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Dec 7, 2010 4:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Project Open Vista: Clearing For A Clear View

Dec 7, 2010 4:07 PM

On the south side of Bluff Road, west of Atlantic Avenue and east of the East Hampton Marine Museum in Amagansett is a thicket of overgrown honeysuckle, bittersweet, multiflora rose and autumn olive shrub obstructing a million-dollar view of the ocean.

Just down the road to the west is another thicket and another hidden, but potentially fantastic, view of the ocean.

Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione wants those thickets cleared as part of a project he calls Project Open Vista, and under that program, he wants to see more overgrown areas around East Hampton and Montauk cleaned up so that beautiful views not only of the ocean, but of inland wooded areas can be seen from the road.

“Multimillion-dollar views are being obstructed by neglect and overgrowth,” he said Tuesday, during a tour of some blocked views. “People pay taxes here, so they can see these views and our town’s natural beauty.”

He and Director of Natural Resources Larry Penny are coming up with a list of vistas that are blocked by rough overgrowth. The Nature Preserve Committee is also contributing to the list.

On that list so far are the two sites mentioned above, and several in Springs, Amagansett and Northwest. They haven’t explored Napeague or Montauk yet, but Mr. Stanzione said there are sections of the Montauk Highway that could be easily cleared.

Most of these areas are owned by the town, the Town Trustees, the Nature Conservancy, or the state or county, Mr. Stanzione said.

He and Mr. Penny are developing a two-part list. The first part will be areas that can be easily and cheaply cleared by, Mr. Stanzione hopes, volunteers of one or more of the nature groups in the East Hampton area. The second part of the list are areas that will be more difficult and expensive to clear. If the blocked vistas are on land purchased with Community Preservation Fund money, it might be possible to use CPF funds to remove the brush, he said.

Two East Hampton High School seniors have volunteered to work on Project Open Vista. They are Christina Limonius and Hannah Riley, Mr. Penny said. They will assist Mr. Penny and Mr. Stanzione by scouting out sites, taking pictures of blocked views and recording them in a publication, he said.

Another location in Amagansett where the view is blocked is Fresh Pond from Albert’s Landing Road. Other examples can be found in Springs, where on Landing Lane views of Accabonac Harbor are obstructed by phragmites, “an invasive genotype with origins in Europe,” according to Mr. Penny.

In fact, most of the obstructed views in Springs are due to the reeds, which make up between 75 and 90 percent of the obstructions. Other views that are blocked by the reeds are Pussy’s Pond from Springs-Fireplace Road and School Street; Three Mile Harbor from Maidstone Creek and Fanning Avenue and Old Stone Highway; and Accabonac Harbor from Gerard Drive. A farm field in Springs is blocked mostly by “woodies” or trees and bushes along Talmage Farm Road.

In Northwest, areas blocked by the reeds include Northwest Harbor along Alewife Brook Road; ElyBrook Pond near Scoy Culvert; Three Mile Harbor from the north end of Hands Creek Road and Soak Hides Cove and Little Northwest Creek from Barcelona Culvert.

Mr. Stanzione said he decided to make up a list of possible vistas as he got more involved in land preservation and he realized “we were hiding our most valuable resources.”

Mr. Penny said most of the “woodies” could be cut back easily and cut low to allow grass to grow there.

The reeds, he said, have to be mowed down regularly so they will lose what he called “vigor” and be replaced by seeds from other plants. “They are very hard to pull up because the underground stems are so thick,” he said. The best way to mow them down is with electric hedge clippers. “They are kind of like sugar cane,” he said.

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people also pay taxes to funds that protect areas like this from being disturbed - the value of a 'view' is greater than appreciating the natural landscape?
By quioguebirdfreak (25), quiogue on Dec 10, 10 10:06 AM
All of the plants listed in the first paragraph are invasive/non-native plants. So when they're removed, the actual natural landscape can be appreciated.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 10, 10 3:51 PM
Yeah, until the invasive/non-native plants take over again. And they will. That's why they're called invasive.

Who stands to benefit from the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on this brilliant idea ? What's the real motivation behind this ?

By Bilge Water (131), East Hampton on Dec 10, 10 5:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
you are right, that was likely the case just after I wrote.
still, wildlife does use the invasive & non-native for food and shelter, and it will keep growing back.
By quioguebirdfreak (25), quiogue on Dec 13, 10 10:21 AM
yeah i need to see the water in a house that's used 16 week's a year. long island is nothing with out some natural landscape
By ranger (54), westhampton beach on Dec 10, 10 11:05 AM
Where's the money coming from for this fiasco ?

Invasive species are just that, invasive. As much as you keep cutting them down they just keep on springing back up.

What a waste of taxpayer money. What about all the invasive McMansions that have sprung up in East Hampton that block the vista. Can we cut them down too ?

Gimme a break

By Bilge Water (131), East Hampton on Dec 10, 10 5:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
does dominick's buddy live across the street from the marine museum?hmmmmmmm.well when you see the parks department there you know who sent them.waste of money
By asurest (117), easthampton on Dec 10, 10 7:53 PM
... got nothing to do, Dom?
By William Rodney (558), southampton on Dec 11, 10 9:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hey Gramma you pick your leaves while we use the money to clear up the open vistas...Classy people.
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on Dec 11, 10 9:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
We went to that great little seafood place near where plitt used to be to get some bay scallops the other day. there were landscaper crew members blowing leaves onto rt. 27 into traffic. A horrific sight. drivers swerving into oncoming traffic as to not get blown by the big squirrel cage type blowers that the men were pushing around.

I thought EH Town had an ordinance against that ?

A trip back from the lighthouse last week we were stuck behind a truck on the Napeague stretch ...more
By Bilge Water (131), East Hampton on Dec 11, 10 10:18 PM
OMG LOL.... Fiscal crisis... Cutting homework clubs...selling preserved land...but let's protect the view corridor of rich...how about taking that money and saving a town job or two for those who can least afford to lose it....
By earl (31), springs on Dec 12, 10 1:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
What budget crisis?

You can't make this stuff up!
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Dec 14, 10 7:02 PM