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Chapel Outhouse Will Soon Be Gone

Thu, 01/20/2022 - 09:48
On an 11-degree day, a trip to the Wainscott Chapel outhouse can be a bracing affair. It is to be replaced soon with modern plumbing.
Durell Godfrey

After an uneventful public hearing at the Jan. 12 East Hampton Town Planning Board meeting, approval of Wainscott Chapel’s first bathroom in over 100 years looked to be a foregone conclusion. When the construction of the bathroom is complete, East Hampton Town will say goodbye to its last fully functioning outhouse.

The chapel will also abandon its existing sanitary system and install a new, low-nitrogen system, become A.D.A.-accessible, and provide two parking spots.

Hilary Osborn Malecki, president of the Wainscott Sewing Society, which has overseen maintenance of the chapel as a community center since 1908, hedged her happiness.

“Public comments end Jan. 19,” she noted. “We’ll wait for official approval and then get a building permit.”

The society wasn’t waiting until approval to talk to Jake Ogden, its contractor, however. Members met with him on Friday, just to “get ready.”

There was only one comment at the hearing, a call of support by Carolyn Logan Gluck, president of the Wainscott Action Committee. “The Wainscott Chapel serves many groups,” she said, “but could serve many more with adequate facilities.”

Thomas Osborne, a lawyer (who descends from the first Thomas Osborn in East Hampton, as does Ms. Malecki) working pro bono for the sewing society, said there had been nothing new since the application was last heard, “and we’d simply ask that it be approved.”

Dennis D’Andrea, whose wife, Barbara D’Andrea, is the sewing society’s secretary, told the planning board, “I think it’s very needed to have the improvements. Two days ago, it was 25 degrees and people who are using the chapel have to sit down in an outhouse. Moments like that are difficult.”

Ms. D’Andrea was quick to correct him. “It was 11 degrees out,” she said.

“The record will reflect that it was 11 degrees,” said Samuel Kramer, chairman of the board, before he closed the hearing.

In other planning board news, Michael Hansen was introduced as the board’s newest member. Ian Calder-Piedmonte, the longest-serving member of the board, was named its vice chairman.

Kathy Cunningham, who held that title before him, now heads the town’s architectural review Board.

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