Are You Listening? - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1816629

Are You Listening?

The Sag Harbor Antique Fire Truck Museum’s special exception application looks to be on the approval track with the Southampton Town Planning Board. The museum is looking to purchase a lot, bordered by Scuttle Hole, Millstone and Guyer roads in Bridgehampton, that is zoned agricultural and residential.

Their intention is to use what used to be a much-loved farm stand to store and maintain fire trucks. They have admitted that they chartered themselves as a museum because they knew, as a museum, they could get around zoning regulations. They have even admitted that they have the requisite approvals to build a museum on land they already own in Sag Harbor.

In public hearings, several Planning Board members expressed discomfort with the application — yet that discomfort seems to have mysteriously disappeared, though nothing has changed in the application.

The Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee has spoken out against this application for multiple reasons. A special exception should demonstrate a community advantage. There is absolutely no community advantage to locating the Sag Harbor Antique Fire Truck Museum right in the center of one of the most beautiful agricultural areas in all of the Hamptons. There are only many disadvantages.

There’s nothing actually stopping them from having public displays and fundraisers. They say that’s not in the plans, but as a chartered museum they are required to have public access. However, it seems that fact has not been revealed to the Planning Board.

We believe this application has proceeded through the Planning Board much too quickly, given the long-lasting change at issue. This decision will irrevocably change the fate of a highly visible agricultural barn. How many hamlet studies, long-range planning studies and the like have to be done for the people making the decisions in this town to get it in their heads that agricultural uses must be saved?

It’s become clear to the members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee that most of our advisories are not heeded, though they are dutifully recorded and filed away. The case of the Sag Harbor Antique Fire Truck Museum is just one of dozens of decisions that are made by the politicians of this town that say they are listening but their decisions say the opposite.

Next up on the Planning Board’s approval docket is the 16-bedroom, 16-bathroom Atlantic Golf Club dormitory to be located on Scuttle Hole Road, uphill from ecologically vulnerable Shorts Pond.

Crosby Renwick

Member

Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee

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