A Web of Interests - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2247072

A Web of Interests

Kudos to Craig Catalanotto [“What Are We Doing?” Letters, April 18] and Barbara Ring [“Tangled Web” Letters, April 18] for their letters to the editor shining a light on the web of special interests, conflicts of interest and misinformation that has become the land use process in the Town of Southampton. I need to add my two cents here.

The town officials retain the same environmental consultants that amazingly never seem to find an adverse environmental condition they can’t “work around,” even if it may involve flying cars not yet invented.

The town planners recommend textbook plans trying to stuff 20 pounds of development in a 5-pound bag and don’t seem to understand why that doesn’t work in the Town of Southampton.

We have town officials who not only adjudicate land use issues but advocate for land use issues despite the blaring conflict of interest. They seem to think that the facts are an inconvenient nuisance to their agenda and “civility” in civil engagement only applies to others.

The town officials engaged the consulting firm of Nelson Pope Voorhis to neutralize the residents of Hampton Bays for opposing the Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District even after it was annulled by the New York State Supreme Court. Now, almost three years later, after all the fanfare of starting over, they have circled right back to pretty much the same place. Did anyone really expect a different outcome? The Town Board retained the same consultants that got it wrong the first time under the direction of Janice Scherer, land management administrator, who orchestrated the contract with NPV to neutralize the residents of Hampton Bays.

The Riverhead Town officials are contemplating litigation against the Town of Southampton over the Riverside project proposed by Janice Scherer and NPV due to its potential adverse effect on the surrounding community. Once again, the Southampton Town residents and taxpayers pay the cost for the ineffective land use process. Failure after failure, but no one is held accountable.

Now we have a new organization named the Hampton Bays Alliance founded by two Southampton Town officials, John Leonard and Helene Burgess, along with the president of the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce, whose inaugural guest speaker is none other than Janice Scherer. The alliance apparently wants us to believe that they will be the purveyors of “the truth” and speak for “all” of Hampton Bays. You have to question exactly who the alliance is “aligned” with and what their real agenda is.

While Southampton Town Supervisor [Maria] Moore did not create this mess, some of us are depending on her to clean it up. In the fullness of time, we will see what happens.

Gayle Lombardi

Hampton Bays