Sharon McCobb said goodbye and David Lys said hello at an East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals work session on March 12, Mr. Lys’s first as a member of the board.
Mr. Lys, whose term will run through the end of 2017, replaces Ms. McCobb, leaving the board with no female members, but the two have some things in common. Both are personal trainers, both live in Springs, and Mr. Lys will be the board’s Springs representative, as Ms. McCobb was.
Mr. Lys is best known for helping found Citizens for Access Rights, an organization dedicated to preventing the privatization of public beaches in the town. “Our mission is to protect unfettered access to our public beaches,” he said in an interview last week. “It was a very grassroots thing. I love the beaches.”
The organization is currently weighing in on the side of the town and its trustees, fighting a suit by Seaview at Amagansett Limited, which claims that the beach in front of the White Sands, as well as other beachfront in the town, is privately owned, Mr. Lys said. He also serves on the board of the Amagansett Life Saving and Coast Guard Society.
Like many on the South Fork, he has two jobs, prescriptive athletic training as well as running Weekend Warrior Tours and Outfitters, whose clients tour the area by kayak, paddle board, and bike. Born in Southampton, he graduated from East Hampton High School in 1994, but his academic career was delayed when he was diagnosed in 1997 with Ewings sarcoma. He won his battle, though he needed a hip replacement, then graduated from Penn State in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology, the study of human movement. He and his wife, a physical therapist with a practice in Montauk, met in England after college and now have three daughters.
When one of his daughters asked him after his appointment why he was going to be working at night and appearing on LTV, he told her, “I want your home town to be what I had when I grew up.”
An LTV junkie for the past few years, Mr. Lys said he often watched the board meetings on TV. “Now I’ll be able to use my voice,” he said. “I want to find out the full story [of any appeal], before I make my determination.”
Mr. Lys’s name was put forward by East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc on March 7, with Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, also a Democrat, and Councilman Dominick Stanzione, a Republican, voting for his appointment.
“They replaced one fitness person with another,” joked Ms. McCobb, who has served on the board since the middle of 2007. She turned serious, though, as she reflected on her time on the board.
“I think the thing I was most leery of was revetments,” she said. “That’s the one thing this town has to be careful of. I’m not completely against them,” she said, but added that she had seen too many cases where one neighbor can afford a revetment, while the other neighbor cannot. The one who cannot, she said, eventually watches part of his or her land get washed away, an unintended consequence of revetments.
Ms. McCobb, an experienced triathlete, is the athletic director of i-tri, an organization dedicated to helping teenage girls with low self-esteem find themselves through the rigors of the triathlon.
“We have 45 members now,” she said. Launched at Springs School as a pilot program, it has grown exponentially and may expand again next year into Southampton.
“There is a learning curve,” she said of Mr. Lys’s near future on the board. Though she anticipates him fitting right in, Mr. Lys has his work cut out for him. His first hearing on March 12 was three hours long and involved the controversial Dunes Retreat, a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility on Bull Run in East Hampton.