Hope Crushed - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2014804

Hope Crushed

For a few minutes during the latest Hampton Bays Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, a spark of hope ignited when it appeared that, finally, the town and its consultant, Nelson Pope Voorhis, were going to seriously consider what Hampton Bays residents want and don’t want for revitalization of their hamlet.

All hope was crushed, however, when, after constructive conversation by those attending, the town’s consultant let the cat out of the bag, confirming that it and the town were not really considering residents’ voiced concerns about plans for an estimated 248 new apartments, many in 3.5-story, 50-foot-tall buildings, and the necessary accompanying 300,000-gallons-per-day capacity sewage treatment plant in the heart of downtown Hampton Bays.

Instead, the town and its consultant let slip that they were intent on resurrecting and only “tweaking” the now court-nullified Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District, which allows for both.

A tweak is not the solution. Significant changes to the town’s current plans are essential to address residents’ legitimate concerns about massive out-of-scale apartment construction and the plan for a large sewage treatment plant squeezed into a too-small parcel of land in the heart of downtown Hampton Bays between historic Good Ground Cemetery and Community Preservation Fund-purchased Good Ground Park.

Those concerns, to name a few are:

1) Increased gridlock and carbon pollution by hundreds of additional vehicles accessing downtown Montauk Highway.

2) Substantial increased attendance in Hampton Bays schools.

3) Environmental devastation from woodland replacement by paved apartment parking.

4) Deep pipeline trenching beneath Cemetery Road and construction of a sewage treatment plant at 30 Cemetery Road.

5) Gravesite damage during pipeline installation and sewage treatment plant construction.

6) Burial and gravesite visitation disruption in Good Ground Cemetery.

7) Disrespect to those buried in Good Ground Cemetery and their survivors.

8) Drainage and transportation of sewage sludge by large tanker trucks traversing Cemetery Road.

9) Multiple violations of standards adopted by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services intended to prevent the spread of airborne and waterborne diseases.

In sum, the message communicated by the consultant’s “tweaking” comment is that the town and its consultant are pretending to listen to residents’ concerns while intending to jam down residents’ throats what the town and its consultant think best.

It is, of course, irrelevant that the town and its consultants have a developer in waiting to make their, and the developer’s, dream plan come true. But if the residents of Hampton Bays don’t want that nightmare, they must show up at meetings, such as that planned for August 29, and demand changes — and not just some cosmetic tweaks — to the town’s devastating plans.

Linda Wells

Hampton Bays