Truth Or Rumor - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1812570

Truth Or Rumor

The Hampton Bays Civic Association’s recent production, starring representatives of the Southampton Town Board did little to clarify truths or rumors surrounding the Hampton Bays downtown overlay district [“Hampton Bays Civic Discussion: Traffic And Development Dominate Discourse,”, August 24]. There is now even more rumor and more unanswered questions.

Whatever their expertise, in the case of the Downtown Overlay District, or DOD, the town developed a plan that failed to comply with the law and failed to pass judicial review. It seems both premature and too late to debate details of a plan that doesn’t and didn’t comply with the law. That the town skimped on its environmental review in order to approve the DOD means there is something environmentally wrong with the DOD.

There are plenty of answered questions and inconsistent statements. An example is the town’s alleged intent to offset increased density in the DOD by reducing density elsewhere in the hamlet. One way the town proposed to do this was by enforcing the prohibition on the conversion of hotels to condominiums. Meanwhile, the town itself is proposing to convert the old Bel-Aire Cove Motel to condominiums!

It is a rumor that choices boil down to the DOD or strip malls. Clearly, there are other options. If the hamlet is lined with strip malls, it’s because the town chooses to let it go that way.

It is a rumor that 1,200 people participated in the process and supported the end result. Many people publicly commented on the failures of the environmental review and expressed concerns and opposition to the end result. Participation does not equal support.

It is a rumor that those who opposed the DOD also oppose creating a vibrant, walkable downtown. There’s an objection to sacrificing our community character, aesthetic and natural resources in order to do so.

It is a rumor that if one opposes the DOD, one opposes any chance for hamlet businesses to grow. We should invest in infrastructure projects that allow our businesses to grow and new businesses to start. Publicly funded investments that appear to be designed primarily to support the profit goals of one investor are a different story.

There was a rumor that the town’s expedited efforts to pass the DOD were for the primary benefit of one entity. That rumor was dispelled by recent articles in which the town supervisor specifically referred to “the investor.”

The question asked at the beginning of the meeting was: “Where do we go from here?” At the end of the meeting, the answer was less clear than before.

Mary Pazan

Hampton Bays