Concerned that landowners were clearing too much natural vegetation from their properties, the East Hampton Town Board yesterday approved new regulations to limit the practice.
The new law sets a sliding scale detailing what percentage of the natural vegetation on different size properties can be cleared. For example, all vegetation can be cleared on a quarter-acre lot but no more than 25 percent of the vegetation can be removed on a half-acre or one-acre lot.
"Clearing" is defined to include the removal of not only plants, but also ground cover including "leaf litter and other organic detritus."
Supposedly, the board showed mercy with a last minute change to allow the removal of poison ivy. But homeowners still need a permit to clear affected portions of their land, even if it's to plant a garden.
Q. My yard is already cleared and has been for many years. Does this law affect me?
A: No, if your lot was cleared before the enactment of this legislation. Part of your proof for the pre-existence of the clearing will be the recent aerial photographs taken by the Town.