East Hampton Town Board Sets Sights on Beach Fires

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After complaints of children hurting their feet on the still-burning embers of bonfires covered by sand, the East Hampton Town Board last week moved toward requiring all beach fires to be fully contained within a metal container.

Earlier this month, the board and citizens discussed some of the dangers of bonfires and some of their environmental impacts. Residents complained that heaps of charcoal are left on beaches after each fire, creating both a hazard and an eyesore.

The idea of the metal container was that not only will the burning wood not ever have to touch the sand, but that it will provide an easy method of disposal.

On Thursday, July 16, the Town Board agreed to hold a hearing on a proposal that would require all fires on beaches to be contained. The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 6, at 6:30 p.m.

A Plan to Scan Plans

The East Hampton Town Board this week had a long discussion regarding the beginning of what some say is a long overdue project—the digitization of town documents and files.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell this week said that the town’s recordkeeping, where in some cases filing systems have been woefully disorganized for years, “is a fundamental weakness in the Town of East Hampton.”

Alex Walter, the executive assistant to the supervisor, explained the process of digitization to the board and that the town had decided to start the long operation with the Building Department, which has 1.2 million documents and 180,000 sets of plans currently taking up physical space at its temporary office at 300 Pantigo Road.

The digitization would not only allow other departments and citizens to more easily view important documents, but, Mr. Walter said, would free up some physical space taken up by stacks and stacks of files.

Charlene Kagel, the town’s chief auditor, told the town board the initial cost to start the digitization process would be $609,000—which could be borrowed and paid off over five years. The digitization process itself would take 12 to 14 months.

Supervisor Cantwell asked Ms. Kagel to double check the price of digitizing per document in order to ensure the town was getting a fair price, and he said the town would move quickly after it receives that information.

Going After Grants for Green Energy

The East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday passed a resolution at the very last minute, allowing Tom Ruhle, the town’s director of housing, and Katie Casey of the to Housing Authority to apply for a NYSERDA grant to create new, green elements in the town.

Ms. Casey explained her proposal which involves three separate community projects—the creation of two more electric car charging stations; two bike-share kiosks, where people can rent bicycles for the hour or day; and a 40-unit affordable housing project with solar panels.

“The total would be about $860,000, and to participate in this round, a 25-percent buy-in is required,” Ms. Casey said, explaining that the town would have to contribute approximately $215,000.

“The NYSERDA grant requires that you begin the process in three months and finish it in three years,” she added, explaining that the timing for this grant would make sense for the town.

While Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said she wasn’t sure she was ready to commit to authorizing $215,000 of the town’s money to go toward brand new projects, the supervisor explained they were just “authorizing the submission of an application, not making any commitments.”

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