All They Do
August 5, 2021
To the Editor,
I want to thank the Town of East Hampton, the senior citizens center, and especially Jaki Jackson for all they do for seniors in this community.
August 3, 2021
Your editorial on the solution to poor cell service hits the problem on its head. Past town board decisions on development and house-to-lot size have invariably favored the local development and real estate community that has profited enormously over the last few decades.
You can’t allow unfettered development and then expect that somehow East Hampton will remain the bucolic wonderland it once was. The magic mix of the seashore and the countryside is now so choked that it’s dying. The armies of landscapers, housekeepers, contractors, etc., that it takes to keep this merry-go-round running makes it close to unworkable.
Everyone complains about it but the proposed solutions are Band-Aids on a patient that needs a heart transplant. Without putting the brakes on development it will inevitably get worse.
August 6, 2021
I read with great interest David Kelley’s July 20th letter to the editor in which Mr. Kelley applauded the East Hampton Town Board’s proposal to erect a 185-foot-tall cellphone tower in my densely populated Springs neighborhood. Shockingly, this is the same Mr. Kelley who wrote to The East Hampton Star in 2015 expressing his concerns over the 150-foot tower at the Springs Fire Department. At that time, Mr. Kelley lamented, “aside from potential health risks, the tower now casts a shadow over one of the most pristine and authentically rural areas of the East End.” He went further, complaining that the tower at the Springs Fire Department is “in the middle of a very densely inhabited neighborhood” and visible from Accabonac Harbor.
If these arguments sound familiar, that is because they are the same reasons I, along with hundreds of my Springs neighbors, have provided to the East Hampton Town Board, urging them to reconsider their misguided (and illegal) proposal to erect a temporary 100-foot-tall tower and ultimately a permanent 185-foot cellphone tower in our, to borrow Mr. Kelley’s words, “pristine” and “authentic” neighborhood.
Like the proposal’s champions, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Deputy Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Mr. Kelley seems to conveniently ignore the fact that at least nine houses sit within the town code’s definition of the fall zone of the 185-foot cell tower proposed for the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands.
Mr. Kelley’s thirst for a cellphone tower in our woodlands also ignores the fact that the town planner conceded at a public town work session last month that a tower in the Crandall-Norfolk woodlands likely will be visible from Three Mile Harbor, an area, like Accabonac Harbor, of statewide significance. It also ignores the sad reality that some members of the town board have attempted to circumvent state law by rubber stamping an “environ-mental assessment” riddled with inaccuracies and omissions at best and misrepresentations at worst. Hardly an example of the “rule of law,” as Mr. Kelley describes.
Indeed, let’s get the facts straight.
Much, Much Worse
August 9, 2021
The Springs-Fireplace tower should be taken down now. The town and the courts have confirmed it is illegal, violating as many as 30 variance requirements, as reported in The Star. Why then is it still standing?
The cell tower company applicants for a new tower at the firehouse openly admitted in front of the planning board that their strategy was to establish a tower at the site using legal loopholes and then proceed to incrementally advance their plans to make it into a full-service cell tower — the classic Trojan horse. Those who still want to advance this disingenuous approach should not be given credence by the board.
All the objections the community has voiced so ardently with the proposed Crandall Street tower resoundingly confirms that a tower at the firehouse is not only illegal, it would never meet community approval either. If the Crandall Street location does not meet fall zone requirements, then the problem is much, much worse at the firehouse site. If the visual impact at the Crandall location is unacceptable, it is significantly worse at the firehouse. If people are afraid the Crandall Street tower was going to go up without sufficient review, the tower at the firehouse was put up with no review of any kind.
The contradiction between those who want emergency and cell service but do not want looming industrial structures over their heads leads to the question of alternatives. Some solutions may be people using home Wi-Fi connections that enable cell calling from home in emergencies and more Wi-Fi hot spots from which Wi-Fi calls can be made that already exist in many places indoors and out in the town. These could be expanded in Springs and elsewhere throughout the East End. While ideas like this may address some issues, I suspect the town will have to use existing zoning laws to determine what the best course of action may be to solve emergency communications challenges.
The fact that the tower at the Springs Firehouse breaks the laws that are in place to guide development and protect the community necessarily means it should be taken down.
KRAE VAN SICKLE
Decided in Advance
East Hampton Village
August 6, 2021
To the Editor,
Regarding “Brewery on Tap in East Hampton Village” in the Aug. 5 edition of The Star, the plans were indeed “warmly received by the East Hampton Village Design Review board at a meeting on Tuesday” — so much so that anyone who cares about transparency in government should be concerned about what transpired at the hearing.
As reported, it had been called to consider a proposal to build a brewery, restaurant, tasting room, and beer garden on Toilsome Lane in the village. I and some neighbors who live on Toilsome were present to voice concerns about such matters as traffic, crowding, and noise. For some reason we had learned about it only by word of mouth less than a week before; there had been no public announcement.
To begin with, during the hearing not a single member of the D.R.B. asked any questions. More troubling was the fact that the chairman, whose role was to serve as an honest broker giving equal weight to all points of view, appeared throughout to be biased in favor of the proposal. After the applicant’s representative had completed their initial, notably brief, presentation, he observed that most of the noise would vent away from the residential areas toward the railroad tracks. This is a point that should have been made by the applicant in response to a question from the board, not volunteered by the chairman.
Later, when a neighborhood resident not part of our group raised concerns about the increased levels of traffic a restaurant would bring, he dismissed them, saying that since there were already two restaurants in the neighborhood this wasn’t an issue. It was that way throughout. The inescapable conclusion was that the whole thing had been decided in advance in some back-room deal and the hearing was nothing more than window dressing.
After awhile one of our group, stunned at what we were witnessing, rose to say that in some three decades as a reporter she’d covered many such hearings in New York and elsewhere, yet this was the only one in which committee members had failed to pose a single question. The chairman angrily replied that this was the way things were always done. After the meeting, when I confronted him about his lack of impartiality, he said the same thing.
This is not the way the public’s business should be conducted. We hope that starting with the D.R.B.’s next meeting on Aug. 17, and indeed at all future hearings on matters of concern, proper procedures will be followed.
An Easy Fix
August 8, 2021
To the Editor:
I have refrained from writing this letter for many months because of disbelief and anger. However, the stress and unnecessary legal fees and chaos they caused me should be told. First of all, I have never had any kind of dealings with Telemark, do not know the owners of the property they were working on, and never owned any property in Amagansett. I live and own my home at 12 Gardiner’s Lane in East Hampton, the home they were in contract with is 12 Gardiner’s Lane in Amagansett. Seems I’m guilty because we have the same house number and road name?
For reasons not known by me, I guess the homeowners in Amagansett were not happy with Telemark and refused to pay them so they promptly had a mechanic’s lien for $93,000 put on their property and mine? Remember, I live in East Hampton.
When I was made aware of the lien I guess you know how I reacted? After calming myself down I said to myself, when I bring this to their attention the error would be seen, an apology and a lien release would happen. Well, after numerous, often heated visits to their office in Bridgehampton I was told I once owned the property in Amagansett and I was in some way connected to the Amagansett homeowner. They didn’t budge and I had to get a lawyer; actually it took two. After a while the lien was removed and I was able to get on with my life.
The only thing in common here is I had the same road address, they were either too stupid or too embarrassed to admit what took place. I never even received an email, phone call, or letter of apology.
The homeowners in Amagansett were very helpful, apologetic, and kept in touch until it was resolved. Telemark refused to pay my legal fee — at no surprise to me — I’m just happy they are out of my life. However, what has to be mentioned also is the need for East Hampton Town to keep naming roads with the same name multiple times, like Gardiner’s, Montauk, Cross, Gardiner, athough some have been renamed — why? I have to wonder if the police, fire department, ambulance, U.P.S., Federal Express, and the post office go to the wrong address? Probably, but it’s an easy fix, unless Telemark Construction becomes involved.
Thank you for your time; I feel better.
August 5, 2021
Several weeks ago, Charlie Whitmore wrote a letter to The Star the point of which was that the town has ignored both its comprehensive plan and an earlier recreational activity study that recommended acquiring more land for parks for recreational use in East Hampton.
The fact that two baseball fields will be used for a Southampton Hospital annex certainly highlights the town board’s failure — repeated failure — to do what is best for the residents of the town.
No parks have been acquired for decades, despite ample money available in the community preservation fund. With millions of dollars to spend, and in spite of numerous supporting studies, the town has let one parcel after another be turned into megamansion monstrosities once the site has been deemed unsuitable for permanent environmental preservation, the only policy for purchase.
This policy ignored the value of smaller sites for pocket parks, neighborhood parks, or recreational use.
I was involved in the selection of the Pantigo field for use as a hospital annex. We ended up with that site because the town wouldn’t consider buying the former 20-acre Bistrian property near the railroad tracks and two of the then-available adjacent parcels amounting to 65 acres — all centrally located with access off Route 27, Abraham’s Path, and Spring Close.
That was a decades ago.
With the passage of time and the series of incompetent councilpersons the voters chose to put in charge of their future the options narrowed. Where can we put a hospital annex in a town that is 45 minutes or more away from the nearest hospital? You will indeed understand the importance of this if you suffer a stroke or any number of medical emergencies that require immediate attention.
So we ended up with the Little League field on Pantigo because that is as much as you can get out of the town board, and then only because Larry Cantwell championed the need for a hospital annex.
There is a possible solution for the Little League. If the town ever builds a new senior citizens center or decides to use the existing Child Development Center of the Hamptons building, then the land off Springs-Fireplace Road, roughly five acres, where the current senior citizens center is, could be used for ball fields. It lacks adequate parking but is on a bus route, is centrally located, and already has a park.
It is very clear to me that just like what has happened nationally, in East Hampton political leadership has been dumbed down. There are always solutions to providing for public needs but not when we call upon the village idiot to make them.
Even if we ever get a hospital annex in East Hampton, its financial viability will depend upon how well it is tied into the medical needs of our older population. No one has thought that problem through either.
So Charlie is right, it is a swindle but certainly one in which every voter who pulls the lever for a fool is complicit.
August 9, 2021
To the Editor,
I’ve never worked anywhere as well as at the wonderful East Hampton Library. Arriving there for the first time this summer, I was flabbergasted to find myself just about the only mask wearer in the place. A staff member told me that the mask requirement was lifted about a month ago.
I’m a senior with various health issues that make me vulnerable. There must be many such others who feel hesitant to work in an indoor space among unmasked and possibly unvaccinated people. But beyond us, and far more to the point — what of the children who will soon be returning to local schools, and seeking to use the library, in the face of the devastating game-changer Delta variant? Should the East Hampton Library board not be considering reinstatement of a mask requirement? Now? I can imagine many political and cultural downsides, but they mean zip compared to the upside.
MARTHA W. LEAR
The East Hampton Library resumed its mandatory masks policy last week. Ed.
August 7, 2021
In The Sunday New York Times Book Review, “The Art of Making Art” author says that we are all scientists and artists, meaning how we look at life, how we maneuver it. Do we crave order and rationality, or are we more comfortable with the abstract and the laissez-faire? Do we see life in straight lines or curvy ones?
The complexity of life is that we often look at something and see it differently. It is this difference of perception that is allowed to flourish in a democracy, a form of government that flourishes from differences but needs to establish a set of boundaries that keeps the political system afloat. Essentially and vitally, it is the belief that the system is viable and workable and allows us to live as close to our desires as possible.
What we have experienced these past four years is the undermining of our system’s principal values. When the system makes a mistake on an issue it isn’t the mistake that we focus on but the core system. We throw out the baby with the bathwater. It is a lazy, uninformed method of problem solving that replaces the required rigorous intelligence with simplistic megalomania.
For example, the demonization of the World Health Organization by Trump was designed to minimize its influence. But the W.H.O. is not only our long-term ally, it is the most important institution in the world for dealing with a pandemic. Eight billion people depend on the W.H.O. Covid-19 is a global issue, and the pandemic won’t end until the entire world is vaccinated. Because Trump didn’t trust the W.H.O. connection to China he threw it and the entire world under the bus — us included.
When anti-vaxxers tell us that they don’t trust the government, they are transferring mistrust from the election fantasy to the Centers for Disease Control. If it could allow the election to be stolen, it can’t be trusted on Covid-19. Trashing institutions is basically trashing the country. It’s not about ideas or issues; it’s anarchy.
The pandemic is the least complicated of issues: Vaccinate or die and destroy the economic and political systems. Expose all the unvaccinated, including all the children, to severe sickness and possibly death.
If Covid wins this war, our freedoms won’t have much meaning. Americans talk a lot about patriotism and loving America. Time to stand up and prove it.
August 5, 2021
I neglected to mention in my letter last week what may be the most critical (let’s not talk about it) issue at KHTO: If the airport is eliminated, this may satisfy a small loud group of mad 1 pecenters, but what will East Hampton do in say, 10 years, when all aircraft are electric and fly silently? Thank you, Elon Musk, whose name has now somehow been dragged into this debate by a 1 percenter who among many complaints tells us he is mad that his golf game at his private (expensive) club is interrupted by noisy planes. David, I plead for you to give us all a break!
Electric commuter planes moving people around, not gas guzzlers on the Long Island Expressway? Just around the corner. Electric planes are already flying to great acclaim. There will be electric vehicles, buses, trains. Is anybody thinking about the future or just the front of their noses (and ears)?
East Hampton needs councilmembers with some vision and competence. Recently, our town supervisor had over 45 percent of his own party vote to fire him in a primary — some mandate. If, as one reader put it, East Hampton were a corporation, the supervisor would be fired and most of the board members as well — by their own party. That is how bad our governance is. The town board don’t even realize that we are their shareholders. Shame on them.
So, will our town look in its rearview mirror and bully out the obnoxious .001 percenters? To satisfy the 1 percenters living here who appear not to like their neighbors if they have more money than they do, only to have minimal options for the new electric transportation economy that is transitioning now?
Probably. That is why the shareholders voted to fire our C.E.O.
August 9, 2021
I am at a total loss trying to figure out how East Hampton can meet its goal of reduction of carbon footprint without closing the airport.
I write this on a Monday morning before 8 a.m., as the fifth jet and fourth helicopter arrive or depart KHTO. Enough is enough. Close it.
August 9, 2021
A local resident wrote to the website Nextdoor that they think KHTO should be closed because they heard numerous airplanes go overhead over a 20-minute period. I live on a flight path to KHTO and rarely hear the airplanes and, when I do, the sound is usually short-lived and transient. In many cases, it is drowned out by virtually everything else. In fact, a day or so ago, I called the police to complain about deafening music blasting from a construction site. I had to call back because a lawn mower next door was making so much noise, that the police couldn’t hear me.
I’d like to offer the following:
The Twelve Sounds on the Flight Path to KHTO. A Poem by Clifford I. Lavine
On the flight path to KHTO, these sounds were heard by me:
Twelve crows a cawing
Eleven dogs a barking
Ten garbage trucks a crushing
Nine children yelling
Eight lawn mowers a mowing
Seven geese a honking
Six construction vehicles a beeping
Five radios blasting
Four motorcycles revving
Three ospreys screeching
Two Yorkies yapping
One mother screaming
And a police siren or two (or maybe it was just a TV?)
CLIFFORD I. LAVINE
Issues Are Connected
August 6, 2021
Apocalypse now is a fair appraisal of what we are facing regarding the pollution at the airport. For decades. we here in Wainscott were consuming contaminated water with unknown health hazards, all emanating from the P.F.O.S. and P.F.O.A.s and other unknown petrochemical compounds that leeched into the groundwater, the heaviest concentrations just north of the airport terminal. The contamination is still there and will always be.
I wonder how many heath issues are connected? Did the town not supply bottled water to help us because of the danger we had been exposed to? The question is how long was this hazard known about at the airport.
The article contained quotes from experts about the fact that the deepest part of the sole-source aquifer lies under the airport and is a “critical area.” That is where our drinking water comes from. The Suffolk Water Authority also draws the water from the same aquifers.
Where are the soil analysis tests of lead contamination of the soil from the decades of leaded fuel? Then I had to scratch my head about the mention of unleaded fuel for the small planes. That will require engine overhauls to replace the valve seats and valves to allow the acceptance of unleaded fuel. That requires machine shop overhauls and a tremendous expense. I know firsthand because my two vintage cars had to be overhauled and at that time the labor rate was $30 an hour. I am sure they are lining up already.
The effect of runoff and precipitation that seeps down is pointed out. Where are the percolation test results concerning the speed of the downward flow? No potable water for thousands of people.
I hear the word development; that will speed up the poisoning of our drinking water. Just so a handful of people can destroy the environment? we can then become another Hoosick Falls, N.Y. — remember that? Why do we have to loose more open space? Why not consider building a Lefrak City? Keep using the community preservation fund to purchase small parcels.
So again the powers to be hold out health and safety. Are we not more important to them that they will even consider to “re-imagine” some sort of an airport in a residential area? It doesn’t belong anymore, so stand up for us. Close it down!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
Wind Farm Agreement
August 8, 2021
To the Editor,
Let’s break down the town’s easement agreement for the wind farm. These are just some points; we have so many more to discuss:
The Cove Hollow Substation is over on 114 somewhere between East Hampton and Sag Harbor. Lots of digging ahead. Who’s watching? The town engineer we don’t have? If there is an “effective date” stated by the town, then they already have all the other stuff not shown in the agreement.
Section 1.2f indicates all annexes are incorporated or referenced; 2.1 says that the developer can stop paying after the first payment if they don’t get all their approvals; 2.2c says the developer can look for other start financing without interference from the town; 2.4 says that the rest of the payments will not start until the project is completed, the wind farm is producing, and the cable is delivering power.
There’s a sweetheart deal from the developer to hire a “fisheries liaison” for the life of the wind farm who will meet with concerned parties from time to time.
I see a lot of stuff not holding the town or the developer liable but would like to know how the ratepayers will be affected by any damage. How did that go for the Irish Sea? Block Island, the cable issue, and where only two of the five were in operation this past January? Signatories, project map, town easement agreement, and trustee land lease agreement have all been left intentionally blank. Why?
There’s lots more stuff that you can also read into this agreement. Remember that after the initial payment, there will be no more until the developer actually sells electricity.
It also seems to me that the developer is looking to leverage all subcontracting work for maximum profit. I say this because the contract prohibits the town or trustees from interference in any borrowing done by the contractor from the State of New York. To me, that smacks of ultra leveraging of the entire project. As Ken Walles says, “common sense and logic,” Nov. 2: Walles, Aman, Karpinski; we are the community.
Republican and Conservative
East Hampton Town Board
Fail to Enforce
August 9, 2021
Good policing makes good neighbors — too bad to loathe your new neighbors and wish they would go home. But that is what happens when the police fail to enforce minimal civility.
Anyone who lives near a major highway or intersection may regret the huge increase in traffic, especially trucks. But hey, that is a normal part of life.
Those who live half a mile in any direction from the intersection of Stephen Hand’s Path and Route 114 are assaulted night and day by deliberately and illegally altered “noise cars” and the aggressive machismo of boys playing race driver. I describe them as “new” because the crisis, at least as perceived at this intersection, began a few years ago.
The cars take off from the intersection and go roaring—thundering into racing changes that continue the howl of their departure for a mile. Night and day, especially Saturday and Sunday, the boys are out enjoying noise, a delusion of manhood and vibrating thrills. That’s for them. For those of us who live here, it is constant vicious invasion by noise pollution and disturbance of the peace.
Lately, the police have taken a little notice, placing a speed information screen a couple of hundred yards from the intersection along Route 114 headed into East Hampton. Yes, that is a racetrack. I have watched the little race boys accelerate past that sign at 70 miles an hour. And more.
I never in two decades have seen a speed trap along that stretch. I have said in public that drivers would stop laughing at the sign, police, and the homeowners they are harassing if police watched that stretch and handed out tickets for speeding, noise pollution, and disturbing the peace. Word gets around quickly on the street.
If one group of people is permitted to victimize another, with no police intervention, retaliation becomes tempting. Not attacks, of course. Retaliation is by resentment, avoidance, discrimination, disparagement, cutting public budgets, supporting the building of walls, not with bricks but by segregation.
I personally dream of these ugly and unsuitable new residents being shipped off somewhere. “A sacrifice borne too long makes of the heart a stone.”
None of it is necessary. Not the torment, not the loathing, not the bitter and dangerous fantasies. The police need to do their job. If they don’t do it, then town officials need to tell them to do it. The East Hampton Star could exert influence with stories and editorials. Why not?
There is evidence for damage to hearing, exacerbation of stress-related illnesses, escalation of lifestyle crimes into worse, and traffic accidents. Add to that the kindling for a bitter cultural clash caused by the behavior of a few, but likely to ignite general bias, as such things do.
Many jurisdictions in the United States, and surprisingly also Mexico City, began acting when noise became a horror a decade ago. The laws are on the books, here in East Hampton: speeding, noise pollution, disturbing the peace.
A little attention from police would let the boys know that there are norms of public behavior in our town.