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Dec 9, 2014 11:45 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Board Airs Bowhunting Restriction, Eases Up Regulations

Dec 9, 2014 3:41 PM

With just a little more than three weeks left for the bowhunting of deer, the East Hampton Town Board is considering whether to extend the season into January.

At the board meeting on Thursday night, December 4, members of the community argued against the idea of prolonging the season, which would mean bowhunters and firearms hunters could both hunt on the same land, as the hunting seasons would overlap.

Earlier this year, the state added another bowhunting season in January, in addition to its season from October 1 to December 31, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation is still discussing regulations.

Last week, the Town Board aired a proposed law that would prohibit bowhunting on town parkland that already allows shotgun hunting in January.

Terry O’Riordan, a member of the East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance, said he would rather the town reserve the first half of January for firearm hunters and leave the remainder open to both firearms and bowhunters.

“The Alliance is in favor of using lethal, historically traditional methods to keep animals and plant species in balance,” he said. “We think the town should revisit its proposal for the total exclusion of archers from town-owned lands during shotgun season.”

The state may also add an extension for firearm hunting on the weekends; currently, hunting with firearms is allowed only on weekdays in January.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said assuming the DEC adopts the regulation to allow weekend hunting, the town will allow it, but the Town Board has not yet addressed the issue.

The East Hampton Sportsman’s Alliance is in support of opening weekend hunting during January for firearm hunters, who, according to Mr. O’Riordan, get three and a half weeks at best each year to hunt because of bad weather.

But others say adding bowhunting in January, and allowing hunting on the weekends, would create chaos if allowed during shotgun season, and also would result in more suffering for the deer. They also say it would lessen the opportunity for people to hike trails.

“This is a drastic change,” Richard Whalen said of the idea of allowing shotgun hunting on the weekends. “You’re going to tell most of the citizenry of the town to stay out of most parks in town? We shouldn’t do it.”

The president of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, Bill Crain, who has been a vociferous advocate for deer, pleaded with the Town Board to adopt the law and abstain from subjecting the deer to more pain and suffering. “The level of cruelness of bowhunting is higher,” he said. “We wouldn’t want all this killing inflicted on us.”

Robin Laton, an East Hampton resident, said she didn’t want to see more bowhunting, either, adding that she has seen the gruesome effects of it.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever had a deer stumble into your yard that was shot three times and stumbles away before you can even contact the police to put it down,” she said. “It’s the most horrible thing to see. We have to learn to live with them. We have to take some responsibility that we are pushing them out of their own land.”

Town Sets Charging Price

The Town Board officially set the price of charging an electric car at its new charging station at Town Hall at $2.50 for three hours, which is the typical time it takes for most cars to recharge completely. Electric car owners will be able to use their credit cards to pay for a charge.

Town-owned electric cars will be allowed to get electric from the charger for free, according to board members. Other electric charging stations—at Revco in Southampton and Otis Ford in Quogue—do not charge drivers to power up their cars, but East Hampton Town officials said the $2.50 charge will help cover the cost of operating the charging station.

The board also adopted a new law that will make it easier for residents to install or upgrade their own charging stations. Those who want to install or upgrade private charging stations will not be required to obtain a building permit unless their system generates more than 20 amps, doesn’t comply to National Electric code requirements, or is not installed by a licensed electrician.

Building Inspector Resigns

Building Inspector Robert Fisher, who was suspended for 30 days back in September, officially resigned on November 28.

According to town officials, he had been suspended due to alleged misconduct and incompetence, but town officials said they could not comment further on the problems leading up to the suspension. In his stead, the town appointed Fred Lang Jr. as a part-time building inspector at $30 per hour.

The town’s chief building inspector, Tom Preiato, recently resigned and began to work for the Village of Sag Harbor as its chief building inspector. Last week, the Town Board adopted his payout for a gross total of $8,190 for an accrual of 237.83 vacation hours.

In 2013, the town appointed Mr. Preiato as chief building inspector on a provisional basis, increasing his salary from $61,500 to $75,000. Mr. Preiato had been a senior building inspector at the time and had acted as chief. Prior to Mr. Preiato stepping in, the post had remained vacant following the death of former Chief Building Inspector Don Sharkey in July 2009.

In his new position in Sag Harbor Village, Mr. Preiato will earn a $75,000 annual salary.

Also last week, the town appointed Allison Duchemin as a provisional ordinance inspector with an annual salary of $44,757.

Ease for Farmers

One less step will be required for farmers who want to build on land for which the town has development rights.

Last week, the Town Board also adopted a new law that would waive the requirement to get Town Board approval on farm structures. Instead, approval will have to be obtained from the town’s Architectural Review Board and Planning Board.

According to Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, getting a third approval from the Town Board was redundant.

“It’s just another way to make the process easier by taking away some of the roadblocks,” he said. “And there’s more to come on that as well. The town’s Agricultural Advisory Committee is looking for all sorts of ways that we can assist farmers and encourage farming without sacrificing quality of life issues.”

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