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Jul 15, 2009 12:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Some are pushing for a new environmental review committee in Southamton

Jul 15, 2009 12:56 PM

“This is going to add more bureaucracy and cost to the town,” said Eve Houlihan, a member of the Hampton Bays Civic Association. “There could be more community input without the Environmental Review Committee.”

Bridget Fleming, who is running for the Southampton Town Board, shared Ms. Houlihan’s opinion. Ms. Fleming said the proposed committee could further politicize Southampton Town Hall.

“Maybe we should revise the code, so SEQRA comes later,” Ms. Fleming said, referring to Ms. Throne-Holst’s proposal.

Mr. DeLuca countered that his proposed committee would be similar to the Francis S. Gabreski Airport Conservation Advisory Panel, which makes recommendations on lease applications for the Suffolk County-owned airport. Mr. DeLuca, who sits on the airport panel, and Hank Beck, co-chair of CAC-West, said that advisory panel has helped channel public sentiment about the airport’s management.

“With the advisory board, the community has a line of input,” Mr. DeLuca said.

Still, other people, including Southampton Town Planning Board Chairman Dennis Finnerty, said they do not like Mr. DeLuca’s proposal.

“I would be reluctant to recommend another process or committee,” Mr. Finnerty said. “We have numerous boards and committees. We can’t say we’re not getting input from various parties.”

Instead, he said he is supportive of Ms. Throne-Holst’s proposal to update the code to permit more public input. He also explained that the Town Planning Board now receives input from the Southampton Town Conservation Board and Agricultural Advisory Committee before making decisions regarding environmental reviews.

“If you establish a committee, it lengthens the planning process, because we’re waiting for reports and feedback,” Mr. Finnerty said.

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Whatever the outcome, Bob DeLuca is to be complimented for coming forward with a detailed outline to improve the planning process. Thanks to the CAC for allowing Mr. DeLuca to make his presentation.

Whether we wind up with a DeLuca or Throne-Holst solution, none of this would be necessary if the plannnig board acted like a real planning board.
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Jul 15, 09 11:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
The planning process is already quite a lengthy and torturous path of tears. And apparently comments from the professional town planning staff and reports from other town boards are not being received and given due consideration by the Planning Board itself. Providing community input early and holding SEQRA determination until the end of the process will help to avoid the threats of law suits by property owners who perceive the long delays as deliberate attempts to thwart their plans.

By Bob Whyte (48), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 09 12:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
I will probablynever have enough money to have a project before the PLanning Board, but imho the process is painful enough as it is. I'm not exactly sure what it is Group for the East End actually does, but they single handedly derailed the Bulova project in Sag Harbor.. I don't think they even have an employee that lives in Sag Harbor. Job well done, Bulova is really looking great these days! Everyone has their opinion.. well except the Planning Board that has 5(?) opinions. But if they don't ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Jul 15, 09 8:11 PM
In my town, the developers have completely ruined the neighborhood with rental housing giving it a slum-like appearance. They have torn down wooded areas adjacent to the core of the pine barrens destroying the habitat of rare migratory birds. Instead of the beautiful natural area for which I purchased my home, I now have to look at ugly rental housing. These greedy developers now have their eyes set on the core, itself, and one has even succeeded in building yet another house there. So much ...more
By darwin (47), southampton on Jul 16, 09 11:30 AM
This is not the 50's or 60's or 70's or even the 80's. Anyone who has tried to advance even the smallest itty bitty project knows what its like to get an extensive proctology exam from the ZBA and Planning Board and Health Department and DEC. They do their jobs very very well in what they see as the public interest. There is already more than full and fair opportunity for public comment on every stick erected and every shovel of dirt moved. What we have here are disgruntled people who ...more
By freedom (3), Southampton on Jul 16, 09 12:02 PM
darwin, why didn't you just buy the land? Just because it was virgin when you moved in, doesn't mean it was going to stay that way. I assume your house was built and did not magically appear from the ground.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jul 16, 09 12:25 PM
As usual most of us do not perceive the real threat to our homesteads as they are whittled away bit by bit by the developers. And some (see above) don't really understand the critical importance of the SEQRA process and where it justly belongs in the time frame. The threat of a personal lawsuit IS NOT and NEVER CAN BE a reason to approve a potentially hazardous project as we've seen happen in several recent submissions. Even when the local community is in support of a positive project with good ...more
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Jul 16, 09 2:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just like most people I thought the core of the pine barrens was safe. It isn't. Wish I could buy more land but I'm just a poor working stiff - not rich, but paying my bills. Isn't the CPF supposed to buy land for open space and preservation? And shouldn't developers post public hearing signs where they can actually be seen and not hidden in the middle of the woods where no one can see them in time? And shouldn't town officials care about all of the town not just South of the Highway? And ...more
By darwin (47), southampton on Jul 16, 09 4:42 PM
I totally agree that we need more environmental safeguards in this town. When will people finally realize that our environment is priority number one and the most valuable asset that we have?
By deKooning (106), southampton on Jul 16, 09 9:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Southampton Board of Supervisors has ALWAYS been the creature of the town building contractors. A majority of the board and, frequently, ALL of the board has profited immensely from new home development. I remember years ago when a nascent Southampton Party ran a candidate for supervisor whom many believed to be a shoe-in. She lost by a substantial margin. The building contractors had conducted a quiet word of mouth campaign to convince voters that her election would threaten their prosperity. ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jul 17, 09 11:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Though I have only lived in town 30 years, I have never heard of the "Board of Supervisors" or anyone with the title "President of the Board of Supervisors" could you please enlighten us as to what that is? Mr Lang, by the way cleaned cesspools, if that is what you mean by "in the building trades". Did your home magically grow from with thin the ground, or did some horrible developer build it?
Why don't you educate yourself as to the process before writing such crap?
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jul 21, 09 4:09 PM
Amen. I guess some people were fortunate to buy a home without ever renting. Welcome to socialism.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 22, 09 8:15 AM
How many times have we heard complaints that the planning process is broken - the developments we don't want keep being approved while those we do want are delayed and denied? This is the time to tell the Town Board and those running for office that we want real change NOW, not after the entire Town has been overbuilt. Let's see how many Board members and candidates will speak out for real reform of the planning process.
By Yes we can (16), Eastport on Jul 22, 09 12:10 PM
Who is the "we" you are talking about? A developer will not build something unless there is a NEED. A developer has fundamental property rights. Not all in the town want socialism. When your taxes go up, and you have to go to Riverhead or Brookhaven for a quart of milk, you're attitude will change. Developers create jobs, period. Our whole east end economy is based upon real estate and real estate development. When that stops, look what happens. A town with no money and more and more young ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 22, 09 1:14 PM

Development solely for development sake is a mistake. The east end economy also relies on tourism, fishing and farming. Whoever said let’s go spend time in Nassau County because it’s so beautiful. What’s being proposed are alternatives to improve the existing planning process. The wrong kind of development will raise taxes, rather than lowering them. East End taxes are lower than either Brookhaven or Nassau County, why because there is less development and more open space. Careful planning ...more
By Yes we can (16), Eastport on Jul 23, 09 4:41 PM
Again, welcome to socialism. As for taxes..do you think the population difference has anything to do with it? As to your points...Tourism,- real estate based. People need places to stay, eat and play. The local inn keepers need local business and development to support their services. They alone cannot support the local economy. So let's make it more difficult for restaurants and local entrepeneurs to go into business. Fishing- have you read about the increased regulations in that department? ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 24, 09 7:47 AM