The Real Story - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1566373

The Real Story

I am writing about an article you printed on November 27 titled “Water Mill Resident Feuds With Gregor over Drainage Easement” [Residence, 27east.com]. It is disheartening to see even our local news outlet sensationalizing stories with real value into one-sided opinion pieces with worn tropes of irrational women getting in the way of men’s work.

This is a story that deserves to be told truthfully:

The property at 115 Narrow Lane South includes a scenic drainage easement. According to the text of that easement, it is the town’s “right to construct, alter and maintain” any and all existing drains, and while the town is allowed to enter the easement for this purpose, it can only do so “upon the condition” that it is “in the due exercise of the rights created hereby, exercis[ing] due diligence and reasonable care to insure that the premises which are the subject of this easement are neither altered, despoiled or impaired in any manner adverse to their primary use.”

The primary use of this easement is defined on its first page as the preservation of the “natural condition” of this parcel of land, to “enhance the conservation of natural and scenic resources.” It is not to be used as a sump for unnatural levels of runoff from neighboring developments that lack proper drainage systems, flooding preserved land with pesticides, fertilizer and waste.

Worse still, this runoff, which the town is draining onto easements all along Narrow Lane South, eventually leads to Mecox Bay. This is polluted water headed right into an ecologically indispensable estuary. It will lead to algae blooms and the further poisoning of our oceans.

Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor did not bring a tractor onto preserved land, far from the culverts, and without any notice to the homeowners, for a proper purpose. If he intended to clear the culverts, he easily could have accessed them from the driveway. Mr. Gregor intended to clear the natural landscape to account for excess runoff, and he had no intention of repairing the crushed culverts, despite the town’s obligation to do so.

I wish we could write to this paper under different circumstances, encouraging others to grant easements to the town to preserve our land — but Mr. Gregor’s actions are an abuse not only of our rights under these easements but of our land.

The way you tell the news colors the way your readers see the world. The message here is that a woman with the support of her family is fighting for her legal rights, and the preservation of our too-often-abused land and waters. Mr. Gregor is a politician appeasing developers at the expense of our planet and neighbors.

Nicole Lieberman

Water Mill

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