Town Hall Notes: Southold signs pact with county and village to build trails

After two years of red tape, Southold is on the verge of creating a trail network linking Peconic Bay to Long Island Sound.

The planned Bay to Sound Integrated Trails Initiative hiking path, first proposed in 2009, will connect 325 acres owned by the town, Suffolk County and Greenport Village, beginning at Mitchell Park in Greenport and ending at Clark’s Beach on the Sound.

The Town Board agreed Tuesday night to sign intermunicipal agreements with the village and the county to install six kiosks and five trailhead parking areas along the length of the path, which will pass through Moore’s Woods and along the western edge of Silver Lake en route to Clark’s Beach. If funding allows, the town may also replace a footbridge on Pipe’s Cove.

Southold received a $35,000 matching grant from Suffolk County in 2009 to complete the project. Town land preservation committee chairman John Sepenoski told the board Tuesday that community and scout groups have already matched that grant with $15,000 worth of volunteer labor.

More culture wanted

The 118 people who responded to a recent town survey about their recreation needs cited cultural programs as one of their biggest desires.

“They like what we’re doing in general. They think we have enough sports activities, with the exception of a swimming pool. That’s the first thing everyone mentions,” Southold recreation employee Judith McCleery told the board Tuesday. “There’s a desire for additional programming in arts and crafts and cultural activities, computer skills, painting, drawing, all the things you can sit down and be quiet with.”

The town plans to survey local students next when the school year starts this fall.

The former Peconic School building, next door to the Peconic Lane Recreation Center, is expected to open as a new community center later this summer, and the town is looking to partner with the East End Arts Council to offer programming there.
“You can add recreation events without a cost to the town. It pays for itself,” said Supervisor Scott Russell.

Mr. Russell joked that he’d like to take a class in stand-up comedy at the new community center.

“I told people I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. They just laughed at me. They’re not laughing anymore,” he said.

Event permits may be revamped

Southold’s special events committee has completed a rough draft of a new special event permit application process, referred this week to the town code committee for review.

Last year, after issuing several citations for events at wineries, the town convened the special events committee to review the code to address winery owners’ concerns and keep the process in line with New York State Liquor Authority and Agriculture and Markets regulations.

The proposed law includes definitions of special events that cover anything beyond the permitted uses of winery properties, town attorney Martin Finnegan said at Tuesday’s work session. Mr. Finnegan said events such as those that include amplified music would trigger the special event permit process, requiring the Zoning Board of Appeals to review the use of private property for large events. Special events held on public property would come before the Town Board.

Mr. Finnegan said the pending law attempts to clarify the definition of a winery use, including what type of food may be served there. As drafted, only light finger foods could be served at wineries.

The special events committee worked with councilmen Vincent Orlando and Al Krupski on the law. Councilman Chris Talbot joked that Mr. Krupski, a farmer, had interpreted “finger foods” to include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and pumpkins.

“I can’t think of a more romantic evening than sitting eating a big plate of broccoli and listening to Big Suga,” joked Mr. Russell, referring to former supervisor Josh Horton’s former band, which often played at Peconic Bay Winery.

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