If Hampton Bays residents are not outraged by Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s disrespect of them, they are not current with what’s going on regarding the Bel-Aire Motel site.
There was a Town Board work session on February 23 solely on this topic. Work sessions are supposed to be public meetings. While, technically, all public meetings are officially announced early in the year, traditionally they also are put online again a week or so before the actual meeting.
This particular notice went online at approximately 6 a.m. The town clerk’s office advised me that they only received the notice at 2:30 the afternoon before. However, at least one participant said she was invited about a week and a half earlier.
And so, despite Jay’s claim during the meeting that he saw some community members in the audience, they were apparently only the four Hampton Bays residents who knew about it. A public meeting by invitation only. That’s a new one.
At the work session, two developers pitched housing proposals to the town. No other options were discussed. However, in her comments to the board, as reported in The Press [“Eyeing Bel-Aire Cove Potential Redevelopment in Hampton Bays, Projects Narrowed to Two by Southampton Town Officials,” 27east.com, February 21], Maria Hults, who is the Hampton Bays Civic Association president, stated that at its most recent meeting, “the topic arose, and ‘to a member’ they all wanted to see a park on the site.” The article goes on to say, “That’s not going to happen, Schneiderman emphasized.”
In a representative democracy, the representative should not so cavalierly dismiss the wishes of the people he purportedly represents.
Now the self-anointed autocrat says he will bring two housing options to the community, and not the third option, which has been loudly spoken for by the people. That is for a simple park with a boat launch.
The residents know what is best for that site. Aside from the obvious environmental problems, and there are many, there is concern that putting housing so close to a restaurant very popular with locals is asking for trouble. The Station Bar is a happy yet low-key place, which has live outdoor music in the summer and is open until 1 a.m. One does not have to be a genius to envision the tension between the two uses in such close proximity, and the inevitable noise and other complaints as a result.
But Jay apparently thinks he knows better than the people who actually live here and have been very consistent about what is good for the community.
This is Jay’s version of “Let them eat cake.”
One fine body…