Promise Is MIA - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1913401

Promise Is MIA

What, in heaven’s name, is holding up our new Comprehensive Plan?

The first new Comprehensive Plan since the May 2000 Comprehensive Plan was Mayor Jesse Warren’s election promise. That promise was extracted from our mayor by innumerable Letters to the Editor, pleas at the Board of Trustees meetings, and telephone and in-person pleas for this essential report to be based on objective opinion research.

What’s so important about a new Comprehensive Plan? For the umpteenth time, let me refer you to New York State Village Law §7-722, which states, “In New York, the zoning enabling acts continue to require that zoning be undertaken ‘in accord with a comprehensive plan.’”

That never bothered former Mayor Mark Epley, whose draconian zoning code, only slightly modified over the last 16 years, continues to dominate overdevelopment in our village even though it violates the last Village Comprehensive Plan, May 2000, which the zoning code was meant to implement.

So, what’s happened? First, our mayor delayed the start of the opinion research that will produce a new Comprehensive Plan until he had appointed a steering committee. What the devil does a steering committee have to do with a Comprehensive Plan? At its legal best, a Comprehensive Plan is a report to a municipality, based on proper opinion research methodology (sampling techniques, avoidance of editorial bias, etc.), to let the village administration know what its various constituencies want their village to look like, what quality of life these constituencies seek, therefore providing the essential guidelines for a new zoning code.

And what have we gotten so far? A circus-colored “survey” mailing resembling an expensive promotion piece for the mayoral election. Instead of providing a foolproof study plan for the opinion research to be undertaken, this so-called “survey” began with the arbitrary listing of the supposed four key concerns of our village population. I did not get any previous request for my key concerns about the state of the village and its future. Did you?

Do you really think that our village considers “the need for more parks” on the same level of concern as the overdevelopment that has continued unabated, i.e., environmentally disastrous McMansions on tiny lots overlooking bathtub-sized pools, postage-sized backyards and redundant pool houses? Looks to me as if those four criteria had been the invention of said steering committee.

Please, Mayor Warren, listen to our plea: Please get your grubby political hands off this opinion research and leave the methodology to the professionals. Dissolve your steering committee with elaborate thanks for their contribution, and let’s find out, with objective opinion research, what our village and its component constituencies really want for the future of our village.

Evelyn Konrad

Attorney at law