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Jul 27, 2011 11:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Around Southampton Town Hall: Town Board Restricts Parking Near Rumba

Jul 27, 2011 12:02 PM

The Southampton Town Board agreed on Tuesday evening to restrict parking on both sides of Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays, near a popular restaurant, in response to a steady stream of concerns aired by residents over the past six weeks about unsafe traffic conditions there.

The legislation passed 3-1, with only Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst opposing, and prohibits parking on both sides of the road between Fanning Avenue and Argonne Road East. The measure is aimed at curtailing parking along Canoe Place Road near owner David Hersh’s restaurant, Rumba, a popular Caribbean-cuisine eatery. Town Board member Jim Malone did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Board members have held several public hearings on the issue since June 14, and since then, have looked at ways to amicably resolve the problem with Mr. Hersh and without restricting parking entirely on the road. Mr. Hersh began busing customers to his restaurant from an off-site parking lot. And earlier this month, the Town Board approved evening parking restrictions along that stretch of road, between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m., in an effort to restrict parking during the restaurant’s peak hours.

But things haven’t improved much, even with the new parking restrictions, according to Hampton Bays resident Kathy Warner. “People are ignoring the signs,” she said, adding that there has also been some confusion since their installation.

Ms. Throne-Holst explained her vote against the measure, saying she has personally patrolled the road and seen improvement since the evening restrictions were enacted. She also said she was worried about jeopardizing the jobs of 52 people who are employed at the restaurant, including college students who are dependent on their summer wages.

Noyac Bay Avenue Parking

Also on Tuesday, the Town Board again wrestled with the issue of whether to lift parking restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue, ultimately agreeing to table the matter until a later date.

The Town Board recently adopted a law that created about 100 feet of parking space at one end of the road, near a public beach, allowing a handful of cars to park there. Before that, there was no parking allowed on the road.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said the current restrictions do not offer enough parking spaces to accommodate the public, and limits their access to a small strip of publicly owned beach at the end of the road. Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi argued that there is public access to the beach, adding that it is not uncommon for parking restrictions to be in place in residential areas.

Town Transportation Director Tom Neely presented Town Board members with some statistics on Tuesday, noting that there are about 70 roads with seasonal parking restrictions throughout the town. He said that 21 of them are parking by permit. He estimated that about four of those roads—including Noyac Bay Avenue—terminate near a town-owned bay beach.

New Building Standards Tabled

The Town Board on Tuesday tabled a public hearing to consider amending the town code so it would require that all new or substantially reconstructed houses comply to building standards that would make them more energy efficient.

If enacted, the law would require homes up to 3,500 square feet in size to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index number of 70 or lower, instead of a rating of 80, which is what’s currently required in the code. The result of the change would be a 30-percent increase in energy efficiency, according to a copy of the legislation.

Town Board members discussed the legislation at length at a work session last Friday. Some members expressed concerns about costs associated with complying with the new code, particularly during a fragile, recovering economy. Ms. Throne-Holst said on Tuesday that the board was tabling the resolution so it can get figures on how much it would cost residents to comply with the new code, if it is enacted.

Solid Waste Management Plan

Also at Friday’s work session, the board discussed the results of a solid waste study that will help the town shape its future policy on solid waste removal through an updated Solid Waste Management Plan.

The report offers four possible directions that the town could take, including: keeping operations the same; abandoning current operations and moving toward municipal waste districts with curbside pick-up; keeping the transfer stations open for municipal use only; and optimizing current operations.

The board agreed to consider maintaining its current operations, while trying to make them more efficient. That means that the town will no longer consider closing down its transfer stations, alleviating the fears of some town residents. As part of its current course, the town will consider creating a permit process for private solid waste carters, requiring them to file a permit with the town in order to pick up garbage in the municipality. Those permits would require carters to submit data on how much waste they collect and recycle, and list the locations of their disposal sites.

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Regarding Noyac Bay Avenue, Chris Nuzzi withdraws further and further from reality. In his tilt toward a handful of residents and against the rest of Southampton Town, he emphasizes the presence of parking restrictions on a mere four streets ending at the water as some sort of precedent for keeping the restrictions on Noyac Bay Avenue. Worse, he argues that limiting parking is not the same as limiting access to the water. Mr. Nuzzi is right for those who walk or bike to the water, or for those ...more
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jul 27, 11 4:39 PM
Why is it that the Town of Southampton fights so hard to destroy Hampton Bays businesses? You have a location that attracts diners to come to your town to and spend money in a local business and in response the Town develops local ordinances designed to diminish the viability of said business. This restaurant isn't accused of promoting underage drinking or having out of control patrons vomiting in the streets. Its only crime is being successful. We should be bolstering local businesses that ...more
By Damon.Hagan (34), Southampton on Jul 27, 11 5:26 PM
Perhaps the people who live near it might have some legitimate concerns about traffic safety and noise issues caused by the restaurant. The Town can not and should not ignore complaints in favor of letting businesses do whatever they want. Popular restaurants come and go. Residents remain.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jul 27, 11 8:51 PM
Shame on Chris Nuzzi. He’s determined to protect his sponsors with bay front property from the contamination of Noyac’s senior citizens who favor this very accessible beach.

Memo to the Northampton Colony Yacht club: Time for another fund raiser for our boy Chris.
By WestsideWalt (8), sag harbor on Jul 27, 11 7:10 PM
All residents should have access to the towns beaches and bays. Lets get rid of restrictive parking signs whose only purpose is to keep residents away and serve no purpose in terms of road safety. The board should strive to open up the other locales as well. Give us back access to our ocean beaches too. Get rid of "private road" etc. signs as well. Town roads, communal property rights must be defended.

Looks like Nuzzi managed to fumble another one.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jul 27, 11 10:14 PM
I feel for the owners of Rumba's, and think the town board should stop making these restrictions for "public safety". Come on, that location has always been a local seasonal business for as long as I can remember, its not a new business, just a new owner.I agree with the supervisor, Rumba employs people from the community, pays its property taxes and should be allowed to have some street parking. I hope the local residents in the area who complained, do not have a needto park in the same location.
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Jul 27, 11 10:23 PM
I agree. Thank you Ms Supervisor for voting for the parking. When will the elected officials help someone who is working hard , employing people and paying taxes?RUMBA is a fine restaurant. Many people have not been able to make a go at it on the premises. Lets help this guy out not get in his way.
By Quogonian (14), Quogue on Jul 28, 11 8:33 AM
how foolish can one town be? A great new restaurant for not only the younger crowd, but older people as well who enjoy the muic but especially the food they serve. Do they have to take a walk to get there? Let us live, enjoy, and park!!
By Ibill (47), remsenburg on Jul 29, 11 10:30 AM