July 19, 2006
Quality of Life
Here's a puzzling conundrum: If The Hamptons lures tourists on vacation, why do the local towns ensure that many visitors experience more noise than can be humanly tolerated?
You know the picture. You're laying on your chaise lounge by the pool, lemonade on the table, ready for a little snooze in the sun. Then the noise parade starts: snotty kids on motor bikes with bad mufflers, lawn mowers powerful enough to blow the forest down, leaf blowers, kids screaming and bouncing basketballs on portable, illegal basketball courts set up in the streets.
How about nail-banging construction workers in huge trucks right outside your window?
Construction sites can go berserk with noise starting at 7 a.m. seven days a week. On July Fourth, you can be made half-deaf before you've had a cup of coffee.
Both Southampton and East Hampton officials further acknowledged they virtually never give out violations for noise ordinances for lawn mowers and the like for a variety of reasons.
Think of the paradox: towns that actively try to limit building through upzoning and buying lots for preservation purposes actually allow builders to work all day, every day. What does that say about the quality of life for the rest of us?
Here's a suggestion: Construction job sites should be allowed to work normal days — say from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The weekends are for relaxation and quiet.