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Aug 26, 2015 9:53 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Canoe Place Inn Groundwater Testing Has Started

Aug 26, 2015 10:27 AM

Groundwater testing started late last week at the site of the Canoe Place Inn project in Hampton Bays to monitor levels of nitrogen in the soil, although results will not be available for several weeks.

The testing was required by the Southampton Town Board when it approved the Maritime Planned Development District earlier this year, a change of zone to allow developers to rebuild the defunct Canoe Place Inn and build 33 homes near the western bank of the Shinnecock Canal.

The soil testing will be used to determine the effectiveness of a nitrogen-reducing permeable reactive barrier, or PRB, that will be installed as part of the CPI project. This week, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst explained that town officials hope the samples will provide future town boards with information about the effectiveness of these types of underground barriers—which use carbon-based organic material to filter nitrates from groundwater before it reaches bodies of water—so that they might be considered for other large-scale development projects.

“We want to be able to show how well this works to inform future boards whether this is something worth requiring,” the supervisor said. “A lot of this is new technology, so while it has been proven to work elsewhere, it would be good to prove that it works here in this geology and geography.”

The PRB is designed to capture and remove nitrates already in the soil at the CPI property, primarily from the former nightclub at the site. The PRB works by replicating the natural filtration process of wetlands by introducing carbon materials—like wood chips, mulch or vegetable oil—that start the denitrification process. Bacteria then consume the nitrogen from the groundwater and release it as nitrogen gas.

The groundwater testing on Friday was to get the base levels of nitrogen in the soil and water. It is only the first round of testing for the site, which will be retested periodically before and after the PRB is installed, and over the next several years.

Town To Study Speed

A traffic study will be undertaken to determine if speeding is a serious issue on North Road, which connects County Road 39 in Southampton to Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.

At a public hearing on Tuesday night to discuss reducing the speed limit from 45 to 40 mph, Southampton Town Director of Public Transportation and Traffic Safety Tom Neely explained that because the street is a county road, a traffic study will be required before any changes to the speed limit can be made. As a result, the town plans to hire Dunn Engineering Associates—a Westhampton Beach engineering firm that has conducted traffic studies for the town in the past—to assess the speed, number of accidents, and possible solutions for North Road.

According to Mr. Neely, the study is expected to take three weeks to complete. From there, the town will schedule a work session to discuss the findings before determining what the new speed should be, as well as whether striping or lane changes are needed.

Budget Schedule Adopted

The start of fall also kicks the Southampton Town budget season into high gear. On Tuesday night, the Southampton Town Board adopted the final budget schedule for adopting the 2016 spending plan. The first major date comes on September 30, when the supervisor must submit her draft budget to the town clerk’s office. The budget is scheduled to be adopted on November 20.

Fund Expansion Pitched

In an effort to clean up unsightly properties in Southampton Town, the board hopes to expand the blight mitigation fund to allow town money to be used on properties owned by other municipalities.

In the past, the blight mitigation fund has been used to fund only the restoration of town-owned properties, like a recently approved Riverside property covered with litter. Now, however, the board wants to allow properties owned by other municipalities, like Suffolk County, as well as unincorporated portions of the town, to be eligible for cleanup using the funds—subject to Town Board approval.

A public hearing on the proposal has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, at 6 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall on Hampton Road.

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