Village to look into intermunicipal agreement with Patchogue
Bellport village hall

File photo village hall

Village to look into intermunicipal agreement with Patchogue

Story By: TARA SMITH
11/2/2017


 

At a board meeting Monday night, Bellport Village officials approved a $12,000 traffic study and voted to remove a stop sign on Bellport Lane from the code. 

Both measures passed 4-0, with trustee Steve Mackin absent.

The sign went up after an informal traffic study conducted by Mackin showed a need to calm traffic on Bellport Lane. “Despite doing our due diligence and properly advertising our public hearing, as sometimes happens, no one found out until the sign was actually standing in the street,” village attorney Dave Moran explained during a work session Monday night. “That led to some opposition and some in favor, and the usual rigmarole in our public hearings.”

The board also looked into accident statistics in the village and found Bellport Lane to have the highest number of fender benders, after South Country Road and Station Road, respectively.

Some residents again spoke out during the public hearing against the stop sign, many claiming that they don’t think there is a traffic issue at all. Browns Lane resident Joanne Specht said she frequents Bellport Lane and has lived in the village for several years, and doesn’t think there is a traffic problem at all. “I have three children, so if there was a speeding issue I’d be extremely sensitive. I’m on Bellport Lane all the time,” she said, noting the family walks around the village during the summer months. “I never feel nervous for my children, or my dog or my mother, who is 94 and walks with a walker up and down Bellport Lane.” She opposed the idea of a stop sign and said, “I hope there’s a more creative and aesthetically pleasing solution if there has to be one.”

With that, some residents also spoke out against the proposed traffic study that would look at several ‘key’ areas in the village, including Bellport Lane. The study, which would be completed by Sam Schwartz Engineers, would cost $12,000 and include a road assessment, meetings with residents and development of a concept improvement plan.

Resident John Vitale asked the board to know more details about the study itself, and what methods would be used. He concluded that the study might not be worth it, since some drivers would choose to speed no matter what the study says.

Ultimately, the board approved the study.

Moran justified the board’s position, reiterating that the issue came about as more of an overall pedestrian and safety issue. “During the summer, people are walking, running, riding bikes,” he said. At a previous work session, Moran also pointed out that many residents opposed to the stop sign slammed the board for their inexperience and lack of expertise with regard to traffic planning. “We can’t be held accountable for not having the expertise and then judged when we go out and get it,” Moran said. Rosenberg agreed. “With the study, you can say to the residents, ‘look, this isn’t four amateurs making the decision anymore,’” he said. 

Also at the meeting:

Several intermunicipal agreements approved

The board voted to enter into an IMA with Suffolk County for a one-year shared services pilot program that county officials say will save $37 million. 

All 10 towns, 19 villages and four school districts will be able to rent equipment and services from each other via a virtual store, as well as save on purchasing things like salt for the roads.

“The county will evaluate the program at the end of next year and decide whether or not to move forward or disband the program,” said Mayor Ray Fell.
After the Village of Bellport loaned two code cars to the Village of Patchogue for last weekend’s rainy Suffolk County Marathon, the board formally approved the intermunicipal agreement Monday night. Fell said that sparked the idea to have an IMA where these kinds of services can be shared in a longer, yearlong agreement. “So we don’t have to do this every time we do something like this with Patchogue,” he said. Fell said that Moran would meet with Patchogue village attorney Brian Egan to look into that option.

Marina fees

The board pondered a $2 per foot increase this year at a work session ahead of the Oct. 30 meeting. “I would suggest we leave it alone,” said trustee Mike Ferrigno during the discussion at the meeting.

But Fell suggested the board review all fees generated from the marina, ferry and Ho-Hum at the next work session in November. “We’ll see exactly what each of those areas cost us and what we have to do to break even down there. Maybe we should table this until our next meeting and discuss it more.”

Deputy mayor Joe Gagliano said he was prepared to vote that evening not to increase the fees. The board ultimately voted to keep marina fees the same for 2018. According to Fell, this marks the fifth year in a row that marina fees would not increase.

Special rentals work session set

The board will hold a special public work session at village hall on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. to discuss both long- and short-term rentals in the village. Fell said they would discuss any issues that arose this season in an effort to better prepare for next year.