It's A Sinkhole - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1827484

It’s A Sinkhole

Zooming right along at breakneck speed — and with public input stifled by the process — the STAR Aquatics “pool” fiasco is slotted in for a “pre-submission” hearing before the Town Planning Board on October 28, at 2 p.m. So, if you have nothing to do in the middle of the day, please plan to “attend,” by which is meant: strain to listen and frustrate yourself trying to speak to your computer to make your thoughts known about this impending horror. Or you can just watch the clowns go through their motions.

At last look, this “pool” for children had metastasized into a mammoth, ugly two-story sports complex with meeting space that could be used for “parties and events.” The land it sits on was purchased with Community Preservation Fund revenue by Jay Schneiderman and handed over to STAR Aquatics after he had plucked them from their proposed site in Red Creek.

Pontificating that this purchase “would afford opportunities for open space” and leaving a strategic chunk of it in the hands of the previous mall developer, he then went scurrying around trying to find ways to develop it. Enter Josephine DiVincenzi and her dead-end pool proposal. Together, they proclaimed Southampton — namely, Tuckahoe — better placed to serve kids.

Now this open space opportunity, purchased with public money on Magee Street, will be covered in asphalt, with 160 parking spaces, and, when added to the equaling appalling 60-unit “affordable housing” development proposed next to it, increase immeasurably the traffic-ridden, accident-prone nightmare on County Road 39. And that’s not the half of it.

Mr. Schneiderman and his compliant board members, snug in their homes, are hardly eager to see the end of Zoom’s de facto exclusion of the bothersome, fractious public from their farcical deliberations and predetermined votes. Many may recall Mr. Schneiderman banging on his bongos at a spreader event during the height of the COVID pandemic. But now he professes an “abundance of caution” to extend Zoom meetings. Almost everyone in Town Hall goes about their business unmasked, and there are ample safe spaces to hold meetings that do not disenfranchise large numbers of the public.

It is essential that the public be aware of and able to voice their opposition to this specious “pool” proposal, the promoters of which (in tandem with Midwestern pool and sports complex developers) have provided no accounting of the millions they claim to have in their coffers. This “pool” is a sinkhole waiting to go bust, potentially costing the public enormous amounts as a similar venture cost East Hampton, under Schneiderman’s tenure, then conveniently be bailed out by private “management” and ownership.

Please try to tune in and participate in the October 28, 2 p.m., meeting.

Frances Genovese