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Sixteen Seats Would Be Max at Food Stores

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 23:48

As the East Hampton Village Board has proposed allowing food stores to have seating for up to 16 customers, Billy Hajek, the village planner, provided further details about the plan.     

According to the village code, stores like Mary’s Marvelous, the Juice Press, and the East Hampton Market are not permitted to have tables, chairs, or counters for on premises consumption. Some businesses, such as Citarella, had seating prior to the enactment of the code, Mr. Hajek said at the village board’s meeting last Thursday.     

In February, Mayor Richard Lawler announced that the board was considering loosening those regulations in an effort to bring more activity and customers to the village’s commercial core.     

Sixteen seats, said Mr. Hajek, is the maximum allowed by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for food stores. Any more and a business would be considered a restaurant and subject to more extensive sanitation requirements.     

According to the county’s regulations, a food store must serve its products in disposable containers and with disposable utensils, and it is not allowed to have waitstaff or provide table service.     

The proposed change is essentially “a convenience, to allow people to consume food or beverages on site,” said Mr. Hajek. The number of seats allowed at each business, he said, would be determined by the Building Department.     

Mr. Lawler said a public hearing would be held on the matter at the board’s April 17 meeting.

Wi-Fi at the Beach     

The board also discussed a proposal from Capt. Anthony Long of the East Hampton Village police to install Wi-Fi at Georgica Beach. Captain Long said three antennas would be needed to provide coverage for both the parking lot and the beach. Two would be placed on the Coast Guard building there, and, to hold the third, a 20-foot-tall utility pole would be installed in the parking lot.     

Rose Brown, a board member, suggested that, instead of using an unsightly utility pole, the village should install a flagpole, which could hold the antenna as well as the American flag, the new village logo, and a flag to alert swimmers of surf conditions. Barbara Borsack, the deputy mayor, agreed.     

Becky Molinaro Hansen, the village administrator said in a memo that the project would cost over $13,000 without the flagpole, and between $16,000 and $17,000 with it.     

“It’s worth the extra money,” said Ms. Brown.     

If the flagpole were placed at an elevated spot on the property, said Captain Long, all three antennas could be placed on it, and the entire area would be covered.     

Ms. Borsack said the board would confer with David Collins, the superintendent of public works, and find the best location for the flagpole.     

In other news, the board agreed to spend $13,000 to be included in East Hampton Town’s coastal assessment resiliency plan, a study of hazards faced by coastal communities as a consequence of climate change. GZA, an engineering firm in Massachusetts, will conduct the study, which will examine coastal erosion, flood risk, and storm vulnerability, and recommend strategies to protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure.          

The board also adopted a resolution to refinance bonds from 2008 and 2013, which, according to Ms. Hansen, will save the village more than $78,000.     

It approved a request from East Hampton Fire Chief Gerard Turza Jr. to use the meeting room in the Emergency Services Building on March 29 to hold a pancake breakfast benefit for the East Hampton High School class of 2022. The students are raising money to pay for class activities, said Chief Turza.     

The board accepted Andrew Daige as a member of the ambulance association.     

It also announced that the village is seeking bids for the dredging of Town Pond, which is to take place next fall. Bids for the village’s Sea Spray Cottage number 8, a three-bedroom, two-bath residence at Main Beach, are still being accepted. The minimum bid for the summer is $95,000.     

At the end of the meeting, Ms. Borsack, who is running for mayor in June’s election, proposed that the board establish an environmental advisory committee, which would be made up of village officials as well as residents. It would meet every three months to come up with ways to bolster the village’s eco-friendliness, she said. On the Coronavirus     

Ms. Borsack, who has been a volunteer with the ambulance association for many years, also discussed the preparations being made locally to deal with the coronavirus. She had talked with Lisa Charde, the village’s ambulance chief, and members of the administration at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, she said, and both had told her they are well trained and equipped to care for those who contract the virus.     

The hospital staff, she said, told her to remind everybody not to walk around with surgical masks because they don’t offer protection. “Hand washing is the best defense,” said Ms. Borsack, who noted that the flu is far more fatal than the coronavirus has been thus far.   

The administrators also said those who suspect they have contracted the virus should see their local doctor rather than heading to the emergency room. The hospital plans to set up an isolation room, said Ms. Borsack, “but it’s better not to bring it into the E.R.”


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