Posting police to protect pumpkin pickers?

10/04/2011 12:36 PM |

With the onslaught of pumpkin picking traffic in full swing on the North Fork, Southold’s Transportation Commission has recommended that the Harbes Family Farm on Sound Ave. in Mattituck pay for a traffic control officer during the fall season.

Not this year, but in the future.

The  commission made its recommendation to the town Planning Board, which is currently reviewing a site plan for the Harbes existing winery building. The Harbes family, which has farm operations on both sides of Sound Avenue,  plans to create a crosswalk.

Town Planner Brian Cummings told the board  Monday night that the commission has three suggestions for curbing traffic problems in front of the farm.

The group’s first preference is a traffic control officer, who would work for the town police department but be paid for by the Harbes farm.

Second is requiring that pumpkin pickers park in a field on the Harbes family’s property off  Aldrich Lane near the Harbes’ u-pick pumpkin field. But Planning Board members said that with crop rotation it’s  doubtful that the farmers would plant pumpkins on the same site  every year.

The third suggestion was to install a traffic signal at the crosswalk to be used only during the fall season. “They weren’t wild about that,” said Planning Director Heather Lanza.

Board member Don Wilcenski said that there have already been accidents in front of the farm this fall.

“People cross back and forth there a lot,” Ms. Lanza said. “There is a real traffic issue there. It is a fairly unique situation.”

Planning Board members suggested that the traffic control officer could work at the location on weekends and holidays between late September and the end of October.

The Harbes’ attorney, Charles Cuddy, agreed to discuss the suggestions with his clients, whom he said have already offered to help alleviate the traffic problems outside their business.