Lies To Gentrify - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2053244

Lies To Gentrify

We live in such a beautiful, pristine place that brings visitors from literally all over the world, where being at our famous Coopers Beach means hearing a harmony of more than a dozen dialects.

After the pandemic, the Hamptons became a “safe haven” of least fear and more possible protection from the unfortunate turmoil occurring, with a earlier arrival instead of a Memorial Day start.

Please understand and let me be perfectly clear: Homeownership is an agreed American dream and investment. I’m blessed to be a homeowner at a very young age, and I am thankful. Born and raised here and then raising my children here was a plus, and over the past several decades I have witnessed, which is inevitable, as Sam Cooke sang, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Nothing was more precious and memorable than knowing our neighbors. A real sense of community. You need a cup of sugar or flour? You need not run to the supermarket — just walk next door, and then that delicious pound cake or hot homemade buttery rolls are kindly shared.

Fast-forward to reality: This is no longer that community. The latest Census revealed that the demographics have definitely changed. And I never thought I’d see a million-dollar house with a pool and pool house in our beloved community! A change has come. We seem to be the targeted community to invest in.

And, yes, I will admit that seeing this change has been challenging. But the most disturbing challenge is what has been occurring in our community; I call it a “lie to gentrify.” The lie has been: We want or we are building our dream house, but generally the MO has been don’t properly notify the community, just move quickly and get a certificate of appropriateness, and say, “Oh, we changed our plans.”

I recently discovered this firsthand that those new neighborly welcoming cookies I received were just filled with deceitful ingredients of lies. I’m sorry, but as Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

My question is, why aren’t some village local laws not being enforced? How many are getting away with saying they sent out notifications but none of us received them? Is this a new normal practice, with no threat or precedence of any repercussions or fines? Why?

Lastly, one suggestion: I voted for the new housing fund proposition that was approved. How about buying some of these affordable houses in my community? Is gentrifying a community another reason there is less and less affordable housing?

Brenda Simmons