Government Pollution - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1838708

Government Pollution

When the Southampton Village Planning Board approved the Paul Robinson 245 Old Town Road subdivision by voice vote and without a full environmental review, the Planning Board violated New York State law (6 NYCRR Part 617).

The Planning Board chose to ignore all the objections presented in answer to the Robinson application for that subdivision, more than a decade ago and also in the past year. These objections require a full environmental impact review of the foreseeable and unintended consequences of that subdivision, against the interests of our village.

The then-chair of the Planning Board also violated proper procedures and additional state laws that make this regulatory board responsible to the Village of Southampton, not to specific constituencies or neighborhoods.

For more than a decade, our Village Planning Board has routinely allowed negative declarations to sweep villagers’ protests and mention of all foreseeable negative consequences for the village under the rug. A negative declaration, under SEQRA, simply states that no adverse impacts on the physical environment or on other aspects of the quality of village life could be expected from granting of that application for a subdivision.

A reader of my letter on the website took issue with my last letter, citing an apparent 40-year history of pollution of the Old Town Pond [“Pointing The Finger,” Letters, November 25]. That long history is certainly possible. But, then, that is precisely the kind of issues that a thorough SEQRA review would study, document and evaluate before producing a public document showing why this application for a subdivision was okay to grant, or why it would have any number of thoroughly and expertly studied bad effects on our village, be it in terms of the physical environment, the local history or the rights of the residents of the village. In brief, such a SEQRA review would protect our village from disastrous “unintended consequences.”

I would like readers of The Southampton Press to remember that I am an attorney, not an engineer. I am not an expert on water pollution. I am an expert on government pollution, be it by corruption or by ignorance. Both do the exact same damage to our village.

As for Rob Coburn, author of that lengthy discourse on water quality, I am not sure what his area of expertise may be. But I do want to reassure him that a proper and legal SEQRA review, as mandated in this case by 6 NYCRR part 617, would take into account all the relevant scientific facts about the present and future conditions of Old Town Pond, and their causes, to guide the Village Planning Board’s decision-making.

Evelyn Konrad