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Parking Changes Afoot in PumpkinTown

Parking on north side of Montauk Highway prohibited; more spaces for pumpkin pickers available on site.

Parking at fall time attraction PumpkinTown in Water Mill will be different for this year’s crop of pickers.

Following the town’s concerns about traffic and safety, New York State Department of Transportation banned parking on the north side of Montauk Highway, said Tom Neely, Southampton Town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety. On Thursday, the town followed suit and prohibited parking between Sept. 1 and Nov. 15 on Fairbanks Court, a small cul-de-sac opposite PumpkinTown’s patch.

“This regulation really goes along with what the state is enacting, so people don’t just decide to park on Fairbanks Court and cross the road,” Neely said.

The state’s ban extends only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., keeping the north side of Montauk Highway open for visitors to the new Parrish art museum and the wineries, Neely said. He said state crews will return to Long Island to put in the new signs in the coming weeks. They were deployed upstate to clean up from Tropical Storm Irene, he said.

PumpkinTown owner Henry Kraszewski said in an email that he added additional parking at his attraction. He worked with Town Board Member Nancy Graboski and Chief Fire Marshal Cheryl Kraft on parking concerns.

The patch, corn maze and accompanying harvest-time attractions open Saturday, Sept. 17, according to the business's website.

“This would be a help,” said William Fay, a resident of Fairbanks Court, during a hearing on the parking regulation held Thursday.

Mary Spellman, another Fairbanks Court resident, asked the Town to install only a few signs displaying the new parking rules – or, only one at the beginning of the street. Her community has the benefit of underground utilities, and she does not want to see the landscape marred with new signage.

She added that it’s only a short period of time that pumpkin pickers come to Water Mill.

But to be able to enforce the law, and ticket violators, the town has to place one sign every 175 feet, Neely said. The Town Board may be able to make arrangements with the highway department to remove the signs mid-November and install them early September, keeping them out of sight most of the year, he said.

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