Gentler Impact Needed - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1810135

Gentler Impact Needed

Bonnie Verbitsky, the founder of Bridgehampton Action Now, made a critical point and a great suggestion in her letter to your paper last week [“Sensitive Area,” Letters, August 19] regarding a theatrical event on land near Kellis Pond. How much more can this hamlet take in terms of development and use? A publicly attended theater event at the sensitive Kellis Pond property is a ridiculous idea, especially in light of all the traffic concerns that plague us and the environmental degradation that worry so many — and, please, let’s not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us.

If there is a lesson to be learned about these big-tent events then the local residents near the hamlet of Bridgehampton have learned it from the recent art fair we endured in the field on Corwith Avenue. The temporary building erected there is the size of an airplane hanger (it’s still up as I write this). A road was paved. A field where piping plovers nested was leveled, and nearly every other creature displaced and a natural habitat compromised.

Earth movers and massive air conditioning units are the new native sounds. The planes and helicopters overhead are the only competition, though very little can drown out the sound of multiple 18-wheel rigs barreling down a former back road. Not one resident was notified in advance. The only visible asset? The tent obscured the ugly cell tower the town allowed to be erected several years ago.

What is happening here? Bridgehampton feels heavily stomped on by development, and if we continue, it will destroy what’s left. While private landowners may have a right to use their property as they like, doesn’t “the town” still have a responsibility toward all of its citizens and not just those interested in development and exploitation?

There must be ways to hold these events with a gentler impact on locals and a lighter footprint on the environment. Fair warning to the neighbors is certainly a start. But in the end, the last thing this community needs is another large event in a sensitive area that negatively impacts so many while benefiting so few.

Susan White