Paul Visentin, an 8-year resident of Hampton Bays, said he has had enough and is set to spend a day repairing all the potholes on a private road, called Atlantic Avenue.
The street, which is just one of 562 private roads in the Town of Southampton and one of 155 in Hampton Bays, has fallen into disrepair with over 15 pot holes, said Visentin.
"We need to fix the road before it gets bad, like Shore Road, which is pretty much impassable right now," Visentin said. "We don't want that to happen to our road."
Visentin said he has been to the town countless times, trying to get the town to take over Atlantic Avenue, but, he said, it has been to no avail.
"They tell us they have no money to take it over," yet, Visentin said, "I pay taxes to maintain all the other roads in town and don't get a tax break."
Becoming embarrassed by the state of Atlantic Avenue, Visentin said he decided to take the problem into his own hands with a plan to fix all the pot holes on Atlantic Avenue between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 24, starting with the largest holes first.
He said he also hopes to also enlist the support of the 40 other homeowners on the street and already, he has been passing around a flyer asking for either donations or time to help with the repairs.
Visentin estimates that the cost to repair the road will be about $1,000 in supplies.
"If we paid someone to do it, it would cost a lot more," he said, noting that he hopes that his neighbors will agree to help defray the cost of the repairs, but if they don't, he said he is prepared to use his own money.
Since he began handing out flyers on Tuesday, Visentin said he has already garnered positive feedback with at least 25 neighbors agreeing to log man hours.
"This project will be a good test to see if other private roads in the town of Southampton can work together and fix their own roads on a very limited budget. It is an experiment," said Visentin, adding, "But it doesn't mean that we ultimately that we don't still want the town to take over and maintain our roads. This is simply taking action to save our roads until something can be done."
Visentin said he couldn't simply sit back and watch his road fall apart.
"I want to do something before the road gets so bad that emergency vehicles can't get through," he said.
According to North Sea resident John Watson, the chair of the town’s ad hoc unimproved roads committee, the town's highway department will repair roads in an emergency situation, but otherwise has no obligation to maintain or repair private roads.
The only way to bring a road into the system, he said, is to gain the approval of all of the residents of a private road to pay to bring the road up to town standards, which Watson said is costly.
However, Watson has been working for the past 18 months to develop a program to bring more private roads into the town highway department's jurisdiction without residents having to dig deep into their pockets. And in June 2012, he presented his proposal to bring between 5 and 8 private roads into the town system a year at an estimated cost of $500,000 per year.
It is similar to a program that the town had instituted in 1976, but dropped for reasons unknown.
The Southampton Town Board has yet to vote on the new proposal, said Watson, who said he intends to continue to fight for a private roads program and is in the process of exploring the correlation between assessment values of homes with private roads and those whose streets are in the town road system.
"I expected that the assessment will be less for homes with unimproved roads," said Watson, who said that there are currently 1,322 homes on private roads in Hampton Bays — the largest amount in the town next to North Sea where there are 700 homes on private streets.
Those numbers can be compared to the town average of 562 private roads with a total of 4,424 homes on them.
For more information or to help out with the Atlantic Avenue project, e-mail Visentin at firstname.lastname@example.org and to reach Watson, e-mail email@example.com.
- Civic Lends Its Weight to Unimproved Road Cause
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