We've Been Neutralized - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2042721

We’ve Been Neutralized

A September 8 Sag Harbor Express article exposed tough guy language written into a government contract [“Sag Harbor Will Review Relationship With Planning Consultant In Wake Of Southampton Contract Disclosure,” 27east.com, September 7]. It reported that the service of “neutralizing” public opposition to a proposed project was purchased by the Town of Southampton. Now, in the permanent public record, our “representatives’’ are paying contractors to “neutralize” us.

Unfortunately, it’s not only us. The company offering this “neutralization” has been honing its craft on a giant, unclear, metastasizing development in East Quogue. They now have plenty of experience and a proven track record.

So far, the December 2017 denial of this special permission by the public vote of the Southampton Town Board has been “neutralized.” The people of East Quogue voting down a zoning village end-around attempt has also been “neutralized.” The true mission of the Southampton Zoning Board of Appeals, “neutralized.” The true mission of the Pine Barrens Commission, “neutralized.” Even the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation and its environmental review law have been “neutralized.”

A milestone in the applicable DEC environmental compliance law is naming a lead agency. It’s very simple: The buck stops there. According to their website, the state commissioner of DEC will even help guide local governments in this selection; however, no lead agency exists for the giant, unclear, metastasizing project in East Quogue. Unless, of course, the Southampton Town Board can alter reality and be the lead agency on a project it disapproved? (There is no type for crossed eyeballs.)

So, DEC’s SEQRA procedures seem also to have been effectively neutralized.

We are on the cusp of an environmental disaster. Atop our groundwater reservoir, just upstream from Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay, a commercial catering facility, clubhouse, athletic-recreational facility, pesticide-laden golf course, artificial lakes, underground parking garage, maintenance, fuel and chemical storage buildings, sewage plant, and huge housing project are planned.

The Town of Southampton Planning Board must be brave, embrace integrity and not allow themselves, our town, our hamlet, Weesuck Creek, Shinnecock Bay and so much aquatic wildlife to become additional neutralized victims.

Michael Mirino

East Quogue