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257 Comments by Rickenbacker

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Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

The traffic drivel is and has always been a canard, and those who espouse the "traffic" as being the reason why this development should not move forward seem to be unaware of the impact of what is being said. What you are saying is that while new construction continues unabated for single family homes, whether affordable or not, and denser condo/townhouse projects, affordable or not, year after year, that no service option for supporting that rapidly expanding community can ever exist other than trying to stuff those service needs down into the village center. That's nonsense! the village has it's own parking problems right now, and it's own traffic issues. Working families can pretty much no longer to afford to buy, let alone rent anything within the village, so expect the population, both year round and summer to continue to grow north and west.

The recent Stop & Shop renovation did not change any of the dynamics of this point - it only partially cleaned up that single undersized location's act. The need for these services still exists, and will continue to demand a solution for many years to come. Remember, in order to have a shopping area like this, you need a minimum of 5 acres. It has been stated many times that other than this particular site, there are no other commercial parcels like this one (save the Elks property nearly across the street and the PSEG property on David White's Ln).

The traffic studies all pointed to a nearly net zero impact on overall existing traffic, and many thousands of miles would be less traveled by many local shoppers because of the development. The county's own planners agreed that they could even mitigate issues in the immediate area around Magee and CR39 so that there would not be any adverse impact.

Yes, Barbara Roberts should be ashamed, as she spent a good deal of time letting the commission and attendees know how smart she was as an East End representative, and then proceeded to cherry-pick her facts, agreeing with traffic study elements when it suited her narrative, and dismissing those same traffic studies when it didn't. She came with an agenda, one most closely resembling the hysterics espoused by Havemeyer and McGann. Most ridiculous was her claim, ala McGann, that a substantial amount of people in the trade area for this development are already buying their groceries online! I'm a big user of the internet, and even I don't buy that crapola.

Roberts' opinion also went against both the Suffolk County Commissioner of Public Works' positive recommendation AND the county planning commission's own professional staff's positive recommendation for approval. Hey, that's what they do for a living, but ok, just dismiss them out of hand because you must be so much smarter. It was such a clear political calculation rather than a substantive debate on the actual finalized plan and data, that it left many gobsmacked in disbelief.

But a vote is a vote, 8-5 for disapproval, and that's just the way it is. We have to make sure we elect representatives who will be better informed on issues. This was not the case on this particular issue, in my opinion. " Dec 4, 15 2:12 PM

SVO, you must live in a parallel universe. First, while it is a 15-member panel, only 13 were present, the vote was 8-5, not 13-0. Second, there were no "hard facts" discussed by Roberts, as those facts, ie, that the overall effect on traffic effect would be minimal, were summarily dismissed by our local representative on the commission in her self-proclaimed "genius" analysis. Many people have also read that same information and come to a completely different conclusion, including the county commission's own staff - the very people charged with digging into the details.

In your universe, a "mega" mall is a little grocery-anchored shopping center. I can only think you must be wide-mouth dumbfounded then when you come across entities like the Smithtown Mall, the Roosevelt Field Mall, or the Walt Whitman Mall, which, by the way, only one of them is truly "mega", but are all more than 20x the size of this project. I shudder to think how you survive the shock and awe of retail commerce if this one modest project was so over the top for you. It must positively give you the vapors! There is nothing "mega" or "mall"-like about it.

All you are saying is that regardless of the intensity of growth in the Tuckahoe area, there should be absolutely no support for it regarding basic shopping needs.

As an alternative, you probably think the village center is the only right place to service the increasing needs of outer village residents. Are you nodding yes? Then how do you explain statements made in this week's paper by village residents now complaining that the proposed business-district sewer project, which is designed specifically to enable village business to handle the increased traffic and commerce, is going to, dare we mention it, bring more development and business?! You can't have it both ways.

The fact is, cries of mega-malls and traffic armageddon are soley designed to divert attention away from what the "mall"-calling class of whiners is really all about - No more development, now, or in the future, no matter what. It's the modus operandi of the Group for the East End, the aberration of tone in some of the local CACs, and people who, no matter what "fact" is presented, want to bury their heads in the sand and just say "No". What kind of universe...excuse me...what sort of community, do you believe you still live in?

Your accident comment is also incorrect. The hottest spot for deadly accidents on CR 39 is west of the college, not east or even at the CR39/Magee St intersection. That was just thrown in there by you to see if it stuck. It didn't. But maybe, in your universe, gravity is just different.
" Dec 5, 15 3:40 PM

1 - Actually, the only thing true in your statement is that the King of Prussia mall IS truly a mega mall. I agree with you on that. Now, however, since we are talking scale and we agree on what a mega mall is (finally), we also know the proposed Tuckahoe Center is substantially SMALLER than the existing "neighborhood shopping centers" in Hampton Bays, and Bridgehampton, none of which any sensible person would affix the label "mega" or "mall". The Tuckahoe center is classified as a "neighborhood shopping center", as it should be. Conflating it with something like the KoP mall, even if you want to qualify the definition by dumbing it down to a local scale, is insincere at best.

2- I do not and never have had a stake in this or any other development. I have just lived here locally for many years and understand that things do need to change, not because I want any more "surburbanization" (I don't) or a desire for UTI-type density (don't want that either), but for the REALITY of the fact that there are hundreds more families that live outside the village who would be better served having a new grocery store closer to their homes. The traffic-nazi's complain about the "devastating" traffic "destroying" their way of life, but ignore the fact that the very same traffic inhibits and slows down life for regular working people trying to get basic needs. The village option is not suitable long term, as the facility was built in the 1970's, well before the population growth exploded out east. And that grocery store was built when there were already 4 other competitors within walking distance of it (IGA(Bohacks)/Gristede's/Herbert's/McClaren's Market). It also cannot reasonably expand. On top of that, the village already has parking issues, and traffic gridlock of its own at times.

3- Concerning accidents, your scale is off. It's 1.5 miles to Stony Brook U and 3 miles to Lobster Inn, quite a distance and different type of road there as opposed to where this project is sited. Yes, there was 1 horrible fatal accident near PC Richard and this is close by, but unfortunately there are fatal accidents all over the South Fork, none of which should have happened, but those conditions are not going to be worsened by this development. In fact, since the county is getting a 75-ft easement on the Tuckahoe Center property, specifically for road improvements, I'll make you a bet that it will end up being one of the safest parts of CR39.

4 - I am not pro-density. I am however cognizant of the incredibly robust new construction going on in and around the local area. It's not just condos. Take a drive on the back roads, and you will easily count hundreds of new homes built or under construction, all outside of the village. That's just our whole community's present reality. And that has created a situation where more services, like a basic grocery-anchored shopping center are entirely appropriate. " Dec 6, 15 12:17 PM

Democratic Party Nominates Julie Lofstad To Run For Town Board

Good question. I'd like to know that too. " Dec 7, 15 9:39 AM

Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

Except when it isn't appropriate, as in how you apply the term. If you're going to use a dictionary, why not use the actual national definitions of shopping centers, which describe a mega mall of something over 1 million sq ft, when this "neighborhood shopping center" is only 58,000 sq ft. The pumpkintown field in Water Mill is "very large" too, but I don't hear anyone calling that "mega". The Mercedes dealership, to my eye, seems "very large", but I don't call that mega. The new covered ice skating rink at the driving range is nearly twice the size of last year's open air rink, it too is "very large", but I don't think anyone would call it "mega". Just because you paid for some silly T-Shirts that say "no Tuckahoe Mall" doesn't make it one. Of course if you told Robert Gibbs it was a mega-mall, and he, being a qualified consultant who understands the definition of one, I can understand how he might feel. But the Tuckahoe Center "ain't no" mega mall.

But help me understand what you are saying - You are contending that the heart of a village center is its supermarket, even though the dynamics in this particular case would show that more people live outside of that village than within it, that there are now fewer basic supermarkets in the village than there were just 15 years ago, that somehow, in your vision for the future, with all that outer growth, with more to come, there is absolutely no possibility of an additional new grocery store being built outside the village, ever, to handle the increased flow.

I can only respond that what you are saying is just not reality-based. The commissioner of DPW, part of whose job is planning, ie, long term vision, stated categorically that traffic mitigation on Magee St COULD be done, based on discussions with his staff. Who are you to simply dismiss it out of hand as if he didn't know what he was talking about? He wasn't asked to come in to testify on his mitigation plan, he came to the meeting on his own to make comments of support of the overall project and stated he was comfortable with what the county could do. Planners plan, and looking into the future with the data in hand, the conclusion for another supermarket, in his mind, the county planning staff's mind, and lots of other people's minds, is justifiable.

I'm not saying you are wrong to feel the way you do, I understand where you are coming from, but the time has come for better solutions than just "no development, no way, no how."

The traffic issue as I've said, is a canard that attempts to obscure that real agenda.

With regard to accidents, the data you quote from the DEIS only compared the roads immediately bordering the proposed development (see also the FEIS, Table 3, page 16). It did not report accident data from west of Magee St or east of PC Richards, which, if included, would dwarf the data in the EIS as it relates to both the amount and severity of accidents along the whole of CR39, which was my point in my earlier comment. " Dec 8, 15 4:03 PM

I'm not comfortable with surburban sprawl either, but the facts of rampant residential building out here are the facts. You can't continually bury your head in the sand and claim you want it the way it was when you first moved here. That's clearly not happening. But you could help the situation by putting services closer to those who use those same arteries to get to shopping places further east and west, which will reduce that aspect of the flow. You can say mall, mall, mall all day, it doesn't make it true. " Dec 9, 15 12:55 PM

Southampton Village Voters Might Have A Say In Fate Of Proposed Sewer District

I'm sort of amused by the opponents of the sewer-district proposal. First, we have village officials and the core of the lunatic fringe constantly bemoaning the "devastating" traffic on CR 39 and that we can't have another grocery store, regardless that the existing density supports it and that future density, which is obvious, demands it. Those same people have always claimed that the village “center," as part of their sanctimonious defense of “rural character,” is the only suitable place for shopping even as density continues to grow.

So, as the village actually tries to resolve a well-known and long-standing issue with run-off and outdated cesspools in order to manage the expected growth in the village, whether that is just to relieve the limits of wet use, allow for improved living and commercial uses, or to keep the environment cleaner, all things that a sewer system may ameliorate, some of these same people are now bemoaning this common-sense upgrade.

In what seems to be a constant, the detractors of these things are not just about the issue at hand - they just don’t want any change - no way, no how. Just bury your head in the sand and say “no” and hope your anger and whining will make it all go away. Sometimes, I hate to admit, that even works.

But that is no way to support a community. It is myopic." Dec 18, 15 10:31 AM

Suffolk County Planning Commission Votes Against Tuckahoe Shopping Center Zone Change

What utter nonsense. Babara Roberts gave a hack job of a review at that meeting. She cherry-picked her "facts" and gave a long rambling estimate from her personal opinion, without even considering her own professional staff's recommendations. In fact, she simply dismissed them.

Oh, she only had a “moment" to you because she is in the same angry, leaky, boat of “No" as you. No development ever, that is. Oh, unless maybe a developer who happens to have gotten his project by you happens to agree to give you an addition on your house. But that never happened, did it?

To many others, Roberts is just another example of the "just say no" crowd, even when facts are presented in front of them and experts on a particular issue come up with recommendations that are opposite from your world view. It’s not saving the community, it is just just making life more difficult for many others." Dec 18, 15 10:52 AM

Read any of my comments above. I am not paid or part of any developer or any development. I have an opinion on where the future of the community needs to go, based on facts, not on a fantasy of days gone by. Whenever someone disagrees with you, you always they must be "on the take". Guess what? Not me. I think your viewpoints on traffic are a concern, but not an insurmountable one. I've lived here for over 30 years, most of it in Southampton, and have traveled to other parts of the world west of the canal. Don't think your attacking my right to an opinion changes the facts, they don't. Your angry leaky boat may have won a battle here, but inevitably, change is coming, and while I am totally on board with environmental conservation, historic preservation, and the maintaining and supporting of a good community fabric, for old and young alike, I at least have the wherewithal to see that we need to support our growing community in ways that make life better, not more difficult. I don’t see any of that in your comments. All I see is “no, No, NO!!"" Dec 21, 15 10:13 AM

I don't think I've much posted on other projects, but I'll help you here. Don't think the Hills project is a good idea, was on the fence about the Rechler project, not so sure about the Gateway PDD. However, I am for the Tuckahoe project as I see a clear community benefit, and I am also for the sewer project to some extent, because it's long past time. I call Bravo Sierra on your contention. Roberts' speech at the commission was a sham, as it was simply a regurgitation of many of the discredited (by facts) things said by Havemeyer and McGann. It's too bad the vote went the way it did, but that's just the way it is. I still believe an alternative outside of the village for grocery shopping is an excellent idea and the scale of the project was appropriate and significantly smaller than the ones in BH or HB, which no one is calling mega malls. " Dec 22, 15 1:42 PM

Proposed Sewer District Would Impact Southampton Inn Owner In Many Ways

I'm starting to agree with you. First, the Latch is not included in the boundary, knowing full well density will increase on that spot, and now the Inn, which of course, has its own grand redevelopment plans including more residential, for the building that now houses Plaza restaurant and radio station. Doesn't sound right to me if some of the largest facilities can just opt out of a massive civic project. " Dec 23, 15 11:26 AM

Calone Clarifies County Position On Tuckahoe Center

Calone, the recently resigned member of the planning commission, now doing a 20/20 hindsight review while he tees up his profile for a congress run against ATH. The article is mistaken, he knew precisely what Roberts, from North Haven, would say. East Hampton chimed in as well. There may have been a member from Riverhead there, but there was no great commentary at that meeting. Calone had Roberts speak first of all the commissioners. Using traffic as the primary excuse, they voted against it. I think it's a wrongheaded decision, but the vote is the vote.

Why is the Press not highlighting any of the other commissioners on the reasons why they voted against this motion of disapproval, which some were not happy about? Funny, a few weeks ago, the Press highlighted Bridget Fleming in a front page article after she was outvoted 4-1 by the town board on a PDD issue. The Press has such a bias on these issues, it's a wonder no one else calls them out on the way they craft who and how they cover these important issues. " Dec 23, 15 11:39 AM

Happy to oblige:

1. Roberts claims this project is opposed by nearly every CAC. That is true, except CACs are not charged with commenting on issues outside of their jurisdictions, in fact, they have no influence at all outside of their areas of concern. This is a major issue with the current makeup of CACs, who believe they have more power than they actually do. They are only supposed to be advising the town board on issues concerning their particular region, not acting as ad hoc advocacy groups for the whole town. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

2. Roberts' letter claims she wrote it BEFORE the meeting, yet she states in the 2nd paragraph that “as you saw today, there is opposition from some elected local officials and local environmental and planning experts.” There were no planning experts speaking against the project, and clearly Roberts knew who was coming to the meeting to speak beforehand. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

3. Roberts claims infers that the data in the various reports by the developer, their consultants, and the Town’s hired independent consultants are “confusing” and give “conflicting” information. Actually, that’s not really the case, as when where there were initial differences, the two sides then got together and worked out all issues to their mutual satisfaction and whose collaboration resulted in the FEIS. Also, the Cashin report, which came out much later, recommended approval of the project. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

4. Roberts claims there is no proven community benefit, but uses only her “opinion” that the scale (40,000 sq ft) is out of line and that traffic will be majorly impacted, especially on a property zoned for only a 15,000 sq ft building. However, she ignored the many community benefits expressed by the developer, the various market and traffic studies, and the hundreds of residents who contributed public input in support. Emphasis on her “opinion", as the facts from the studies, and the solid recommendation of the county planning board staff, as well as the county commissioner of Public Works, contradict her opinion and rationale. On top of that, Roberts apparently missed the fact that the development spans 4 separate properties, all having as-of-right development of 15,000 sq ft each, giving an as-of-right building max of 60,000 sq ft. The development proposed is 58,500 sq ft. It’s also significantly smaller than shopping centers in Bridgehampton and Hampton Bays. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

5. Roberts praises the town zoning work that was done 40 years ago that created the Highway Business zone, but neglects to mention that the very same code from 40 years ago also established a Shopping Center Business zone and anticipated increased residential density in the Tuckahoe area specifically, finding it wholly appropriate to consider a change of zone for a Shopping Center Business somewhere down the line when conditions would merit that change of zone. It is clear that the density all around Tuckahoe has increased along the lines the planners of that time envisioned, so there is nothing “against” those 40 years of zoning that would prohibit this change. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

6. Roberts is from North Haven, yet she states that “this development is clearly not in keeping with the character of our community.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly, and I’m not sure she could express an intelligent definition about Tuckahoe’s character without taking into consideration the reality of increased density, which she does not. In the same paragraph she claims the Bridgehampton KK is 42,000 sq ft, which is just wrong, as it is 60,000 plus sq ft, significantly larger than this proposed development. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

7. Roberts claims that the market study which defends the need for an additional grocery store is flawed and includes all people from the South Fork. I thought she said she read this closely. Yes, as a generality, the study looked at the overall picture, but also focused in on the needs of the Tuckahoe and surrounding area specifically. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

8. Roberts makes the claim that the people who did the studies do not understand our community. She says that this grocery store, which includes shopping for basic needs like diapers, toilet paper, pet food, cleaning supplies, etc, is not needed because we should be shopping at local farm stands and/or buy our groceries online. Really? I happen to do some shopping at local farm stands, but not for all my basic needs. And the online claim is so specious as to make me ill. How many of you reading this actually buy your groceries online? Probably not a one of you. This is a FALSEHOOD by Roberts.

9. Roberts asks rhetorical questions as to the viability of a new grocery store. Though this robust need has been demonstrated in a number of studies, through strong public input, and the gauntlet of the entire multi-year zone change process, Roberts simply dismisses these and in a superior way asks all the same questions all over again as if they had not been intelligently considered during that process. If she was truly following along, as she claims, she would know these items had been addressed and that a number of opposing forces, specifically VHB and Dunn, have agreed on most if not all of the major points.There is no “confusion” here. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

10. There is no question that traffic is an issue, but the Tuckahoe Center will neither aggravate nor ameliorate all of the issues. Yes, there will be substantially less miles driven back and forth from HB and BH grocery stores and some of those saved miles will still increase the trip counter to the Tuckahoe Center. But the road at that spot will be widened with another lane to peel off any increased traffic, as the developers are giving a 75-foot easement along the front of the property for that purpose. Roberts seems to claim, like many of the opposition, that nothing can be done, ever. Well, that isn’t factually true, as both engineering firms, the Cashin report, the town planning staff, the county planning staff and the head of the county’s public works have all attested that it can. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

11. The Sandy Hollow intersection has been an issue for many, many years. It was made slightly better when the road expanded, but it could be improved further. It’s probably out of the scope of the Tuckahoe developer, but it was certainly a concern of the various municipal planners, and they have come out in favor of the development. Ok, I get that Roberts may have some trepidation today of making that left turn onto Sandy Holloe, but the Tuckahoe Center doesn’t make that one worse and she provides no details as to why that would be the case. This is a DECEPTION by Roberts.

12. This one point tells the whole tale of Roberts' insincerity towards the reality of what is happening in Tuckahoe: “Our villages are our shopping centers.” Yes, for many years, before the density hit a tipping point, that was true. You could also drive reasonably comfortably when CR 39 was a two lane “highway”. But those days are gone, and many, many more elements of development have changed the dynamic in this area, in the village, and further east.

The village is also now getting flack for suggesting a sewer system to help with this growth, and village residents are already coming out against it, because the naysayers don’t want to face reality there either. This Roberts document sums up the typical myopic vision of a small group of angry, NIMBY naysayers, and she played right into their playbook, trying to foment fear of a traffic armageddon and other nonsense like loss of "community character", while at the same time trying to obscure hers, and her compatriots' real agenda, which is to deny anyone’s attempt to bring sensible development to an area that sorely needs it, for any reason whatsoever. She has become a poster child for a do-nothing, elitist mentality that has only hurt our community, not supported and nurtured it. This is both a FALSEHOOD and a DECEPTION by Roberts." Dec 26, 15 1:32 PM

Not true. I am openly in favor of the Tuckahoe Center as its chief benefit is that will serve many in the local community, especially the year round resident. I look at these big projects on a case-by-case basis. In my opinion, the Hills does not demonstrate a community benefit, and the Rechler project, while it could be argued there is one, just to clean the mess up there, I can see the other point of view as well. Don't paint me with a pro-development brush, but if you want to do it with an intelligent progress brush, that's ok with me. " Dec 26, 15 2:13 PM

Oh, I get it. Time does not stand still. A decade from now there will be more people, and inevitably, even more traffic. CR39 is going to have to be re-improved again at some point in the future - that's just a fact. It will never get to RT 58 status, as the both the zoning and physical layout of the lots along the roadway can never physically allow it. But this isn't about the needs of a decade from now, it's about the practical needs of today and tomorrow. b

If you think we are already at max now, I feel sorry for you, because your head will probably explode in the coming years as the reality of increased density keeps moving in. If you cannot admit the incredibly rapid growth of new residential homes just outside the village, whether that's single family homes or multi-family condos, you are just going to find yourself getting angrier and angrier over time. Just breathe, it will be ok, if a little good planning is put in place now, you might actually find this is better for the community than just saying no all the time and hoping against hope that a tsumani will come through and bring the Hamptons back to 1962. It's not likely to happen. " Dec 28, 15 1:10 AM

Where is the stretching? Please explain. " Dec 28, 15 10:29 AM

Turkey dude, simmer down now. Someone above asked for examples of what they considered Roberts’ "lies and deceptions" and I took a little time to detail them, as objectively as possible. Roberts really had no more “expert” information than any of the public input supplied by both supporters or opponents. In fact her comments were riddled with weak logic that had been debunked over many hearings and studies by actual experts. I would have expected more enlightened comments from an official representative. If she was considering facts rather than dismissing experts and ignoring her own staff, maybe I could understand, but that’s not what she did.

Again, I am entitled to my opinion, as are you, and I don't ascribe political or financial motivations to you, so why do you to me? I might consider someone who has made over 1,300 comments on a little newspaper website pathological as well, but I seem to understand you have a strong need to express yourself. To each his own.

Regarding CACs - they are not “advocacy" groups, they are local committees charged by the town to keep board members informed on issues relating to the part of town in which each member lives, so town board members, who may be less aware of issues in parts of the town where they don’t live can be better informed. That is the proper use of the CAC construct. This is why there are multiple CACs.

However, talk to any town board member now or in the past and they will likely agree that the CACs are not charged with linking arms with each other and have zero jurisdiction to speak officially on issues outside of their own neighborhoods. They are “advisory", not advocacy committees, and for good reason.

For example, when members of CACs speak out on issues not in their jurisdiction, which is happening with increasing frequency, they are inappropriately self-elevating their position, or voice, over mine or yours, and that should not be allowed. If town resident X who might also happen to be on the Quogue CAC speaks out on an issue like the shopping center in Tuckahoe at a public hearing, they really come representing themselves only as a single town resident, and their voice is equal to mine or yours as a citizen of the town, wouldn’t you agree? But some recent CAC members believe they speak for more than just themselves when commenting on outer-area issues. They come to public hearings on issues outside of their jurisdictions announcing their representation of so-and-so CAC, as if that conferred some elevated, more important voice. It doesn’t. And the public and this newspaper shouldn’t believe it does.

Don’t think this is true and is rife with problems? Ask the East Hampton town board, which came very close to abolishing the CACs over this very issue and had to resort to warning letters to each CAC member to get them to cease and desist. Check the EH Star archives.

The CACs of Southampton town have even recently resorted to holding group meetings so they can share information and link arms on issues to help bolster CACs influence on town issues. This is not even a function of a CAC, they are not a network, but it is beginning to happen behind the scenes. Add to that back room politicking Ms. Spilka, who represents a number of other civic groups in town and is in constant communication with the CACs, and now you’ve got a loosely organized bloc of people wielding attempting to wield influence on town board members. Sorry, can’t use a town CAC that way, they are not there for that purpose.

As far as Roberts comments, she should know that technically, only one CAC, the Tuckahoe CAC, is totally justified having a say in this matter. If we want to be generous, though not technically correct, we could include any CAC within the trade area, but it is totally irrelevant to the discussion what other CACs outside of the trade area have to say. Roberts comment was indeed deceptive, that or she just didn’t know what she was talking about with regard to the structure and responsibilities of a town-appointed (not elected) CAC.

I am also not defeatist. I think the town has a bright future and can balance development with preservation. If you've read some of my comments, I have been clear that I support intelligent preservation, conservation, and other things that keep the character in our community. But you also need to have a living community, one that adjusts and evolves to help maintain the overall good of the community. The Tuckahoe Center would actually be a good thing, albeit that is my own, personal, opinion (not paid for)." Dec 29, 15 7:46 AM

Ask one of the CAC members about the quietly organized meeting at the HB Senior Center a few months ago where they batted about the various issues they were fighting, overtly trying to organize to help each other organize and go out and speak on each other's issues. I'm not talking about a Supervisor meeting, that's fine, I'm talking about the advocacy efforts going on behind the scenes, which are unauthorized extensions to the function of a CAC. Also in attendance at that same meeting was Kevin McAllister and Andrea Spilka, neither of whom are on a CAC but who were advocating for their issues for their particular groups.

It isn’t nonsense. You damage your own credibility for dismissing it out of hand. Find out for yourself. " Dec 29, 15 12:25 PM

That concept of retarding basic infrastructure growth to keep the area “recognizable as the place we knew thirty years ago” is just my point. For you, it’s no development, no way, no how. That is myopic, and it cannot stand if at the same time the same community allows for the rampant residential development. I don’t see you calling for a halt to new house construction. How do you balance stuffing more people in homes out here, whether they are year-round, second home, tourist, etc, and not continue to look at ways to support those people? Is it that only more luxury car dealerships are ok with you? How about an Applebee’s, or a Hooters? These things are allowable as of right on that same spot. But would that help the community that lives here? No. These are commercial properties, they are going to get developed anyway, so why not something viable that would service the most people instead of just a tiny fraction?

The Tuckahoe development isn’t about that, it is about providing a basic needs upgrade to an area that has seen rapid growth, and to provide an alternative to the various limitations of the current village options. The Tuckahoe application was submitted along the lines of what town planners anticipated over 40 years ago, which was that a shopping center business zone change there would be appropriate as density increased. But you dismiss that entirely.

You want to go back 30 years? OK, let’s look at that. In the grocery stores you could only buy only one type of laundry detergent, called Suffolk. It was like a Soviet state out here then. Village commerce was just about nil after Labor Day and as dead as a doornail after Thanksgiving. You want to go back to that? Sure, it would be quieter, more rural, if you like, but many of your neighbors and friends would no longer be able to live here. It’s a ridiculous sentiment.

I’m not being paranoid about CACs. People can organize and meet however they want under laws of free assembly. However, the CACs are town-appointed groups, not free standing committees, and have their own rules. They are charged with informing town board members on issues in their own jurisdictions. That’s it. They are not charged with grouping together and acting like lobbying groups on pet issues that members want to see advocated for all over town. Not all CAC members feel the same as their majorities within their groups, and if you look at who is actually in the groups, you do not see a diverse cross-section of the community. What you do see are concerned residents, but who are increasingly delusional about what their CACs can and cannot do and there has been a drift towards advocacy. Again, ask a town board member, heck, ask Fred Thiele, I think he was there when the CACs were created.

And you are entirely incorrect about my position on development. I am not in favor of “paving over paradise to put in a parking lot”. However, you cannot keep creating residential units without a concomitant upgrade in infrastructure. And that infrastructure cannot all be jammed into the village. That is my position." Dec 30, 15 9:41 AM

I don’t think we are so different in our personal views, but we are in the matter of degree. I agree with you regarding The Hills. The views there are worth more to our communities and character than the small enclave of wealthy users who would use it in their own, private, exclusive way. I am sympathetic to the people who don’t want Matt Lauer to put up screening to block neighbor’s vistas of his horse farm in Water Mill because preservation of our open views was one of the major points of creating agricultural reserves.

I have never looked at the Tuckahoe Center as leading a development boom. I do see it as addressing, or catching up to, a residential boom that has already occurred and is well-established. I’m not for overdevelopment of CR39, but I am for utilizing the commercial spaces there as efficiently as possible with viable businesses. This project was smart and sensitive in its design, providing 100 ft setbacks, green in its building, and had the community in its spirit, as it was designed to serve everyone. It would certainly set a new bar for any future re-development of dilapidated spaces or no-longer viable commercial spaces, of which there are plenty along that roadway.

I wasn’t making a threat that chain restaurants would come into Tuckahoe, I’m just saying, as-of-right, a developer would have the ability to put those types of businesses there, regardless of a CACs potential outcry. You can’t stop something that is already acceptable zoning-wise, right? I don’t want those things either, but to think in the extreme that that commercial property would one day be cleared for a park is also a fantasy.

This concept that we are “full” is interesting. Is there anywhere in the country, save for an island like Nantucket, where a community can legally say “no more”? Why then, do we have an empire zone in Flanders, a new business park in Westhampton, and other efforts that seek to attract more business here, which, in turn will bring more residents? It would be nice, I’ll agree, to believe that if we like the place as it is, we can shut the gates, but our legal, ethical, and democratic reality is that type of exclusivity isn’t likely to happen. The best you can do is slow it down, but by doing that you also reject things that go contrary to the community’s best interests. Maybe that’s what you mean by paying the price, but I don’t see that as a long-term or viable strategy. We should allow the smart things to develop, and try to keep out the stuff that doesn’t matter. The Tuckahoe Center, in my opinion, is a smart idea, and matters. We may disagree, but it’s not because I want to see the area paved over, it’s because I see it addressing a need that affects real people and while the other issues still exist, at least this one was going to do the most good.

BTW, I don’t buy into the over-heated traffic nonsense that is espoused here. Every time I see one of the commenters here shout “Traffic, Traffic, Traffic”, all I hear is “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” In other words, it’s whining with very little substance or quantitative factual analysis. Bigfresh, I’m thinking of you." Dec 31, 15 10:34 AM

Sandy Hollow Affordable Housing Lawsuit Dismissed By State Supreme Court Justice

Absolutely untrue. All of these types of projects are looked at on a case-by-case basis, and in this case, the town went with the benefits of providing affordable workforce housing, something we sorely need. There is no precedent-setting here, so your "sword of damocles" cry will get you no more than maybe a pie in the face (with a nod to Moe). " Jan 6, 16 11:03 AM

A PDD is looked at on a case-by-case basis. The potential applicant, before they even officially apply, needs to apprise the town board of its plan and needs to essentially be invited to submit. There is no precedent-setting, since if the town board in it's initial consideration doesn't think it's worthy, it can refuse to consider it, with absolutely no ramifications. I can agree with you that wanton and unrestrained PDD approvals would be a bad, bad thing, but this process I believe is set up to allow the town board to look at each potential project on its own merits, not because another project had been previously approved. The same type of project in another area might be totally inappropriate, for instance, in which case, even though one similar project already exists, the town board can, within its rights, deny a future one so that it avoids precedent. " Jan 6, 16 2:00 PM

UPDATE: Kenneth Yerves Died In Tuckahoe Accident

Traffic, traffic, traffic...Marsha, marsha marsha! Tuckahoe Center would not add to traffic in this area. " Jan 12, 16 11:01 PM

Sag Harbor Village Considering Eminent Domain For Ferry Road Property

This seems to be an ill-advised, short-sighted idea. Face it, the owners don't want to sell, and the Village has not made a strong enough case for why it is necessary, other than it would be simply be nice to have a park there. I get the sentiment, just don't see this idea being the way for the village to gain ownership. " Jan 14, 16 10:19 AM

UPDATE: Kenneth Yerves Died In Tuckahoe Accident

You know, I have commented many times before on the traffic fiction bigfresh and you peddle (see those other articles), but this really isn't the article to do it with. A medical emergency could have happened on any road, at any time, with similar consequences. I'm not commenting further on this one, hope you will do the same. " Jan 15, 16 8:53 AM

When It Comes To Sewers, Municipalities Look To Patchogue Village For Inspiration

Is anyone as troubled as I am by the Press's utilization of 5-story Patchogue apartment house photos as a lead in to their sewer-district story? Combine that with the subhead, "Patchogue Village offers a glimpse of the changes new sewers can bring", implying that large 5-story apartment complexes are potentially in Southampton Village's future if sewers are constructed. Yet, in the very same article, the reporter states that "Southampton’s zoning laws will prevent six-story structures". Mr. Editor, what's with that? Can't you just report on the pros and cons of the sewer proposal, an idea that has been around for many years, without dramatically projecting your own bias in an effort to sell a newspaper? I know it's February, but really?" Feb 4, 16 12:58 PM

Sag Harbor Village Receives Overall Positive Feedback On Local Laws

The crux of the issue, now that the swimming pool section and accessory structure calculation has been withdrawn, is that 8 percent figure. Comparing this percentage with what exists in current code (which would be 40 percent if you do the conversion from one code model to the new one), shows the heavy restrictions this code is actually placing on homeowners. People who believe the proposed number is too restrictive have said 11-15% is more appropriate and would do nothing in hurt the historic character of the village. A 13 percent figure would match what Southampton Village has. " Feb 4, 16 1:05 PM

When It Comes To Sewers, Municipalities Look To Patchogue Village For Inspiration

My point wasn't to be pro or con the sewer proposal, but to point out the obvious steering that the Press did with the photos. The article is actually well-written, and took a balanced approach to the story I thought. But the photo was a little tabloid, IMHO.

That said, and again, I am still watching as this develops to form an opinion one way or another, but the fact is that most of the septic systems in the business district are likely still 100- year old brick-lined cesspool systems, which are obsolete. Is there really any danger to going to a sewer system? I mean, the Romans even had sewer systems!

This fear of overdevelopment because of sewers is unfounded, given our local history, and that sends up a red flag that says to me the anti-sewer crowd may not be on the right side of this issue. It’s easy to say let’s not be Patchogue, but we would no more be Patchogue than Huntington, or Manhattan. Why not look to Sag Harbor, which has had a sewer system for a long time, and which does not have large new buildings proposed (clearly, other than the ones that have been there for many, many years)? They seem to be handling their issues in stride, and that community has a very strong preservation community.

I’m not convinced the rationale of overdevelopment is justifiable. Seems at the moment that the sewer system would solve a number of current and future problems." Feb 5, 16 9:28 AM

Sag Harbor School District Releases Information About Potential Stella Maris School Purchase

Sag Harbor SD should use their time more wisely, such as setting about doing a feasibility study on a merger with Bridgehampton SD. BH has the facilities and the land, and even in this same issue of the paper BHSD is talking about having to pierce their own tax cap this coming year, something they did just a year ago. It is such a misguided step for the school board to be thinking of expanding when there are 10 districts just east of the canal. Sag Harbor has just under 1000 students, BH has about 100. Sag Harbor taxpayers and students would benefit, and dare say, BH students would benefit. Lose the acquisition plan." Mar 4, 16 11:21 AM

Sag Harbor School District Reveals Stella Maris Survey Results

Not a smart or inspired idea to purchase this property. The district would be better-served funding a feasibility study about a merger with Bridgehampton, which has land and facilities. There are 10 districts just east of the canal, and whether it's your taxes, your children, or the health of the educational programs at these local undersized schools, we really have to peel back this financial wishful thinking and deal with the fact that the basis of operating a minimally financially viable school is by merging some of them into something that can operate efficiently, now, and long term. That the school board doesn't see this, or even float the issue is, in my opinion, missing a much bigger picture.
" Mar 25, 16 10:50 AM

Bridgehampton School Board Indicates It Will Pierce State Tax Cap

Bridgehampton should be focusing on doing a feasiblity study, in association with Sag Harbor School District, on the benefits of merging. Put Sagaponack SD in there as well. There is a base minimum cost for operating a school, and pretty soon every district out here (there are 10 just east of the canal) will be swamped in costs. The piercing of the tax cap is just a symptom, not the cure. Just as Sag Harbor SD should not be looking to purchase Stella Maris buildings, BH SD needs to look at that fact that it doesn't really have an enrollment to much longer justify its independent existence. But it will take frank talk, and that included tax talk, to get this rectified. Why does't the Press ever ask those questions?" Mar 31, 16 2:20 PM

If Blinking Light Program Is Successful, County Road 39 Could Get A New Underpass Instead Of Light

Very interesting. While the town/county planners are trying to figure out the mess that is CR 39, the Shinnecock club's long awaited push to close off Tuckahoe road (one of the most scenic public vistas we can enjoy) is now conveniently part of the solution. Nice try, but we've been watching the quiet clearing of an alternate route over the past few years, designed solely to get that beautiful ambling stretch closed off from the public for good. Just my opinion, but I'm not sure closing off this incredible view is in the public's interest, though it is clearly in the golf club's interest. " Apr 21, 16 9:30 AM

Who really cares about what traffic is like during a one-week, once in a decade or so event? Whatever happens that week traffic-wise, is particular to that unique event and not particularly relevant to long-term planning. " Apr 25, 16 1:46 PM

Tuckahoe School District Plans To Pierce The Cap

Time to put the merger plan back on the table. Maybe we can get it passed this time around before Southampton finds itself in a similar situation down the road. " Apr 27, 16 9:19 AM

As Rental Registry Begins In East Hampton, A Rush Of Applications

I have no quarrel with EH Town having a rental law. I do believe that the town's requirement to force homeowners, newspaper publishers, online services, and real estate agencies to post a government-issued number inside a real estate listing advertisement is wholly unconstitutional. Advertising is an expression of free speech, and a governmental body forcing all of those entities to attach a government-approved stamp (the registry number) to the ad or face monetary penalties ($1,500 per day?), is completely contrary to an understanding of free speech. In fact, the ONLY realistic reason why the Town wants it this way is that is gives it a cheap method of enforcement. I don't think trampling on free expression rights is the right way to go about it. I hope someone challenges EH Town in court sooner than later on this aspect of the law, something none of the other municipalities who have rental laws have adopted, nor one they should consider. It's a significant overreach of a local municipality." May 4, 16 12:15 PM

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