Marilyn Behan

Responses to East Hampton Environmental Coalition questionaire

Running for East Hampton Town Board
Endorsements: Independence Party

1. Please share with us accomplishments or experiences that would indicate your commitment to advancing an environmental agenda for East Hampton. These may be professional or personal.

What is needed is more public awareness, what I personally do is pick up as I walk the beach or road, don’t leave it for the next guy, weather its mine or not.

2. What do you believe is the role of town government regulation and enforcement in maintaining a clean, sustainable environment? What, if any, changes are the most important?
It should be one of their main goals.

3. What resources, experts or opinions will you consult when making decisions that affect East Hampton Town’s environmental resources?

When these issues arise that require a decision that would affect the Town, I would explore all avenues and certainly consult the experts.

Coastal, Drinking and Surface Water
4. 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?

I believe that a prepared plan (one that is proven to work, i.e. test run) should be in place with a training program in place before the situation arises. This plan should also have a backup plan.

5. Do you believe current Town policies adequately protect drinking water quality and sustainability? If not, what, if any, policy changes would you support?

I am not qualified to comment on this, due to the fact that I don’t know all of the policies that are in place.

6. 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?

Educate the public on how to keep contaminates from running into the surface water. I believe that the MS4 has material that could be made available to the public for just this purpose.

Land Preservation
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.
7. 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 do you propose ought to replace it?

Yes, I do believe that the Town should continue to sue the CPF to purchase land. But it is imperative that the Town keep the public in the loop.

Dark and Quiet Skies
8. 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 you support to expand or modify the enforcement of this law?

I do believe that the “Smart Lighting” law had some valid points, vending machines, business signs, but I also think it left some of our main streets poorly lit and some have become unsafe for drivers and pedestrians.

9. 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 you like to see enacted?

We need to create a safe airport for all our visiting guests. The airport as it stands right now is in desperate need of some upgrades to operate properly. I do believe that with the construction of a tower, being the first step to monitor the in-coming and the outgoing traffic, the ability to dictate the approach and the height of the air traffic with then help us monitor the noise problem.

Government Planning and Enforcement
Historically, East Hampton has been a national leader in community and environmental planning and open space preservation.
10. 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?

I would need for time to research the answer to this question.

11. 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?

We need to be more diligent in keeping our bays and harbors open for our fishing industry to survive and at the same time it will increase the flow of fresh water in our inner bays and harbors that will keep our selfish industry healthy. We must be on a dredging schedule.

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 in recent years.
12. 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?

That issue needs careful study; we are dealing with water quality and density. Two different issues, but one that needs research.


Ms Behan is mistaken to think that the Town's Smart Lighting Law applies to streetlighting. It does not. It only addresses residential and commercial lighting: new, and pre-existing non-conforming. Most of the pre-existing non-conforming lighting was installed illegally, resulting in energy waste, light trespass, glare, and sky glow. If the Town wants to have safer streets and crosswalks, they need to adhere to the streetlighting guidelines produced in consultation with professionals and presented to the Town by the Energy & Light Advisory Committee. It would also save money for the Town to use streetlighting where and when needed for public safety.
I'm appalled that Ms Behan is concerned solely about the comfort and convenience of a few "visiting guests" rather than the quality of life of East Hampton residents, and that of the millions of Long Islanders that are also affected by helicopter noise. It suggests that Ms Behan has a very narrow agenda, and has not though carefully about either the issues or the way she expresses them. Helicopter noise is a tremendous problem for many Town residents, and for far more people beyond the Town's borders.