A Done Deal - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1738731

A Done Deal

What better time than during a lethal virus spike, a pervasive pandemic, school closings, job losses, business shutdowns, holidays curtailed, people reluctant to leave home, amid national political pandemonium and total uncertainty about the future, than for Jay Schneiderman to push relentlessly for a dubious two-story sports complex to be built, without any idea of how it will be paid for, on land purchased with Community Preservation Fund money.

Schneiderman exploits the public crisis with “resolutions” distorting the CPF, which he puts forth during empty Town Hall meetings. The purpose is to clear the way for this sports complex. As you read this, Resolution 35204 will have gone through, probably approved by his complicit board, with John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad insisting afterward that “nothing has been decided … only slight changes to CPF uses … and many other proposals are being considered.” Either they have not read or are incapable of understanding what they endorse.

Schneiderman made it his business to maximize uses and capitalize on the 7-acre plot on Magee Street, since it was shot down for a shopping center. He stated that the developer shouldn’t have to incur any significant losses, then bought it for $4.6 million via the CPF, while allowing the developer to keep a strategic strip of the land.

His latest resolution blithely states that STAR, having gained the support and approval to build a “pool” at Red Creek in Hampton Bays in 2018, now has found an “alternate parcel,” which is where — in the words of its marketing flack, Kim Folks — the big donors are.

The resolution repeats the insubstantial, and unsubstantiated, sales pitch of Josephine DiVincenzi, that STAR has “committed” to raise all the necessary funds to build and operate this “center.” What is this “commitment” worth to us? Instead of due diligence, this inappropriate proposal is barreling along on projected donations? At a time when donations have fallen drastically across the country, with museums, colleges and cultural institutions closing for good?

STAR also “commits” to provide updates on their fundraising. And should the mythic funds not come pouring in, the town resolves both not to exceed the CPF’s three-year period to garner funds, and to extend the time beyond the three years. A perfect example of Schneiderman speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

Explicity stated is that because STAR now wants this new location, the town “commits to investigating all legal and jurisdictional steps, and to facilitate any planning prerequisites in order to provide the opportunity for this aquatic center to be built at the 7-acre site.” In other words: a done deal, cravenly pushed during a time of stress.

Can Bouvier and Lofstad explain that away?

Frances Genovese

Southampton

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