, gave a talk on why it would make sense to have a dispensary in the village. Marijuana is a widely used natural medicine that is beneficial for “physical, mental and spiritual health,” she said. A dispensary would provide lab-tested products and discourage people from obtaining marijuana from drug dealers. “I don’t think I’m saying no because the [village] will look bad is right, ”she said.
Mr Larsen, a former East Hampton Village police chief, expressed concern about a potential increase in the number of people driving under the influence of depression. “There should be significant fines and orders,” said Fern, who suggested running a “If you’re high, Uber” ad campaign. The East End is a resort community that draws visitors from all over the country, including places where recreational marijuana is legal, so “it’s in everyone’s life,” she said. Rather than “demonizing the plant”, the village “should join in, and we should be proud to opt for the health of the community and of our children”.
Larsen said council had ample time to look into the matter and explore how other local municipalities are dealing with it before making a decision.
Marcos Baladron, the village administrator, presented a provisional budget of $ 24.65 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The budget takes into account nearly $ 1 million in estimated revenues and proposes a 1.5% increase in the property tax rate, the lowest in five years. The most significant increase in spending will include contributions to village employee pension funds and other social benefits. “We have chosen to keep our [revenue] the outlook is conservative and focuses on spending that is imperative, “Baladron said in an introduction to the budget. To reduce the cost of purchasing emergency vehicles for an aging fleet, he said , the village plans to engage in A new expense will be a salary for the village’s first full-time IT manager. Hackers recently attempted several “low-grade” attacks against the village’s IT servers, he said. he says. security level.. is now. ”A copy of the budget is available on the village’s website and a public hearing on it will be held on June 3rd.
The village will not exceed the state cap on property tax increases, but must pass a law to allow it; it will be heard in public on Friday May 21. A public hearing on a law that clarifies an element of the Beach Parking Code, clarifying that people without a beach permit are not allowed to park in the disabled parking spaces of Lot 1 at Main Beach, will take place the same day.
Separately, now that the state is allowing outdoor social gatherings for up to 500 people, the board has discussed changing regulations for catered events on beaches. The village charges non-residents $ 500 for a permit to host a beach catering event for more than 49 people. Mr Larsen has said he wants to limit the number of permits issued to one per night for each beach, and since the East Hampton administrators own the beaches, he wants to offer them user fees. For those hosting a licensed event on a beach, the council is also considering increasing the fee for using bathrooms at Main Beach, Two Mile Hollow, and Georgica (which will remain open until 11 p.m.), and require portable toilets at Wiborg. and the beaches of Egypt.
Mr. Larsen received council approval last Thursday to end a parking enforcement contract with Chase Bank. According to the contract, the village paid the bank $ 10 per year and was responsible for enforcing parking and maintaining the 25-space lot adjacent to the bank, he said. To increase the number of available parking spaces, the village plans to offer Chase, Citarella, Stop and Shop, and 66 Newtown Lane, a commercial building with parking for employees, the ability to enforce parking regulations by the village for $ 1000 per month, and on condition that the public can use the lots for a limited time. The deal would relieve companies of the costs of monitoring batches and towing vehicles, he said.
Glenn Vickers, president of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, told the council that, in an effort to help businesses find workers for the season, the organization will host a job fair in the village later. this month, and it allows members to post job vacancies for free on its website. Although the chamber has canceled its street fairs this year, it will host drive-thru movies at Main Beach once or twice a month until the end of the year, and plans to resume the fairs next year.
Carol Hayes, the organization’s business and community manager, said the group hoped to build on the success of the weekly farmers’ market in the Reutershan parking lot by launching a Thursday night market featuring the work of artists. and local artisans. “The success of the farmers’ market has proven that increased foot traffic is good for all businesses,” she said. The chamber also hosts a weekly Main Beach live music event that will take place Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In lieu of a Memorial Day parade, the East Hampton Fire Department will celebrate the holiday on the Hook Mill Green on May 31 at 10 a.m., said Chief Gerard Turza Jr.
The annual village fireworks display will take place on August 21 and the village’s centenary celebration, which has been delayed due to the pandemic, will take place on September 25.
The board accepted the retirement of Police Captain Anthony Long, who had served for 30 years. “Tony has been with us since he was a traffic control officer many, many years ago,” said Chief Michael Tracey, who thanked Mr. Long for leading the effort to update the 911 and radiocommunications systems of the ministry and to develop its accreditation program.
“He will be sadly missed by me and the staff,” he said.
Mr. Baladron announced that Robert Hefner, Director of Historical Services, is also retiring after 10 years.