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East Hampton mulls designated spaces for electric vehicles

East Hampton Town councilman Peter Van Scoyoc speaks

East Hampton Town councilman Peter Van Scoyoc speaks during the State of the Town address on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 at the East Hampton Town Hall in East Hampton. Credit: Randee Daddona

An East Hampton councilman’s proposal to provide designated parking spots throughout the town for electric vehicles was met Tuesday with mixed views.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, who said he thought the special parking spots would be a good way to make drivers aware of the clean alternative to fossil fuels, requested that town board members discuss the matter during a Town Hall work session.

Van Scoyoc said that electric vehicles will drive the future and that motorists need to become more aware of them and learn about their advantages. He suggested one spot be placed in selected parking locations such as those provided now for the disabled.

“It’s not a golf cart; it really has come a long way,” Van Scoyoc said, referring to electric cars.

He added that the vehicles have “zero” emissions and that the town’s promotion of their use through the parking spaces is in keeping with its clean energy leadership, which has included the location of three electric car fueling stations and adding some electric cars to the Department of Human Services’ fleet.

“That is the wave of the future,” Van Scoyoc said.

Pointing to the town’s commitment to renewable energy, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said designating parking spots for electric cars is a great idea. “This really says we’ve put our money where our mouth is,” she said.

But Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he wasn’t quite sold. He questioned whether the town should set aside more special parking spaces in addition to those for the disabled when drivers already have difficulty finding parking in town.

“I feel parking in this community is at a premium,” agreed Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.

She asked whether data exists on how many people in the area drive electric cars and how much the two electric car stations are being used. One is near Town Hall at the police department substation, and the other is at East Hampton Airport in Wainscott.

Van Scoyoc said the answers could be researched, and Cantwell asked that Van Scoyoc also put together a list of possible sites for the spots before the matter is discussed further.

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