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Jan 21, 2009 3:41 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town has no plans for motorcross near airport

Jan 21, 2009 3:41 PM

Arthur French considers himself a serious hot-rodder, but if you ask the Wainscott resident if he wants to hear motorcycles and ATVs roaring around the East Hampton Airport, not far from his house, he’ll tell you it’s a bad idea.

Mr. French, who is a member of the town’s Airport Advisory Committee and has long been an advocate for noise reduction at the airport, said that “rumors are rampant” that a proposal by biker advocate Martin Drew in August to build moto-cross trails in the woods will become a reality. Mr. French told the East Hampton Town Board on Friday that a number of people have called him to say that they think allowing dirt bikes and ATVs in the woods is a bad idea.

Members of the Town Board agreed. “That’s the furthest thing from the truth,” Town Supervisor Bill McGintee told Mr. French. And in any case, he added, “The land can’t be used until we complete the master plan for the airport.” He said that there is no intention on the part of the Town Board to allow any kind of motorized access to those woods.

Board member Pat Mansir said that she did not want to see motorcycles polluting the woods on top of the town’s deepest aquifer. Town Board member Julia Prince said that she is more amenable to another of Mr. Drew’s plans to allow riders to use some land at the former town landfill.

Mr. Drew, who heads a group called the Long Island Sports Committee, proposed in August that the town allocate between three and seven acres of town land north of the airport for use as a bike track. He told the board then that he wanted riders of both non-motorized and motor bikes to have a place to go in town because they are banned from the town’s trail system. Mr. McGintee said at that time that the land that Mr. Drew had requested had already been preserved as open space, and therefore could not be used for active recreation.

Also at its meeting on Friday, the town agreed to adopt a Land Acquisition Management budget, which was required by New York State in an attempt to add transparency to the handling of Community Preservation Fund money by all five East End towns. East Hampton’s inappropriate use of the fund in 2007 sparked the new rule requiring a separate management budget. During that year, the town charged the CPF for a number of questionable expenses.

The fund’s management budget for 2009 is $10 million, which includes a portion of the purchase of 76 acres from Dick Cavett in Montauk. The town plans to spend $482,000 on the renovation of the Selah Lester house and the Amagansett Lifesaving Station and $165,000 for three master carpenters to work on the historic projects. Both of those projects have come under fire from critics, who believe that they might not meet the state’s guidelines for historic preservation. The town has also allocated $123,000 for salaries for land acquisitions manager Scott Wilson and his staff.

Also on Friday, the town adopted an amendment to its Community Housing Opportunity Fund law that would allow the town to use it as the trust to receive money through the Long Island Workforce Housing Act, a state law that went into effect in August 2008.

Under the law, developers who build five or more housing units will be required to either add affordable units to their projects or pay into a town-administered fund for affordable housing. The town is required to spend the money on affordable housing within three years, or it will be sent to the Long Island Housing Partnership, a non-profit affordable housing organization.

The amendment also reduces the number of residents who sit on the fund’s advisory board from 15 to seven.

Also on Friday, the Town Board agreed to hire architect Armando Ortiz to design a renovation of the 50-unit Accabonac Apartments affordable housing complex at 316 Accabonac Road.

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