The Town Board, led by Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, has been operating under the mistaken impression that they “rule” the Town of Southampton. The results of the most recent election should serve as a reminder that they work for the residents of the town and are not entitled to simply dictate to those residents what actions will be taken in their communities.
Mr. Schneiderman has claimed that the Hampton Bays Downtown Overlay District that the Town Board approved was the will of the people of Hampton Bays, and that Gayle Lombardi, whose lawsuit succeeded in annulling the approval, is a single disgruntled resident. But Ms. Lombardi has more support than does he. He ran unopposed in the most recent election yet garnered only 9,521 votes from people who took the time to go to the polls. The town clerk received more votes: Of the 12,290 people who voted for the town clerk, almost 3,000 chose not to vote for Mr. Schneiderman.
Mr. Schneiderman was aware that I and many others were opposed to the revision of the plan, because we met with him on several occasions. We asked him if the change in the plan we were presented in 2016 was because there was a developer who was seeking to build more housing. Mr. Schneiderman and Town Planning and Development Administrator Janice Scherer repeatedly asserted there was no development project in existence.
Yet, after the town’s loss in court, Mr. Schneiderman confirmed it was true. An August 3, 2021, article in the Long Island Business News stated: “Hampton Bays resident Alfred Caiola, a principal of Manhattan-based Caiola Real Estate Group, owns several properties in the Hampton Bays downtown and had proposed to embark on a redevelopment project based on the new zoning.”
Unless Mr. Caiola’s people are magicians, the development plan had to have been under development before the Town Board approved the overlay district. Someone from Mr. Caiola’s team even showed the plan to attendees of a meeting of the Hampton Bays Civic Association before there was a vote by the Town Board on the plan.
The Long Island Business News article quotes Mr. Schneiderman as saying, “I think if they understood his vision and what he is trying to do, I think they would embrace it.” Well, Mr. Schneiderman, give us the chance to embrace it. Why don’t you and Mr. Caiola share with the residents of Hampton Bays those plans so that we can see what caused the Town Board to make changes in the overlay district?
And while you are at it, stop blaming Gayle Lombardi for derailing your plans. You did that all by yourself by doing a slipshod job of conducting an environmental review.
One fine body…