Sign First, Worry Later? - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1829529

Sign First, Worry Later?

As one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the Village of Southampton over its heavy-handed attempts to bring a semi-commercial operation into a residential community [“Village Board Backtracks On Pantry,” October 21], I believe our neighbors need to fully understand the process and implications of this board’s actions.

Without conversation with any of the residents of Meeting House Lane and environs, this mayor and board, in late 2020, signed a 30-year agreement with Heart of the Hamptons to lease the ambulance barn for a future food pantry operation. However, the barn is located on Meeting House Lane in a R-12.5 residential zone, which does not include non-residential food pantry operations.

Is “sign first, worry about the details later” a proper way for a village such as Southampton to operate?

The Southampton Press has well- chronicled the series of “starts” and “stops” over the ensuing months, as this board floated proposals, changed proposals and canceled meetings, all in the name of fast-tracking the Heart of the Hamptons food pantry into the Meeting House Lane property, which until recently served as the ambulance barn, thus accommodating the board’s inattention to following proper protocols.

It was only because of our lawsuit that this mayor and this board, begrudgingly, reversed their September 22 legislated local law; however, if we are to read between the lines of their public statements, they believe Heart of the Hamptons at the ambulance barn to be yet a fait accompli.

Legal protocol must be followed, which is why we brought legal action. The board, also, at the September 22 meeting, declared their zone change to be a “Type II” action under SEQRA, thereby not requiring a full assessment of the impact.

Is it not simply inconceivable, and disrespectful to the community, and downright irresponsible, for this mayor and this board to believe that effecting a change by adding semi-commercial operations into a residential neighborhood would be not without any impact.

This mayor and board failed to follow process and we have attempted to hold them accountable.

We will continue to have our eyes and ears on this mayor and Village Board. Simply adding Meeting House Lane onto an existing traffic contract study for other areas of the village is not a thorough assessment of all of the potential impacts.

This proposed change for the Meeting House Lane ambulance barn site in the R-12.5 zone needs to be declared a Type I action and subject to a full SEQRA review.

Paul I. Fagan III

Southampton Village