The Westhampton Beach Village Board has agreed to hold open a public hearing until later this month before deciding whether it should reduce the speed limits on four village roads.
The streets in question—Rogers Avenue, the Rogers Avenue Extension, Hazelwood Avenue and Bridle Path—could all see their speed limits reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph if the changes to the village’s vehicle and traffic law are enacted. Trustees discussed the proposal, which was prompted by a petition filed in early November by 42 village residents who are concerned about speeding in the village, at last Thursday night’s board meeting.
According to Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro, Westhampton Beach Police Chief Ray Dean and Trustee Ralph Urban met with some of petitioners who live on Rogers Avenue and the extension toward the end of the year. She said that data collected by the police department revealed that most drivers on those two streets did not exceed the 30-mph limit. Trustees, however, are still being asked to consider lowering the speed limit to appease residents on those blocks.
The public hearing was opened at last week’s meeting, and will be held open for comments until the board’s next work session scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, at 7 p.m. No one from the public addressed the board on the issue last Thursday evening.
If approved, the changes would first be applied to the Rogers Avenue Extension and Rogers and Hazelwood avenues, with Bridle Path’s speed limit being lowered 90 days later. All four roads are located north and east of the intersection of Old Riverhead Road and Montauk Highway.
“Once you do the change, you have to enforce it,” said Village Mayor Conrad Teller during last week’s hearing, explaining that police would be patrolling the area.
Also on Thursday night, trustees appointed Bridgehampton resident Francis Fineo, 53, as the acting village justice, replacing Rose Lowe who resigned from the position last month for personal reasons. Mr. Fineo, who also serves as an associate justice for the Village of Mastic Beach, is a partner at the Woodbury-based law firm Berger, Fischoff and Shumer LLP.
According to Ms. Molinaro, the current term for the position expires on June 31, and Mr. Fineo will have to be reappointed by the board annually at its organizational meeting in July. As part of his job, Mr. Fineo, who will be compensated $3,250 per year, will be on-call 24 hours a day in the event that permanent Village Justice Robert A. Kelly Jr. is not available or must recuse himself from a particular case.
Finally, trustees scheduled the 2013 village election for Friday, June 21, and the polls will be open from noon until 9 p.m. that day. There are two available seats on the board this year as Deputy Mayor Hank Tucker and Trustee Patricia DiBenedetto are both up for reelection. Petitions to enter the race must be submitted to Ms. Molinaro between May 10 and May 17. She explained that Village Hall will remain open an extra hour, until 5 p.m., on May 17 to accept petitions, in accordance with state election law.