East Hampton Town officials, seeking to limit disruptions caused by Montauk's summer visitors, are taking steps to ease traffic congestion downtown and are considering a stronger music licensing law.
Town board members plan to add another public parking lot and have hired an engineer to study pedestrian and traffic safety issues.
Year-round residents of the hamlet and some business owners reached their boiling points this summer and demanded something be done to restore order after an extraordinarily raucous Fourth of July weekend resulted in 400 complaints to police.
Some residents said they would not go downtown at night during the summer because the streets were packed with drunken and rowdy young visitors. They said they also avoided the area because illegally parked cars or a glut of taxis making pickups or drop-offs made it difficult to find parking or walk safely through the streets.
"There are multiple issues here," East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "They include traffic congestion and pedestrian safety in the downtown area -- some of which is due to a lack of public parking."
Cantwell said the new municipal lot would accommodate 50 or 60 more vehicles, doubling the number of public parking spaces. It would be located at the corner of South Euclid Avenue and South Edison Street, adjacent to the existing lot. The estimated cost is $300,000. Cantwell said he would like to see it completed by the start of next summer.
The engineering firm LK McLean Associates of Brookhaven will be paid $54,000 to study broader traffic and pedestrian safety issues downtown.
At Tuesday's board meeting, during which McLean was hired, there was also an administrative hearing held on five noise violations issued to the restaurant Ciao By The Beach that Cantwell said highlighted the need to take another look at the town's music licensing law. The supervisor said the law requires any bar or restaurant featuring live music to get a license from the town. Ciao By The Beach plays live music.
"We intend to look at the music licensing law before next year," Cantwell said. He noted that businesses and restaurants now can renew their music licenses automatically with no fee if they have no more than three violations in one year.
Assistant Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said that if a business has three violations it is brought before the board, which has several options at its disposal. He said Ciao received three violations for loud music and two for having amplified music after 9 p.m.