Apology Needed - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2256873

Apology Needed

I appreciate The Press’s coverage in last week’s article “Village Defends Legislation’s Approval” [May 23]. At a May 9 Southampton Village Board meeting, I informed the board that they had not followed Municipal Home Rule Section 20 and the guidelines about public hearings, as recommended by the New York State Department of State.

It’s clear why Fred Thiele, our New York State assemblyman, is considered a statesman. When interviewed by The Southampton Press about the village’s unlawful adoption of the gross floor area change, he was diplomatic. While he refrained from explicitly stating that the village was wrong, his comments and citation of the law made it clear. He remarked that, in his experience, he would have, as the article put it, “erred on the side of holding a new hearing,” and noted that the village attorney’s argument that the law was made “less restrictive” did not matter.

The village attorney said, “The final version of this local law did not substantially deviate from the topic discussed at the hearing.” Ludicrous. The code change voted on in the April 23 meeting was 50 percent different than the proposal discussed in the April 11 meeting. If the attorney’s investment portfolio decreased by 50 percent, would she deem that it did not “substantially deviate”?

The attorney also noted that the changes made to the code were less restrictive than the original proposal. As Mr. Thiele noted, this is not a reason to avoid renoticing. Maybe some residents favored the original proposal. We will never know, because this board denied everyone the opportunity to comment on the substantially changed proposal.

Note The Press’s characterization of the New York State Division of Local Services position in its technical guide: “If the proposed law is changed in response to comments during the hearing, the procedure starts over. The law must be reintroduced and a notice of hearing must be published.”

For the mayor to yell at me that I was spreading falsehoods was disgraceful and demonstrates the continuous disrespect that this administration has for its residents.

An apology is needed.

David Rung

Southampton Village