Schiavoni Gets ‘To Do’ List from Bridgehampton CAC

Tommy John Schiavoni, pictured while campaigning last fall, got an earful this week at the Bridgehampton CAC meeting. Michael Heller photo

New Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, who serves as a liaison to the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, found himself with a list of assignments on Monday.

The committee is upset that the Southampton Town Highway Department cut down a half dozen mature shade trees on the north side of Main Street just west of Corwith Avenue to make way for a wider sidewalk and expressed concern that more trees would be felled on that side of the street.

Members also said that PSEG, which is responsible for trimming trees back to protect electric lines, hires contractors who do a poor job, focusing more on the health of the power lines than the trees. Finally, members said the Bridgehampton Village Improvement Society, which uses a portion of the money it raises each year to plant street trees, is not allowed by the town to prune back the trees instead of PSEG.

Mr. Schiavoni reminded the board that Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor runs his own department independently of the town board, but he offered to look into the committee’s tree concerns as well as complaints that street lights have not been replaced in the parking lot of the hamlet’s train station.

Development continues to occupy the CAC’s attention as well. Committee chairwoman Pamela Harwood said she had attended a planning board hearing earlier in March to speak against the Argo Corporation’s application to build a house, garage, pool and tennis court on an agricultural reserve area between Lumber and Butter lanes. Ms. Harwood said it was her understanding that accessory structures were limited to those used for agriculture.

Ms. Harwood said it was unfair that a wealthy person could buy a large reserve area and obtain “privacy and an eternal view while paying almost no taxes at all on an immense piece of land” and likened it to a similar case in which Howard Lutnick, the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, successfully sued the town over his development plans for an agricultural reserve on Halsey Lane.

Committee members also directed their attention at two proposals for commercial development on Main Street. Saunders Real Estate has applied for permission to add a second story to a rear building on its lot. As part of the plan, the company has proposed buying the rights to five parking spaces at the Newman Village office building across the street. Given the heavy traffic on Main Street already, committee members opposed the idea.

The plans of the Farrell Building company to build a new 6,000-square-foot office building next to its existing office was also discussed. Committee members said they opposed a plan that would allow the company to include only one 600-square-foot apartment in the building, where at least two would be normally required.

Finally, committee member Tom Watson, a resident of School Street, who has led the campaign against noisy parties at the Bridgehampton Community House, said he was pleased “the town has finally woken up” and taken steps to rein in problems. Committee member Peter Wilson said complaints about noise would be eliminated if the town simply installed air-conditioning, so the doors don’t have to be left open at night in the summer. Ms. Harwood said the town has invested in other hamlets and should do so in Bridgehampton as well.