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Apr 25, 2012 10:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town ZBA Won’t Rule On Legality Of Bridgehampton Business Until June

Apr 25, 2012 11:21 AM

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to decide in June whether or not a Bridgehampton sand and gravel business is legal.

At issue is whether the board should grant an appeal to neighbors of the business—Wainscott Sand and Gravel, also known as the Sand Land Corporation—who are contending that the operation does not predate town zoning. In July 2011, Town Chief Building Inspector Michael Benincasa decided that the company is entitled to a pre-existing, nonconforming use certificate of occupancy for “the operation of a sand mine, the receipt and processing of trees, brush, stumps, leaves and other clearing debris into topsoil or mulch, and the storage, sale, and delivery of sand, mulch, topsoil and wood chips and any other relief necessary.”

Last Thursday, April 19, the board closed a public hearing and set a decision date of June 21, following brief comments on a noise study submitted by Sand Land Corp. and conducted by SoundSense, an East Hampton acoustical engineering and consulting company. The report states that “various equipment modifications,” specifically to the grinder and gravel plant, were made between the end of January and mid-April, following the taking of sound-level measurements on three dates—January 31, March 22 and April 10. The document notes that, as of the last site visit, all equipment was brought into compliance with town code.

“I just emphasize that the interesting thing about the report is that it concedes that there was a noise problem, at least initially,” said Zachary Murdock, the attorney for Joseph Phair, Margot Gilman and Amelia Doggwiler, the three Bridgehampton residents who are appealing Mr. Benincasa’s determination.

They are also suing Sand Land Corp. over what they believe is an illegal commercial business.

“We reserve comment on whether the remediation measures were effective,” Mr. Murdock added.

In an April 18 letter to the board, Mr. Murdock pointed out some shortcomings he saw in the study, such as its failure to account for the noise generated by trucks going to and from the site, as well as the objectivity of a report paid for by “an owner that can do much to control or moderate activities during testing times.”

David Eagan, the attorney representing John Tintle, the owner of Sand Land Corp., told the board last Thursday that a small problem had been identified and immediately fixed. “It should speak volumes of our client’s attempts to be a good neighbor,” Mr. Eagan said.

Sand Land Corp. and its attorneys had volunteered in January to commission the study in an effort to address noise complaints that neighbors have voiced regarding the business.

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