Government Briefs 01.12.17

East Hampton Town

Building Code Revisions

After holding hearings on changes to the town building code, the East Hampton Town Board last Thursday approved several revisions, including one that would reduce the size of houses that can be built throughout the town.

The maximum gross floor area of a residence will be reduced to 10 percent of its lot area, plus 1,600 square feet. Current law allows houses to be as large as 12 percent, plus 1,600 square feet, of the size of the parcels they are on. A provision that precludes any house from being larger than 20,000 square feet, regardless of its property size, will remain in place.

The board also adopted a law that restricts the size of cellars, limiting how far they can extend beyond the exterior wall of a first story to 10 percent of the first floor’s gross floor area. The law will also prohibit cellars from being more than 12 feet below ground.

Another law approved last week will revise the town code’s definition of gross floor area, calling for measurement to be taken to the exterior face of the frame or masonry wall. It will exclude cellars, attics, or spaces with ceilings lower than five feet and calls for stairwells and interior spaces where ceilings are higher than 15 feet to be counted twice.

Also approved were changes to the town code governing home contractors’ licenses, allowing companies to designate one person to complete required continuing education training.


Regarding a C.P.F. Purchase

The town board will take comments next Thursday on the purchase of a .81-acre property at 142 Waterhole Road in Springs for $900,000 from the community preservation fund. Owned by the Hamilton Family Trust, the parcel has a house and outbuildings on it; they would be removed at the seller’s expense before the property changes hands. The land would be returned to a natural state. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.


Four Merit-Based Raises

After recently instituting a system through which town employees can be granted merit-based salary increases, the town board last Thursday approved the first of those pay hikes for four union employees. The board awarded raises ranging from $2,104 to $2,832 to Andrew Gaites, an environmental analyst in the Department of Land Acquisitions and Management, Rosemary Berti, a Finance Department clerk, Evelyn Calderon, a clerk in the Building Department, and Cindy Graboski, who is a clerk at the Highway Department. J.P.


New York State

For Ag Property Tax Help

Legislation recently introduced by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. would free agricultural property owners from paying state estate tax, as long as their land is protected by an easement, covenant, or other legal restriction that limits its use to farming and bars its development.

Current estate tax policy, which levies taxes based on the “highest and best use” of land rather than its current use, “results in the conversion of valuable farmland to development” when property owners are faced with a need to raise money to pay the tax, Mr. Thiele said in a press release.

“The high value of real estate in places like Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and other agricultural areas near urban fringes and metropolitan areas threatens the future economic viability of agriculture. This legislation instead would make state tax policy an incentive promoting secure regional sources of food as well as protecting our rural quality of life and economic traditions,” he said in the release.