The East Hampton Town Board voted on Tuesday to adopt an amendment to the town code that expands the definition of litter to include soil, loam, dirt, gravel, and sand; prohibits drag-out of such materials onto public roadways, and requires that the contents of any vehicle containing yard waste be covered and secured. The vote followed an April 7 public hearing on the proposed amendment.
The motivation for the changes included complaints about drag-out of debris from commercial-industrial sites such as sand and gravel mines. The hearing drew comments for and against the proposal. Proponents emphasized the environmental impact of dirt and other debris tracked onto roadways and its inevitable migration beyond, such as into drainage basins and water bodies that may already be impaired by pollution.
Opponents, however, told the board that the proposals unfairly target individual operators or specific areas; a representative of Bistrian Materials on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton was among them. Another comment focused on concern about the potential impact on farmers or construction workers, as well as how a misdemeanor conviction might lead to an undocumented immigrant's deportation.
But David McMaster, an assistant town attorney who drafted the proposals with Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, told the board at the public hearing that there is no motivation to target individuals. Rather, deterrence is the goal, he said. "This would have no negative effect on anyone's immigration status," Mr. McMaster said.