North Haven To Seek Seaplane Restrictions

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (right) updates the North Haven Village Board on the status of the South Fork Commuter Connection at Tuesday’s North Haven Village Board meeting. Clockwise from bottom, Village Clerk Eileen Tuohy, Mayor Jeff Sander, Trustees Dianne Skilbred and Trustee James Laspesa. Peter Boody photo

North Haven Village Mayor Jeff Sander is planning what he called “a preliminary meeting” with Sag Harbor officials on October 9 to consider developing a joint policy to restrict seaplane landings to a designated area in the bay and to require passengers to deplane at a “designated pickup point” and take a private launch to shore.

The proposed meeting comes in the wake of complaints made to the board last month about seaplanes frequently landing near the shore and then beaching to offload passengers at the North Haven Manor private community on the east side of North Haven over the summer.

The Sag Harbor harbormaster Robert Bori said Wednesday he was aware of the October 9 meeting but not the specific topics to be discussed.

He said there had been no complaints in Sag Harbor about seaplanes ever since village officials there and seaplane company representatives met several years ago to discuss complaints about seaplanes landing and beaching on the east side of the village near Havens Beach and the Azurest-Sag Harbor Hills-Ninevah communities.

The seaplane companies ever since have been landing well to the north of the shoreline and letting off passengers by “hooking up in the outer mooring field,” from which the private Sag Harbor Launch takes them to shore, Mr. Bori said.

 South Fork Commuter Connection

Mayor Sander disclosed the planned session to discuss seaplane restrictions at the regular monthly meeting of the Village Board on Tuesday, October 2, at which Assemblyman Fred Thiele reported on the status of the South Fork Commuter Connection train service that he is helping the towns of East Hampton and Southampton and the Long Island Rail Road prepare to launch in early March.

Mr. Thiele said representatives from bus, taxi, and ride-sharing companies including Uber and Lyft had attended informational meetings for bidders held by both towns to go over their requests for proposals to provide what the towns are calling “last mile” connecting service from South Fork train stations to downtowns and employment centers including schools. The service will be subsidized through a $500,000 state grant to the towns and cost passenger $1 each way in addition to the $3.50 they’ll pay for the train. The fares will be combined into a single ticket and may be available at a bulk or monthly discount, Mr. Thiele said.

“We’ll see in a week and a half what proposals we get,” Mr. Thiele said after noting that the proposals are due on October 11.

Of the overall plan, which will include what he called two new eastbound South Fork trains during the morning commute and two new trains westbound in the afternoon, “We finally got the LIRR’s attention on this and I think they’ll do more if we can show them there’s a demand for it.” The overall goal, he said, was to give commuters a way to avoid traffic congestion on Route 27 and Country Road 39 by taking the train.

“Eighteen minutes from Hampton Bays to Bridgehampton for the price of a big cup of Starbucks looks pretty good,” Mr. Thiele said.

Fire-Ambulance Costs Up 13-Percent

Also at the meeting, which no one from the public and only three members of the Village Board attended, the board — after some grousing — agreed to accept a proposed contract totaling $570,612.46 with Sag Harbor for ambulance service and fire protection, an increase of 13 percent over the current annual contract.

Fire services will cost 15 percent more than they have during the current year while ambulance costs will drop slightly, Village Clerk Eileen Tuohy explained. The mayor said it was “too late” to object to the contracts and that village officials next year should observe the Sag Harbor Village Board’s budgeting process more closely so they can weigh in when fire and ambulance costs and revenues are discussed, so they might be able to make a difference.

Leaf Pick-Up

The board also scheduled the fall leaf pickup for the weeks of November 12 and December 10 at a cost of $47,500. Ms. Tuohy reported the board will have to decide by February whether or not to use a special assessment in the future so only residents who benefit from the pick-up have to pay for it beginning next year. Two-thirds of North Haven roads are in private communities, where the service is not provided, and Mayor Sander has said he favors finding a way to limit the cost to the property owners who benefit from it.

Currently all property owners pay for the pickup whether they benefit from it or not, with the owner of a property assessed at $1 million paying about $15 toward service.

Ms. Tuohy said she had counted about 367 parcels on public roads, where the service is provided. If they were assessed equally, their owners would pay $130, no matter the size of their parcels. If they were assessed based on lot size, she said, owners of the largest properties on public roads might pay as much as $3,000.

Mayor Sander suggested that the board meet soon “to get a jump on it.”