Legit outdoor dining is in the offing.

Outdoor Dining Hearing Closed

A public hearing allowing small take-out restaurants to add up to 16 sidewalk seats as part of East Hampton Town’s Downtown Montauk Outdoor Dining Right-of-Way Pilot Program closed at the town board’s meeting last Thursday.

Under the program, the fire marshal’s office would review the locations of tables, making sure passersby have enough room to walk, and approve a permit to the tune of $150.

“We know everyone likes to dine outside during the summer, so we hope this makes it good for businesses, and makes it clear for code enforcement,” said Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who is the board’s liaison to the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee.

Springs resident David Buda questioned whether there were any provisions within the program to protect against any litter generated from the takeout restaurants.

Overby said there aren’t any provisions in the proposed program, but there are in the town code. She said she believed the businesses, Montauk Chamber of Commerce, and the town could work together to ensure litter does not get out of hand.

The chamber has installed trash cans for recyclables, which are sponsored by local businesses, and the town has been picking the refuse up, Overby said.

“Always, litter is a problem,” she added.

The proposal came out of the town’s business committee. It’s the third part of the pilot program legislation, which first made it possible for restaurants to have outdoor dining, then was followed by a provision allowing smaller takeout restaurants to have 16 seats in their establishments.

In other Montauk news, the board moved forward with plans to pursue temporary housing for seasonal workers in Montauk. The town is sending out a request for proposals, which will be due back by July 31. A pre-proposal meeting will be held on May 9. The idea behind the project is to provide affordable local housing for the hamlet’s seasonal workforce, which would also reduce the amount of congestion on the roadways in the summer season.

The board approved $150,000 in funding for the Hampton Hopper to run a shuttle bus in Montauk for the summer season. The cost will be offset by a $100,000 in state grant funding set aside by Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

The Ditch Witch was approved once again as the town’s mobile concessionaire for Otis Road at Ditch Plains Beach. The bid came in at $12,825.

Also, at the town board meeting:
• The board scheduled public hearings on the acquisition of properties under the Community Preservation Fund. The properties included 105 Sycamore Drive, Springs for $290,000 and 269 Fairview Avenue, Montauk for $585,000, respectively.
• Christine Ganitsch was appointed to the CPF Advisory Board.
• Oyster gardening fees for the East Hampton Shellfish Education and Enhancement Directive were set at $250 for first-year oyster gardeners and $150 per year thereafter. The fee will entitle oyster gardeners access to oyster growing gear, assistance from the town’s shellfish hatchery staff, and oyster seed in order to maintain their crop of 1000 oysters as determined by New York State.

The town’s hatchery will also assist oyster gardeners who would like to cultivate oysters off their own docks for an initial fee of $350, under the assumption that the farmer would keep the gear used to grow oysters. The farmers would also have to obtain a license to collect shellfish from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Subsequent sustaining member fees would be $100 and would entitle the gardener an annual allotment of new oyster seed in order to maintain their state allotment of oysters.

peggy@indyeastend.com