Do Your Duty - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1666839

Do Your Duty

Not long ago, Little Fresh Pond had some of the cleanest water among Long Island’s ponds, as documented by its low blue-green algae count. But by the end of this past summer, it had one of the most intense blue-green algae blooms that has ever been recorded on Long Island.

OMG. Something went very wrong this summer, and neither we, the pond’s neighbors and defenders, nor the Town of Southampton knows its cause. With new funding available from the state, the town should get to the bottom of this catastrophe in the making and do what it takes to remedy it, as well as all the other unhealthy ponds, as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, it would be pure insanity for the town to allow any new development, large or small, on or near the pond, given that it could have a substantially negative, if not permanent, impact on the pond’s water.

Unfortunately, the town, through its Planning Board, is now considering just such a development, an exclusive, expensive private summer day camp that would bring 500 young campers and counselors to roam across the property and the pond. And flushing its raft of toilets hundreds, if not thousands, of times every day.

If the Planning Board approves this proposed development at its upcoming meeting, Little Fresh Pond could well likely end up on the growing list of “dead” (eutrophic) ponds on Long Island, in which the blue-green algae on the pond’s surface becomes so thick that it blocks sunlight getting into the water and kills all the plant life below.

At a minimum, in light of this new evidence, the board should require the camp’s developer to meet his legal burden to demonstrate that the development will not have a negative impact on the pond or its neighbors. Each board member should keep in mind that the developer, Jay S. Jacobs, maliciously sued the leaders of the Little Fresh Pond Association for $45 million, charging them with defamation, for having opposed his proposal. After its filing, the judge dismissed the suit as “frivolous,” deeming it a SLAPP suit — a strategic lawsuit to chill free speech — and ordered Jacobs to pay those leaders’ legal fees. He is entitled to no sympathy for any hardship he might claim that such a delay might impose upon him.

Planning Board members should do their duty and reject this proposal. Tell Jacobs to come back, if he chooses to, with compelling evidence, not speculation, that his proposal will not have a negative impact on the pond, the environment or the neighborhood, especially in light of this chilling new evidence of the pond’s endangered condition.

Foster Maer

North Sea

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