Recent Stories: Government

Jamie Bufalino
February 15, 2018
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has introduced legislation to help make housing more affordable for low and moderate-income residents of East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead, and Southold by establishing a fund to provide loans to first-time homebuyers.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has introduced legislation to help make housing more affordable for low and moderate-income residents of East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead, and Southold by establishing a fund to provide loans to first-time homebuyers.

Money for the fund would be generated by adding a half-percent surcharge to the region’s real estate transfer tax — the same levy that currently replenishes the community preservation fund. Houses valued at $1 million or less on the South Fork and Shelter Island would be exempt from the tax, and those valued at $750,000 or less would be exempt on the North Fork.

Christopher Walsh
February 15, 2018
Drawings and specific details for the construction of a new senior citizens center were revealed at an East Hampton Town Board work session on Tuesday by Drazen Cackovic of the DCAK-MSA architecture and engineering firm.

Drawings and specific details for the construction of a new senior citizens center were revealed at an East Hampton Town Board work session on Tuesday by Drazen Cackovic of the DCAK-MSA architecture and engineering firm.

In a PowerPoint presentation, he described a significantly larger facility than the existing one, on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, which has housed the senior citizens center for more than three decades. The century-old building, once a watering hole called the Cottage Inn, is to be demolished and a trailer removed from the two-acre site.

Christopher Walsh
February 15, 2018
Two months after Deepwater Wind offered the East Hampton Town Board a community-benefits package in exchange for the easements it will need to land a cable from its proposed South Fork Wind Farm and bury it along a route to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton, the town trustees offered a counterproposal that seeks significantly more.

Two months after Deepwater Wind offered the East Hampton Town Board a community-benefits package in exchange for the easements it will need to land a cable from its proposed South Fork Wind Farm and bury it along a route to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton, the town trustees offered a counterproposal that seeks significantly more. 

The offshore wind farm developer, which built and operates the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s first, has offered to pay for burial of the overhead utility lines along its transmission cable’s proposed path in Wainscott, an area designated by the town and state as scenic. It has also 

Christopher Walsh
February 8, 2018
Consultants engaged by the town board to conduct studies and make recommendations for the commercial districts of Wainscott, East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett, and the downtown and harbor areas of Montauk proposed dramatic changes for Montauk, including a coastal retreat in the face of sea level rise.

Connectivity and resiliency were the buzzwords in a presentation of updated hamlet-study plans that drew a capacity crowd to East Hampton Town Hall on Tuesday, with an overarching message that future development and redevelopment, consistently adhering to a coherent master plan, represent an opportunity to create a town that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The consultants engaged by the town board to conduct studies and make recommendations for the commercial districts of Wainscott, East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett, and the downtown and harbor areas of Montauk proposed dramatic changes for Montauk, including a coastal retreat in the face of sea level rise. 

Star Staff
February 8, 2018

Zeldin Challengers Meet Tuesday

Perry Gershon and Brendon Henry, two of the Democrats hoping to unseat Representative Lee Zeldin in November, will share their views at a forum on Tuesday in Bridgehampton. The third and final forum in a series sponsored by Progressive East End Reformers, it will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Bridgehampton National Bank.

Mr. Gershon, who lives in East Hampton, was one of the first Zeldin challengers to declare his candidacy. A businessman with a background in commercial real estate, he has noted that he has a considerable war chest. Mr. Henry, who hails from Center Moriches, is a bartender who studied political science. 

Christopher Walsh
February 8, 2018
The East Hampton Town Board approved a management and stewardship plan for properties acquired with the community preservation fund at its meeting last Thursday, a plan that includes an estimated $850,000 for the restoration of studios on Neck Path in Springs.

The East Hampton Town Board approved a management and stewardship plan for properties acquired with the community preservation fund at its meeting last Thursday, a plan that includes an estimated $850,000 for the restoration of studios on Neck Path in Springs that once belonged to the Abstract Expressionist painters James Brooks and Charlotte Park. 

Also in this year’s management and stewardship plan are the demolition of the barn that was built on otherwise vacant property at 555 Montauk Highway in Amagansett as well as the former Star Room nightclub in Wainscott. 

Christopher Walsh
February 1, 2018
Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who bought a house in East Hampton last year, object to a house and swimming pool planned on an adjacent property that their attorney says will block their view of the preserved field that both properties abut.

Add this to Jay-Z’s 99 problems. 

The rapper and businessman, whose 2004 song by the same name was ranked number two in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 songs of the 2000s, was recently targeted by President Trump on Twitter; he left Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony empty-handed despite eight nominations, and he and his wife, the singer Beyoncé Knowles, publicly acknowledged marital discord on their respective albums “4:44” and “Lemonade.” 

Christopher Walsh
February 1, 2018
An outcry over implementation of Suffolk County’s Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Gardiner’s Bay and Peconic Bay, in which parcels are leased for private, commercial shellfish cultivation, is getting louder.

An outcry over implementation of Suffolk County’s Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program in Gardiner’s Bay and Peconic Bay, in which parcels are leased for private, commercial shellfish cultivation, is getting louder. 

Jamie Bufalino
February 1, 2018
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman attended the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday evening to further his campaign to obtain an historic designation for the hamlet’s business district.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman attended the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday evening to further his campaign to obtain an historic designation for the hamlet’s business district. 

“I want to work with you at making this happen,” Mr. Schneiderman told the large turnout of residents assembled in a conference room at the Bridgehampton National Bank. 

Mr. Schneiderman made the case that the designation — whether achieved through local measures or by getting the district listed on the state and national registers of historic places — would help protect the integrity of Bridgehampton and, therefore, be good for both businesses and homeowners.

T.E. McMorrow
January 25, 2018
The telecommunications giant AT&T has launched a lawsuit in federal court after being denied in a bid to install cell phone antenna panels on a lattice windmill at Iacono Farm on Long Lane.

The telecommunications giant AT&T has launched a federal lawsuit against the Town of East Hampton, as well as its planning and architectural review boards and its Building Department, after being denied site plan approval for a proposal to install flat antenna panels on the lattice windmill at Iacono Farm on Long Lane in East Hampton. The suit, which was filed Jan. 12, contends that the town broke federal law when the planning board voted to deny the application.

The plaintiff, nominally, in the case is Cingular Wireless, which is wholly owned by AT&T. The case has been assigned to Senior United States District Judge Leonard D. Wexler, seated in the federal courthouse in Central Islip. 

Christopher Walsh
January 25, 2018
Officials and environmental organizations plan to present a unified front against the Trump administration’s plan to open most federal waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling.

Representative Lee Zeldin, state and municipal officials, environmental organizations, and business leaders will hold a press conference Friday at 10 a.m. at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, where they plan to present a unified front against the Trump administration’s plan to open most federal waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling, including the Atlantic Ocean’s outer continental shelf.

Christopher Walsh
January 25, 2018
The East Hampton Town Board has voted to approve the lease of a town-owned parcel on Pantigo Place in East Hampton for the construction of an emergency care facility.

The East Hampton Town Board has voted to approve the lease of a town-owned parcel on Pantigo Place in East Hampton for the construction of an emergency care facility. 

Having been urged by various officials at a public hearing last Thursday to do so — including the mayor of East Hampton Village, the chief of the Montauk Fire Department, and the chairman of the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation — the board voted to approve the lease at a meeting later that day.

The Southampton Hospital Association, which will build and operate the facility, will sign a 50-year lease for 40 Pantigo Place at a cost of $20 per year and hold an option for a 25-year extension and, upon its completion, an additional 24-year extension. 

T.E. McMorrow
January 25, 2018
A barn on farmland owned by the Peconic Land Trust in Amagansett is the focus of litigation against the Suffolk County Farmland Committee, which gave the approval to build it in 2016.

A 5,888-square-foot barn on an over-10-acre piece of farmland owned by the Peconic Land Trust on Town Lane and Abraham’s Path in Amagansett was the subject of a public hearing by the East Hampton Town Planning Board on Jan. 10, although it is the focus of litigation against the Suffolk County Farmland Committee, which gave the trust approval to build the barn in 2016. 

Christopher Walsh
January 25, 2018
Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require the Long Island Power Authority’s board of trustees to protect the economic interests of its ratepayers when proposing rate increases.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle introduced state legislation last Thursday that would require the Long Island Power Authority’s board of trustees “to protect the economic interests of its ratepayers and the service area” when proposing rate increases. An amended Long Island Power Authority Rate Reform Act also would prohibit LIPA from increasing rates to offset revenue losses due to ratepayer energy conservation efforts. 

In 2015, LIPA’s board approved the largest rate increase in the utility’s history. The three-year increase, implemented between 2016 and 2018, resulted in a cumulative 7.3-percent increase in the delivery portion of LIPA bills and raised more than $287 million in new revenue. 

Christopher Walsh
January 25, 2018
As a deadline looms for the submission of applications to federal and state agencies, Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company seeking to construct a 15-turbine wind farm approximately 36 miles east of Montauk, is facing headwinds from commercial fishermen and their representatives.

As a deadline looms for the submission of applications to federal and state agencies, Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company seeking to construct a 15-turbine wind farm approximately 36 miles east of Montauk, is facing headwinds from commercial fishermen and their representatives, who are concerned that the installation could disrupt the industry and threaten marine life, habitats, or migration patterns. 

T.E. McMorrow
January 18, 2018
The East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals gave the green light to plans by the Montauk Historical Society to adorn with cellphone antennas the concrete fire control tower that sits next to the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

At its meeting on Jan. 9, the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals gave the green light to plans by the Montauk Historical Society to adorn with cellphone antennas the concrete fire control tower that sits next to the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

The society now needs to get final site plan approval from the town’s planning board to move ahead with the project, which calls for AT&T to install three sets of three flat cellphone antenna panels on three of the four sides of the tower, which was built by the Army in 1942, next to the iconic lighthouse. A global positioning system will be set up at the top of the tower, and all electrical components of the project will be installed inside it.

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that plans to construct the South Fork Wind Farm approximately 36 miles east of Montauk, has asked East Hampton Town for easements allowing it to land the offshore installation’s transmission cable at Beach Lane in Wainscott.

Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that plans to construct the South Fork Wind Farm approximately 36 miles east of Montauk, has asked East Hampton Town for easements allowing it to land the offshore installation’s transmission cable at Beach Lane in Wainscott.

During a presentation before the town board on Tuesday, officials from the company, which built and operates the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, presented the most extensive survey data to date with respect to that offshore installation. It will deliver those data, and to-date analyses of the area of its proposed South Fork Wind Farm, to the East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. 

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
An overflow crowd in Southampton on Monday heard from six people who hope to be the Democratic Party candidate to challenge Representative Lee Zeldin in the fall.

Almost an hour passed before Representative Lee Zeldin’s name was uttered at a forum featuring six candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination to oppose him on Saturday, but once it did, he was roundly criticized as a rubber stamp for President Trump’s policies, particularly with respect to immigration.  

The forum, hosted by the Southampton Progressive Caucus, drew an overflow crowd to Chancellors Hall at the State University’s Stony Brook Southampton campus. It also featured an activist fair with groups including the East End Action Network, Indivisible North Fork, Let’s Visit Lee Zeldin, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Progressive East End Reformers, and the Southampton Town Democratic Committee. 

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
A new building in a consolidated campus for East Hampton Town’s public offices took a step forward on Tuesday with a presentation to the town board by architects from L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven.

A new building in a consolidated campus for East Hampton Town’s public offices took a step forward on Tuesday with a presentation to the town board by architects from L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven.

The new building, likened to three potato barns connected by atriums made of aluminum storefront framing and glass, would be the principal structure on the Pantigo Road property, while the current Town Hall would remain intact. 

The project calls for the demolition of the former Town Hall, which has been vacant for some time, expanded parking, and new lighting and landscaping. The cost is estimated to be $8.5 million. 

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
There is a growing movement for states to bypass the federal government and enact policies consistent with the Paris Accord, under which nations pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of limiting an increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Climate change activists have ample reason to despair in 2018, as President Trump has mocked and denied the phenomenon that an overwhelming majority of climate scientists have concluded is a real and urgent threat to civilization. More than 700 people have left the federal Environmental Protection Agency since the president took office, The New York Times reported last month, and most are not being replaced. 

Under Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A.’s administrator, the agency began to dismantle its climate change website last spring and announced a repeal of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Also last spring, the president announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Star Staff
January 18, 2018
Seven Suffolk County legislators, including the Legislature’s presiding officer and deputy presiding officer, wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Friday to express opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to open the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration and drilling.

Seven Suffolk County legislators and the Legislature’s presiding officer and deputy presiding officer wrote to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Friday to express opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to open the outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration and drilling. 

Bridget Fleming, who represents the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton as well as Shelter Island and parts of East Moriches and Eastport, was among the signatories of the letter. It noted that more than 98 percent of the outer continental shelf includes a region encompassing the county.

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
A federal district court judge has ruled that a lawsuit by environmentalists over the government’s handling of the potential sale of Plum Island can go forward

A federal district court judge has ruled that a lawsuit by environmentalists over the government’s handling of the potential sale of Plum Island can go forward.

Judge Denis Hurley of the Eastern District of New York ruled on Thursday that the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound and six other organizations have standing to sue the Department of Homeland Security and the General Services Administration over their plan to auction the island to the highest bidder.

The federal government has owned Plum Island since 1899. It has been used as a research laboratory since World War II, and a variety of infectious animal-borne diseases has been studied there since 1954.

Jamie Bufalino
January 18, 2018
At last week’s East Hampton Village Board meeting, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. declared that the “handwriting is on the wall” regarding the likelihood of legislation to rein in the use of leaf blowers.

At last week’s East Hampton Village Board meeting, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. declared that the “handwriting is on the wall” regarding the likelihood of legislation to rein in the use of leaf blowers. The meeting, which drew a large au­­­­dience of landscapers, some of whom expressed their displeasure at the possibility of a leaf blower ban, was a skirmish in what could be a protracted battle between the village and a prominent sector of the East End business community.

Christopher Walsh
January 18, 2018
The East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals will meet only one time a month, down from twice monthly.

Because of what the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals and the village board consider the growing complexity of applications that require lengthy review by multiple officials and departments, a decision has been made for it to meet once a month instead of twice. The reduced schedule was announced at the board’s meeting on Friday. 

The zoning board met on the second and fourth Friday of every month; it will now meet only on the second Friday. The village board, Frank Newbold, the zoning board’s chairman, said, made the change. Although board members apparently are satisfied with it, an attorney who appears before the board frequently argued against it.