Much of this letter is to our town’s elected officials, appointed officials and the community: Please consider the rights of residents to have usable and non-polluted drinking water in all decisions and requirements for development.
Most times, professional opinions from private companies/consultants who are compensated by developers/applicants support the developers’ interests and dismiss others’.
A very “real time” and critical example of this was last month’s “review and commentary” provided by a consulting firm in Hauppauge related to the site plan report for the Southampton Tennis Club and Camp. This consulting firm refutes the studies that would impose limitations on the site. The consultant writes, “The camp facilities are wholly located outside of the groundwater contributing areas of Little Fresh Pond and Big Fresh Pond.”
This statement contradicts U.S. Geological Survey maps, State Department of Environmental Conservation maps, Peconic Estuary watershed maps, and experts at Stony Brook University who say that the groundwater flows north from the camp as part of the Peconic Estuary watershed, impacting Little Fresh Pond and Big Fresh Pond on the way to Peconic Bay.
Another perplexing item stated by the camp’s paid consultant is that “only the residence (Welcome Hall) and the dining hall are expected to be utilized on a year-round basis.” This contradicts the statements made by the camp’s lawyer in front of the Planning Board addressing the use of the site and also septic flow volumes.
If the camp’s paid consultants are to believed, the entire septic flow generation model for the camp needs to be updated before site plan approval. Additionally, if the camp’s lawyer states that the property was only to be used during the summer season, why would there be a dining hall used on a year-round basis? Will this become a catering hall and rental facility, as at some of the owner’s other camps?
In the town’s draft report, as a condition for approval, there should be a requirement for the testing of home wells and the testing of downstream groundwater and Little Fresh Pond. This was requested during the public comment period and also submitted in writing to the Planning Board but never made it into the draft report. Other requests likewise were not presented, including use of permeable reactive barriers.
Stakeholders need to be able to address these concerns, inconsistencies and gaps in front of the Planning Board. There needs to level playing field for all involved. The field is slanted when stakeholders are not able to review and provide comments regarding these developer and developer-paid consultant opinions.
This camp application needs further review, and the SEQRA process needs to be reopened to address these inconsistencies, and others.
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One fine body…