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Drive to Create New Village of Wainscott

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 11:47
The Wainscott Post Office is in the heart of the hamlet's business district.
Durell Godfrey

Wainscott residents angry at what they consider unequal treatment by the East Hampton Town Board are using the July 4 holiday to launch a petition to establish an incorporated village.

The first steps in a drive toward  a formal election to create a Village of Wainscott will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wainscott Chapel. Registered voters and community members have been asked to sign the petition, according to a press release issued yesterday by Mercury Public Affairs, a firm with offices on multiple continents.

In order to succeed, the petition would require 20 percent of registered voters living within the proposed village, or about 140 signatures. The boundaries of the village would mirror those of the Wainscott School District.

"Residents from throughout the proposed village have voiced deep concerns about inadequate representation and unequal treatment by the East Hampton Town Board," according to the press release. It cites issues including a plan to land the transmission cable of the proposed offshore wind farm known as South Fork Wind on the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane "and issues around the town airport," as well as "concerns about overdevelopment and zoning issues."

The plan to land the cable on Beach Lane spurred formation last year of a group called Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, which launched a petition drive in opposition. The developers had identified the site as the most logical landing, from which the cable would be buried along a path to the Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton. Many Wainscott residents argue instead for state-owned land at Hither Hills in Montauk as the landing site.

East Hampton Airport is a source of never-ending frustration for residents in and outside of Wainscott, particularly as helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft takeoffs and landings have surged in recent years. The town board's discussions about creating affordable housing on a Route 114 parcel purchased for that purpose has also aroused opposition among some residents of the hamlet, who "have come together to create a new village to better protect the community," according to the press release.

To ensure social distancing during the petition drive, residents have been asked to sign up for specific time slots to add their signatures. 

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