The East Hampton Village Board debated proposals that would change parking regulations in the village at a meeting last Thursday.
When the village started using a mobile payment service to collect parking fees earlier this year, it began charging $10 per day to park in the long-term parking lot off Lumber Lane, and no longer offered $250 annual permits to park there. Residents who use the lot for frequent trips to New York City are finding the daily charge too costly, said Mayor Jerry Larsen. The village had issued about 62 such permits per year, he said. Seeking to accommodate the residents, the mayor proposed reinstating the permit but at an annual cost of $400. Board members unanimously supported the idea.
The other parking matter had to do with parking at residences, where the village’s zoning code requires two on-site parking spaces. Arthur Graham, a trustee, proposed changing the code to require residences with more than three bedrooms to add a parking space for each additional bedroom. Homeowners, particularly those on smaller lots, have been reducing the size of their driveways to use the space for a lawn and other amenities, he said, and opting to park cars on the street instead. “We need to encourage people to keep their vehicles on their property,” said Mr. Graham, who noted that Sag Harbor Village has a similar law that has “worked well.”
Chris Minardi, the deputy mayor, questioned whether such a change was necessary. “I hate to make code when there’s not a problem,” he said.
“We’re trying to head off a problem,” replied Mr. Graham.
At a meeting on Sept. 18, Village Police Chief Michael Tracey said that since shortly after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the village has not been enforcing overnight parking regulations. “We thought it better to let people park where they could, when they were staying home,” he said. The department has not received any complaints, he said, and suggested the policy could be extended.
Mr. Larsen cited the lack of complaints as proof that Mr. Graham’s proposal was unnecessary. The additional parking requirement could also create unsightly lots that are dominated by large driveways, he said.
Rose Brown, a trustee, agreed that “huge driveways” would be unwanted, and recommended making driveway size proportional to lot size.
Mr. Larsen said the board would hold a public hearing on the matter in November.
Ms. Brown also asked Mr. Larsen about whether he intends to rescind the overnight parking law that prohibits more than one hour of street parking between 2 and 6 a.m. “I was surprised to hear we’re not enforcing overnight parking — most people think we’re enforcing it,” she said. Allowing overnight parking could create a safety hazard on smaller village streets, she said. “Why change something that’s working?” she asked.
Mr. Larsen said the existing law is poorly written, and needs to be revised. As written, it allows people to park on the shoulder of roads without getting a summons, he said. A proposal for a new overnight parking law will be presented in November, he said.
In other business, Everett Rattray, a high school student representing the Plain Sight Project, an organization that documents the history of slavery on the East End, asked for the board’s support for an initiative that would honor five enslaved people who lived in the village. The group, in partnership with the Jewish Center of the Hamptons and Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, plans to place five bronze markers on sidewalks in front of sites associated with enslaved people, including the East Hampton Library, Mulford Farm, and near the corner of Woods Lane and Main Street. “I can speak for the whole board, we’re all in favor of this,” said Mr. Larsen.