Longer-Term Good



April 4, 2011

Dear David,

Sometimes it’s the public, not just a private individual or business, that has to yield immediate benefits for the sake of sound long-term planning. Your carefully thought-out editorial about Bostwick’s current effort to get a permit for a new roof makes the point about a typical case.

Bostwick’s wants to winterize a popular summer restaurant so it can stay open all year. I’m a full-time resident of Amagansett, and I’m here in the off-season. I’ve wished this fine seafood restaurant were open in those quiet days.

I’m sure people would agree with me, but I can’t support the variance. Why not? Because, like you, I know that even if making this restaurant would not impose an undue blot on the residential neighborhood, things might change. The restaurant might be sold, for example. A new owner might want to put in a franchise store, McDonald’s perhaps, since this place protected by the pre-existing use has a drive-in window from the time it was Snowflake. If we sidestep the rules now for the benefit of this owner and the current public, we may have a replacement in the future that degrades the town for all involved.

That’s what planning is — some sacrifices are made for the greater and longer-term good. I’d like to think our current town administration, determined to chip away at the zoning laws for the sole benefit of individual business interests, could be persuaded to take that to heart, but nothing in their behavior over the last year and a half suggests that they will. I think it will take a new administration.

Sincerely yours,