Dog-and-Pony Show - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2049660

Dog-and-Pony Show

At The Express News Group panel discussion on the future of Hampton Bays held on Thursday, October 27, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman stated that the annulled Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District form-based code “had inherent problems” and “was going to have problems down the road.” He went on to say that from the community’s perspective, the 3½-story buildings and overall density were “non-starters.”

Exactly when did Supervisor Schneiderman and the town officials have this epiphany? For six years, the community has heard from the town officials that the annulled HBDOD was exactly what the community wanted and acted like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Let’s recap:

In February 2020, the HBDOD was approved by the Town Board despite more than 300 documented comments from community members, with many voicing concerns about the sustainability of the HBDOD, 3½-story buildings and overall density. So why now this epiphany — why was the HBDOD ever approved?

In July 2021, the HBDOD was annulled by the State Supreme Court, and soon thereafter Supervisor Schneiderman issued a press release targeting me (as the litigant in the State Supreme Court case) as the “one person [who] set out to derail years of careful community-based land use planning.” Clearly no epiphany before that press release was issued.

In September 2021, the Town Board filed a notice to appeal the court decision, in an attempt to reinstate the HBDOD. Nope, I guess the epiphany wasn’t before that.

In May 2022, the Town Board filed a motion to correct the notice of appeal. Hmm — I guess still no epiphany.

In June 2022, the Town Board approved a $200,000 contract with Nelson Pope Voorhis containing the clause to “neutralize” the opponents of the HBDOD, which was signed by Supervisor Schneiderman in August 2022. Still waiting for signs of that epiphany.

As of this writing, the Town Board has failed to commit to abandon the appeal.

So, when exactly was this epiphany? Is all this “listening” just another dog-and-pony show, and we will end up exactly where we started?

Can we really trust Supervisor Schneiderman not to seek out members of the community to support the same dimensional specifications as the HBDOD in the next round of “small groups” he now proposes? Can we really believe anything the town officials say about the downtown revitalization? Actions speak louder than words, and their actions to date speak volumes.

Maybe the reality is that the Town Board will do what they want and our only recourse is back to the courts or to vote them out of office.

I strongly urge all Hampton Bays residents to stay engaged and informed.

Gayle Lombardi

Hampton Bays