Running for East Hampton Town Board
Endorsements: Independence Party
Experience, Philosophy, and Relationships
Accomplishments and experiences that would indicate my commitment to advancing an environmental agenda for East Hampton:
Politically, I am currently an East Hampton Town Trustee, and I have served 6 terms, a total of 12 years. During my 12 years as a trustee I have established myself as an independent thinker with a direct and open communication style. I will do my homework on issues so that I can make the best decisions as required.
Also during my tenure, I have focused on keeping our bays and waterways open to all Town Residents. I have placed my efforts toward keeping our commercial and recreational fishing and shell fishing industries operating at the highest levels.
I have been, and, as a future Town Board member, will continue to use my experience and sound judgment to what is best for the Town of East Hampton and its citizens.
Some specific areas and programs I have successfully worked on are:
Dredging and harbor maintenance
I would like to state that one of my campaign goals in regards to specific beach and water quality issues is the Town purchase and operation of a dredge. Through this initiative we would be able to self-maintain our harbors and waterways. This operation will also maintain our water quality and provide safe navigation in and out of our harbors. The scope of this project would save money in the long term, provide additional jobs within the Town, and ensure timely maintenance of our harbors.
2. What is the role of town government regulation and enforcement in maintaining a clean sustainable environment? What, if any, changes are the most important?
I would like to see the Town establish as the priority drinking water protection area for East Hampton Town the area between the East Hampton/Southampton Town Boundary, the East Hampton Town/Sag Harbor Village boundary, Route 114 and the area north of the existing East Hampton airport. I would recommend all vacant parcels within this area be included on the Community Preservation Fund List for priority acquisition, if it has not already occurred.
That being said I would like to state my position on the development of an improved town sewage system. In the wake of reports about how population increase, town growth and development, and septic systems are fouling the local waters, a sewage treatment system that would utilize current technologies is an environmental necessity. This would be a first step in fighting nitrogen pollution in our groundwater and bays, an area I am passionate about. I believe that researching the trends in this area, discussing the various aspects associated with this project, implementing a system which will best suited for the job and meet the needs of our town in the future, is an important future goal to focus on.
Wind energy, long overdue in East Hampton, has begun to take its place as a viable option. The first small "windmill" on Long Lane has proven that it is safe, quiet, and not the eye sore that vocal opponents made it out to be. This is also a help to the farming industry in our town.
Ban plastic bags in the town. They float around on windy days, get caught in the trees and bushes and become a visual blemish on our roads. They often end up in the ocean where they trap and entangle fish, birds, and other wildlife. Paper bags worked for years and will continue to do so. Let's go back to them.
The deer issue and how to handle it is very important. Currently the herds throughout the town are causing car accidents, causing plane accidents as they graze at airports, destroying property, and carrying tick borne illnesses. Having outgrown their range areas, and as more and more homes and businesses put up deer fencing in attempts to solve their problems, the deer population is shrunk into smaller and smaller areas. Along with increasing deer population density, less grazing and food areas, a recipe for catastrophe has occurred. This can be observed in both in human safety and deer safety.
Deer birth control, deer spray stations to apply tick insecticide, and the ever unpopular thought of culling the herds through hunting. This, if done correctly, could help improve the situation quickly and inexpensively.
3. What resources, experts or opinions will you consult when making decisions that affect East Hampton Town's environmental issues?
I would continue to rely on the input of the Natural Resources Department and Larry Penny.
Your group, East Hampton Environmental Coalition, is made up of many groups of community members with expertise in their specific area. Using these groups, and members, as an additional resource would be a positive.
Coastal, Drinking and Surface Water
3. In view of the extreme weather conditions as of late, what should East Hampton Town, as a coastal community, do in the short and long term to prepare for these changes?
First off, as stated above, clean drinking water is a priority. As our population density increases during the summer months, salt water intrusion into our water tables is always a concern. As water percolates slowly to the water table it also carries pollutants with it.
Rising sea levels, although a slower issue, also influences our coastline and marine life.
Recent studies done by the Suffolk Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan states, "that in the span of two quick decades in some coastal locations the demand for water may exceed the limited and shallow freshwater aquifer on the East End. The report's finding also indicated that tests have shown increasing levels of contaminants such as nitrates, volatile organic compounds, and pesticides. Clearly, this is cause for concern, and will need to become a priority in terms of research, development, and planning for the future of our town.
An issue that I am currently involved in is the opening of Georgica Pond. This helps local homeowners with rising water levels and flooding, and it also ensures that the pond itself remains viable and non-stagnant. It also allows fish to migrate in and out.
I also feel that the Lake Montauk watershed area is in danger. Increased development, boat use, and other factors are contributing to the ruin of the water quality in this marine ecosystem. It is important that the construction of docks in the lake be placed under higher scrutiny. Identifying the causes of water-quality contamination should also be focused on. One area that I was involved with was implementing a pump out boat for the boat owners in Lake Montauk. This helped ensure that sewage waste was not placed into the lake itself. This watershed area needs our support and commitment in response to these issues.
4. Do you believe current Town policies adequately protect drinking water quality and sustainability? If not, what, if any policy changes would you support?
East Hampton should make a priority of immediate testing and protections for residents who get water from private wells. Also, the mandating of sensors that can shut off landscape irrigation when it rains would help reduce the waste of our ground water during crucial summer months. Keeping our ground water clean and usable in the future will require knowledge and expertise and I feel that the town needs to commit funding for staff and the technical resources necessary to protect ground and surface waters for future generations.
Unfortunately, the septic wastewater treatment plant on Springs-Fireplace Road has been cited by the state for discharge violations. And as I stated in the beginning improving, updating, and restructuring our existing sewage system should be a priority.
5. Periodically, East Hampton Town's bays and creeks are closed to shell fishing or swimming due to poor water quality. Some water bodies do not meet Federal EPA MS4 storm water protection standards. What concrete actions will you support to improve the quality of our surface waters?
In the spring of 2009 the Town of East Hampton was notified by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) that the Town would be covered under what is called an MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by NYSDEC. The reason for the Town to be included in this permit is due to the fact that a few of our water bodies, Accabonac Harbor, Lake Montauk and Northwest Creek, have surpassed their TMDL (total maximum daily load) levels of pathogens.
As more development within the Town increases the amount of impervious surfaces, which leads to an increase in runoff and runoff borne pollutants, will continue to be a problem. During storm events pollutants quickly wash off and are rapidly delivered to downstream waters or storm drains. The Pollutants of Concern (POC) entering our water bodies are pathogens coming from pet and other animal waste, failing septic systems and other waste storage facilities. Other pollutants that are detrimental to the environment are suspended solids, trace heavy metals, hydrocarbons (oil and grease), nutrients from lawn and plant fertilizers (phosphorous and nitrogen), pesticides and chlorides (road salt).
I believe that addressing our water quality is an issue that needs a very serious focus. I feel that some initial concrete solutions would be to recommend an upgrade in home cesspools over a certain age, more sanding and less salt during the winter storms, and going forward on an improved town sewage system.
Public land preservation protects our drinking water supply and improves drinking water quality, quality of life, tax rates and property values in the Town of East Hampton.
6. Should the Town continue to use the Community Preservation Fund to purchase land? If so, what changes, if any, would you support in land preservation policy or practice? If not, what funding mechanism so you propose ought to replace it?
I am in full support of this issue. Especially as I had stated above in regards to keeping our drinking water clean.
At a recent Town Board meeting regarding the purchase of four acres in Northwest, I supported the idea, the following quote is from the EH Star; Bill Mott, an Independence Party candidate for East Hampton Town Board, said preserving the land would have a positive effect on water quality. "Speaking for himself and Jim Matthews of the Northwest Alliance, Chris Haak, a resident of Northwest Landing Road, said, The creek is one of the nicest areas of town, and its preservation is critical."
Dark and Quiet Skies
7. In 2006 the Town passed the "Smart Lighting" law which enhanced previous legislation addressing light pollution. What are the most important benefits (if any) and shortcomings (if any) of the Smart Lighting law? What actions would your support to expand or modify the enforcement of this law?
The "Smart Lighting" Law will result in many benefits for both the town and the environment. The rural beauty of our night sky will be protected. It will reduce wasteful energy use needed to keep lights lit 24/7. It will ensure our community charm and peacefulness at night.
8. Noise pollution caused by aircraft, particularly helicopters, has been a source of complaints from residents for many years. Because of financial agreements with the FAA, the Town government currently has little control over East Hampton Airspace. How will you address these complaints? What specific rules would like to see enacted?
I am in favor of the agreement reached by the Town and the East Hampton Aviation Association. I believe that a tower, even a seasonal one, will help the situation by keeping a higher altitude for aircraft and control of the approaching flight patterns. This is a step in the right direction, the right direction for the safety of the patrons using the airport, and our community members who fly their own personal planes.
Additionally, air traffic controllers could then direct aircraft onto routes designed to minimize noise disturbances. Developing a reclassification of the skies around the airport as "controlled airspace" that would include a five-mile radius from the center of the airport is another positive step.
Helicopter traffic, which to me is the loudest noise burden on the local neighborhood, but serves the fewest members of our community, needs to have a southern route developed and discussed. This would keep the flights away from the more populated northern flight routes.
I also feel that the local pilots, who are now being forced to fly under increasingly crowded and potentially dangerous conditions, should be part of any dialogue that takes place in terms of improving the airport. These local pilots have been a part of the airports original design and use as a small, and well managed recreational facility, and will have valuable insight in the direction they would like to see their airport go.
East Hampton Environmental Coalition Survey Response
Bill Mott: Candidate for Town Board
Government Planning and Enforcement
9. What is your vision for the future of the Planning Department in East Hampton Town? What aspects of the Planning Department's organization and function are most important for the town's future and what aspects, if any, would you change or strengthen?
This department should be streamlined. The application processes have to be more efficient and should not take years to complete. The department, while acting professionally and keeping a vision for East Hampton, can delay applications without having a set timeline to the process. Certainly their long-term goals of preserving our natural beauty and protecting our water supply and environment are to be applauded, but there needs to be a better working relationship and trust in the process between applicants and the Planning Department.
10. Are the Town's Comprehensive and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans adequate in your opinion? If not, which specific policies or plan recommendations do you not support or would like to see changed? Which policies would you prioritize for implementation?
As a Trustee neither policy, Coastal or Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans, addresses the authority or jurisdictional boundaries of the Town Trustees.
In the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans the Trustee properties are exempt. Shoreline Policies were not adopted by the State, along with the rest of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans.
As it stands, the applicant is still required to have dual review, both local and State. It is my opinion that it should be left in the hands of the Town Trustees.
Solid Waste and Water Waste Management Facilities:
The Town's systems for the management of both solid waste (trash and recyclables) and water waste (sewage) have been the focus of critical discussion recent years.
11. What is your assessment of the state of these systems, what are the major problems requiring correction, and what are the most urgently needed changes in policy and practice?
I am not in favor of privatizing this department. Possibly a better management policy, further input and study as to the cost to the taxpayers for any future changes. However, I do believe that the employees working for the town in these areas should be well versed and trained for their job description.