By all accounts, the summer of 2015 has so far been one of the busiest in East End history, and according to the Town of East Hampton, it’s been a very busy year for code enforcement officers too.
This week, the town’s code enforcement office released report for the first half of the year. The report, which Supervisor Larry Cantwell pointed out was “not expected to be a response to the issues in Montauk” that took center stage this week, showed that the number of cases opened and closed has increased dramatically from last year.
“What’s important here is that the number of cases the department closed increased from 331 last year to 818. And almost 80 percent of the cases that were opened were closed in one way or another,” Mr. Cantwell said on Friday.
The report also showed that in the first half of 2014, the department had opened 621 cases, and this year it as opened 1,076. Supervisor Cantwell said that the increase in activity was part of a concerted effort on the town’s part. In addition to doing extra training, hiring an additional employee and creating an online complaint form, the supervisor said that code enforcement has started opening more cases on its own “by simply being more observant in the field and more proactive.”
The really good news, the supervisor said, was the department was able to encourage increased voluntary compliance: 421 of the cases opened were closed through voluntary compliance this year, as opposed to the 40 last year.
“Code enforcement is a big issue throughout the town,” Supervisor Cantwell said. “They’re moving in the right direction, they’re getting compliance, but there’s certainly much more to do. We’re getting better at it, but we need to continue to improve.” He added the report was “a good indication that significant change has been made.”
In response to recent complaints of overcrowding, public safety and noise in Montauk, Supervisor Cantwell said he met with law enforcement this week and as directed the police, fire marshal, marine patrol and code enforcement to increase their presence there.