Egregious Boondoggles - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1810152

Egregious Boondoggles

Two done-deal, side-by-side proposals being pushed by Jay Schneiderman are scurrying through a mockery of “review” during these last dog days of August. They are the STAR Sports Complex, posing as a “pool for kids to learn how to swim” [“Town Planning Board Dives In To STAR Pool Proposal,”, August 17], and the Concern for Independent Living 60-unit housing complex, posing as a “small project” to house “local farmers, fishers, artists, youth,” and people who would love to live near their parents, per their flak, Michael Daly [“Drop In The Bucket,” Letters, August 12].

What these two developments have in common, in addition to their proximity to each other on idyllic County Road 39, access to public funding and requisite down-zoning, is that they answer no local need, are ill-conceived, inappropriate, traffic generating, value sucking, potential financial liabilities, environmentally egregious boondoggles pump-primed by Schneiderman and his backup board. Both developments are represented by unctuous, self-appointed spokespeople, held to no standards or account, emboldened to say what they like and confident that it will be accepted as fact.

Josephine DiVincenzi’s desiccated mantras (now refreshed with wellness-marketing lingo) avoid specifics and offer up flattery and gibberish ex cathedra. Unwisely, she has vowed her intention to adhere closely to the YMCA model in East Hampton. She omits that this “pool” for children, originally “East Hampton ReCenter,” went belly up in a scant two years, leaving the town with debt, before morphing into the lucrative YMCA ReCenter, where children had to be accompanied by adult members who paid stiff fees. What did it cost East Hampton taxpayers to bail that pool out? Schneiderman knows — he inherited the problem.

Southampton Town Resolution 2020-982 (November 2020) stipulated that, in exchange for STAR being gifted with Community Preservation Fund-purchased land, they are “committed” to provide the Town Board with updates of fundraising. Committed, not mandated?

At last look, Ms. DiVincenzi coyly told the board that she “is delighted to share the news that STAR recently received a six-figure gift …” Numerous FOIL requests have resulted in the town conceding that they have no documentation as to funding on record. The town also “committed to investigating all legal and jurisdictional steps required to provide the opportunity for the aquatic center to be built” — thereby relieving itself of investigating the financial reports, or due diligence?

With similar insistence on his own ideology, Michael Daly continues to hawk the Concern for Independent Living development as being for locals. Not so! Funded by feds and state, it is open to everyone in the United States.

As for what “independent living” means and is expected to provide minimally as well as similarities and comparisons to “assisted living,” check for yourself at

Frances Genovese