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A Surprise Guest at ACAC Meeting

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 17:14
Natalie Mongan, an East Hampton High School junior, with her father, Daniel Mongan, presented her research on erosion at Atlantic Avenue Beach to the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday.
Denis Hartnett

The Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee had a surprise guest Monday night, Natalie Mongan, a junior at East Hampton High School. Ms. Mongan presented her own independent research, done through an A.P. research seminar, showing the level of erosion at Atlantic Avenue Beach that can not only affect shoreline defense, but shift the coastline itself.

The committee meets every month at the Amagansett School to discuss business pertaining to the hamlet. Monday's meeting was flush with reports given by both members and East Hampton Town Councilman Tom Flight, concerning a range of topics from a lighting feasibility study to the ongoing war against gas-powered leaf blowers. Ms. Mongan's report, however, was more personal, her project being one that she chose and carried out of her own volition.

\From December to February 2023, she measured the width of the beach, finding that it had eroded, receding by 50 feet during that period. Erosion can have a profound effect, she reported: Shifts in the coastline directly affect which parts of town beaches are public and which are private.

"This means a lot to me," Ms. Mongan told the group. "I think most of East Hampton would be surprised if more and more property owners claim a right to restrict public access to the sand."

The committee also welcomed Kevin Cooper, head of the Public Safety and Code Enforcement Department, as its guest speaker. Mr. Cooper discussed how the town code will be enforced in Amagansett during the summer months. He hopes to see the code amended, he said, to put an end to landscape lighting by 11 p.m. (As is reported elsewhere in this issue, the town board plans to hold a public hearing next month on the lighting issue.) Mr. Cooper also promised a crackdown on illegal short-term summer rentals, aimed at organizations like Airbnb.

Mr. Flight, who is the town board's liaison to ACAC, led a discussion of a feasibility study of historically appropriate lighting on Main Street. The town hopes to provide LED dark sky-compliant lights along the sidewalks, he reported. In a unanimous vote, 15-0, the advisory committee approved a motion asking the town board to include the municipal parking lot in the study as well.

There was also a continued discussion of the proposed senior citizens center, with Mr. Flight noting that there is still a lot to discuss. "There's some pieces that I think we still need to push and discuss," he said. "The one I would agree with many on is, not having a basement I think is challenging. I think storage is going to continue to be an issue.

Additionally, Mr. Flight confirmed that the plan for the roof is no longer stainless-steel shingles, but wood board instead.

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