Recent Stories: Government

Star Staff
November 16, 2017
A yearlong moratorium on commercial development along Montauk Highway in Wainscott is likely to be extended for six months while planners hired by East Hampton Town finish a study of the hamlet.

East Hampton Town

Extend Wainscott Moratorium

A yearlong moratorium on commercial development along Montauk Highway in Wainscott is likely to be extended for six months while planners hired by East Hampton Town finish a study of the hamlet. The moratorium was set to expire on Nov. 30. The town board is expected to vote on the extension at its meeting tonight in Town Hall. The extension would also need Suffolk Planning Commission approval.

Marguerite Wolffsohn, the town planning director, said on Tuesday that a final draft of the hamlet study should be completed in January. It would then go to the town board for review and be the subject of a public hearing prior to adoption.

Christopher Walsh
November 16, 2017
Technical aspects and proximity to the Long Island Power Authority’s substation on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton make Beach Lane in Wainscott an excellent potential landing site for the transmission cable that would run from the proposed offshore South Fork Wind Farm, officials said.

Technical aspects and proximity to the Long Island Power Authority’s substation on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton make Beach Lane in Wainscott an excellent potential landing site for the transmission cable that would run from the proposed offshore South Fork Wind Farm, officials of Deepwater Wind told members of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee’s environmental subcommittee on Monday morning at Town Hall.

Some members of that committee were unconvinced, however, wondering aloud if other considerations led Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that seeks to develop the wind farm, to that conclusion. 

T.E. McMorrow
November 13, 2017
Town officials call for a hard look at whether a Spring house reconstruction should conform to modern environmental-protection setbacks.

A plan to tear down a house, build a new one, and replace a swimming pool on a small lot in the Lion Head Beach neighborhood in Springs has raised the question of to what extent the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals should try to bring projects into conformity with the wetlands provisions of the town code.

The proposal, which was before the board at a public hearing on Oct. 24, had raised enough interest in the Planning Department that two staff members took the unusual step of speaking at the hearing.

Joanne Pilgrim
November 9, 2017
A $77.7 million East Hampton Town operating budget for 2018 was adopted by the town board last Thursday after a hearing on the final proposal.

A $77.7 million East Hampton Town operating budget for 2018 was adopted by the town board last Thursday after a hearing on the final proposal. 

The budget reflects an approximately 3.6-percent increase in spending next year, which will result in slight tax rate increases. For those living in the town and outside its incorporated villages, the tax rates will rise by 1.4 percent; the increase in tax rates for village residents will be 1.5 percent. 

According to Len Bernard, the town budget officer, the rate increases will translate to a rise in tax bills for residents with a house assessed at $4,000, which is considered to have a $700,000 market value, of $17.12 outside of the villages and an increase of $6.96 for village residents.

Joanne Pilgrim
November 9, 2017
East Hampton Town will purchase a second property on Squaw Road in Springs, near Three Mile Harbor, after the town board held a hearing on the acquisition last Thursday night.

East Hampton Town will purchase a second property on Squaw Road in Springs, near Three Mile Harbor, after the town board held a hearing on the acquisition last Thursday night. The .62-acre lot, owned by Joseph Dragotta, will cost $455,000, which will come from the community preservation fund. 

David Buda, a Springs resident, spoke against the purchase. The property, in a one-acre residential zone, is “quite overpriced,” he said. Under zoning restrictions, asserted Mr. Buda, development is already restricted on much of the lot. “I think it is a poor use of C.P.F. funds,” he said. 

Joanne Pilgrim
November 9, 2017
A new historic preservation program that would give landmark status to and impose restrictions on a handful of houses throughout East Hampton Town was the subject of discussion during public hearings at Town Hall last Thursday night.

A new historic preservation program that would give landmark status to and impose restrictions on a handful of houses throughout East Hampton Town was the subject of discussion during public hearings at Town Hall last Thursday night. The houses under consideration are seen as well-preserved examples of their time periods. 

Christopher Walsh
November 9, 2017
A discussion on Nov. 1 of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, hosted by the East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee, was blown off course.

A discussion on Nov. 1 of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, hosted by the East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee, was blown off course. 

The three-hour meeting at Scoville Hall in Amagansett was largely devoted to a presentation by Michael McDonald of the East End Resilience Network. While Mr. McDonald praised Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that hopes to build the 15-turbine wind farm approximately 30 miles off Montauk, he was harshly critical of the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island, which manages the grid for LIPA. 

Taylor K. Vecsey
November 9, 2017
Julie R. Lofstad and Thomas John Schiavoni, won two open town board seats, ousting Stan Glinka, the Republican incumbent.

Once the votes were counted Tuesday night, Jay Schneiderman had not only won another term as Southampton Town supervisor, but his party’s majority on the town board had gained strength.

Mr. Schneiderman’s Democratic running mates, Julie R. Lofstad and Thomas John Schiavoni, won two open town board seats, ousting Stan Glinka, the Republican incumbent. The victors will join Councilman John Bouvier, a Democrat, leaving Councilwoman Christine Scalera the lone Republican town board member.

Taylor K. Vecsey
November 9, 2017
Timothy D. Sini, a 37-year-old Demo­crat serving as the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, handily won the race for Suffolk District Attorney Tuesday night, and said he would prepare quickly to take over an office marred by political scandal in the wake of federal charges brought last month against Thomas Spota, the longtime sitting D.A., and his top aide.

Timothy D. Sini, a 37-year-old Demo­crat serving as the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, handily won the race for Suffolk district attorney Tuesday night, and said he would prepare quickly to take over an office marred by political scandal in the wake of federal charges brought last month against Thomas Spota, the longtime sitting D.A., and his top aide.

Mr. Sini won 62 percent of the vote over Raymond Perini, a Republican. Christopher Garvey, who ran on the Libertarian ticket, received 1 percent.

Christopher Walsh
November 9, 2017
High hopes for the Republicans’ slate of candidates for town trustee were also dashed as Democratic incumbents and first-time candidates alike posted surprisingly strong vote totals.

The “cautiously optimistic” stance voiced by Manny Vilar early Tuesday night yielded to disappointment as the Republican candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor and his running mates, Paul Giardina and Gerard Larsen, watched their vote totals fall far behind those of their opponents, Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, who was elected supervisor, and Councilwoman Kathee-Burke Gonzalez and Jeff Bragman, who will join him on the town board. 

T.E. McMorrow
November 2, 2017
Although East Hampton Town Planning Board opinion was divided, it appeared likely that AT&T will not be able to install antennas on the wind turbine on Iacono Farm on Long Lane.

Although East Hampton Town Planning Board opinion was divided, it appeared likely that AT&T will not be able to install antennas on the wind turbine on Iacono Farm on Long Lane. A final environmental impact statement prepared by the town’s Planning Department was discussed at the board’s Oct. 25 meeting, with four members of the seven-member board — the chairman, Job Potter, and Patti Leber, Kathleen Cunningham, and Randy Parsons — against the proposal. 

Christopher Walsh
November 2, 2017
Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same? This is the first of three questions that will be put to New York State voters on Tuesday, appearing on the flip side of the election ballots.

Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?

This is the first of three questions that will be put to New York State voters on Tuesday, appearing on the flip side of the election ballots. 

The State Constitution requires that every 20 years voters decide if a convention should be held to amend it. If a majority votes no on Tuesday, there will be no convention. If the yeas prevail, three delegates from each senatorial district will be elected in November 2018, along with 15 at-large delegates who will be elected statewide. The delegates would convene in Albany in April 2019. 

Christopher Walsh
November 2, 2017
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced that he supports Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s move to file a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ground-level ozone (or smog) pollution that blows into New York from upwind states.

New York State

Thiele Supports Intent to Sue E.P.A. 

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced that he supports Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s move to file a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the federal Clean Air Act by failing to curb ground-level ozone (or smog) pollution that blows into New York from upwind states. 

David E. Rattray
November 2, 2017
An anonymous limited-liability company backed by wealthy homeowners who take helicopters to and from East Hampton has contributed half of all money raised by Republicans in their bid to gain control of Town Hall.

On the eve of an important local election, the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee and its candidates held a fund-raising edge over the Republicans. This was despite almost $75,000 in late donations to the East Hampton Town Republican Committee from a mystery group linked to the town airport.

According to reports filed with the New York Board of Elections, the Republican committee brought in just over $52,000 between Oct. 3 and 23, nearly all of it from a single source. The top-dollar donor was the same contributor that gave the committee $24,970 in September, GNYG, a limited-liability company with a Midtown Manhattan office building address. It donated $25,000 to the Republican committee on Oct. 10 and $24,940 on Oct. 16.

Star Staff
November 2, 2017
The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee will host a campaign rally with food, live music, and drinks on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the East Hampton Neighborhood House on Three Mile Harbor Road.

Giardina Proposes Business Incubator

Paul Giardina, a Republican candidate for East Hampton Town Board, has proposed an incubator for the growth of retail and services businesses that he has dubbed the Paumanok Center for Innovation.  

The center, Mr. Giardina said in a release, would be an employment engine and alternative business model that would further the town’s reputation as a magnet for investment. Priority would be given to products and services that are made or sourced here, or depend on traditional skills and crafts of the East End and Suffolk County. The intended beneficiaries are those with family roots or significant experience living on Long Island, he said. 

Joanne Pilgrim
November 2, 2017
Tests of water from Wainscott residents’ wells for the presence of two toxic compounds linked to health problems continued this week under the auspices of the county and state Health Departments.

Tests of water from Wainscott residents’ wells for the presence of two toxic compounds linked to health problems continued this week under the auspices of the county and state Health  Departments. The agencies are screening for the presence of perfluorinated chemicals in wells near the industrial areas where the chemicals, called PFCs, had been used.

Taylor K. Vecsey
November 2, 2017
Jay Schneiderman is hoping for a second term as Southampton Town supervisor, saying there is a long list of his accomplishments, while Ray Overton, who was tapped by the Southampton Town Republican Committee to run for the top spot, is pointing to infrastructure quality and spending.

Jay Schneiderman is hoping for a second term as Southampton Town supervisor, saying there is a long list of his accomplishments, while Ray Overton, who was tapped by the Southampton Town Republican Committee to run for the top spot, is pointing to infrastructure quality and spending. 

Mr. Overton, a former town trustee, is not closely related to Fred Overton, an East Hampton Town Board member. “I think there are a lot of people who are disappointed in the supervisor,” he said in a recent interview. “I think there are a lot of people who feel he is nothing but a politician.” 

Christopher Walsh
Joanne Pilgrim
David E. Rattray
November 2, 2017
Tuesday may be an off-year Election Day as far as national and New York State elections are concerned, but for Long Island’s townships the stakes are high.

Tuesday may be an off-year Election Day as far as national and New York State elections are concerned, but for Long Island’s townships the stakes are high.

In East Hampton and Southampton there are competitive races for town board and supervisor, and several important county positions are in play as well. 

East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc hopes to follow Larry Cantwell as supervisor. Mr. Cantwell is not seeking re-election after four years in the post and plans to retire from public life. East Hampton Town Councilman Fred Overton is also not seeking re-election.

Taylor K. Vecsey
November 2, 2017
In addition to the supervisor’s race, Southampton voters are contemplating other contests, with two seats open on the town board and two incumbents hoping to hang on to their positions.

In addition to the supervisor’s race, Southampton voters are contemplating other contests, with two seats open on the town board and two incumbents hoping to hang on to their positions. 

Councilman Stan Glinka, a Republican, and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, a Democrat, are the incumbent town board members. Joining Mr. Glinka on the Republican ticket is Thea Dombrowski-Fry, a newcomer who is a teaching assistant in the Southampton School District. Ms. Lofstad’s running mate is Tommy John Schiavoni, a teacher who is on the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and the Sag Harbor School Board. Town board members serve four-year terms.

T.E. McMorrow
November 2, 2017
The Farrell Building Company’s plan to build an eight-bedroom, 4,627-square-foot house in the middle of Ditch Plain, a Montauk neighborhood known for its small lots and modest homes, has two neighbors seeing red.

The Farrell Building Company’s plan to build an eight-bedroom, 4,627-square-foot house in the middle of Ditch Plain, a Montauk neighborhood known for its small lots and modest homes, has two neighbors seeing red.

The one-acre-plus property, at the dogleg corner of Caswell Road and Agnew Avenue, is one of the last undeveloped tracts in the Ditch neighborhood. In addition to the house, Farrell proposes to construct a 647-square-foot swimming pool and a small detached garage. Because the lot contains substantial wetlands — some 4,785 square feet — Farrell needs a special permit from the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, which held a public hearing on the plan on Oct. 24. 

T.E. McMorrow
October 26, 2017
Timothy Sini, the Democratic, Conservative, Working Families, and Independence candidate, and Ray Perini, who will appear on the Republican and Reform Party lines, each hope to be elected to replace Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.

For the first time in a long time, voters will elect someone to be the Suffolk County district attorney who is not named Thomas Spota. Mr. Spota, who is 76, decided not to run this year, after winning four consecutive elections, beginning in 2001. Timothy Sini is on the Democratic, Conservative, Working Families, and Independence lines; Ray Perini is the Republican and Reform Party candidate. 

Mr. Spota’s office has come under fire in the last few years, particularly after the conviction last year of James Burke, the Suffolk police chief, on multiple charges stemming from the beating of a suspect due to a personal vendetta. Mr. Spota had mentored the police chief for many years.

Christopher Walsh
October 26, 2017
The East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee is interested in the cost to Long Island ratepayers if a proposed offshore wind farm is built.

The East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee, which has served as an unofficial liaison between residents and Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that plans to build an offshore wind farm some 36 miles from Montauk, will hold its next meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. 

Rick Drew, a trustee and co-chairman of the committee, said at the trustees’ meeting on Monday that one topic will be the proposed South Fork Wind Farm’s cost to the community, including the cost to customers of PSEG Long Island, which has signed a contract to purchase electricity from Deepwater Wind. 

Taylor K. Vecsey
October 26, 2017
Lawrence M. Zacarese, an assistant chief of the Stony Brook University police, and Errol Toulon Jr., a former New York City deputy corrections commissioner, are vying for the position in what has shaped up to be one of the most lively county races of the year.

Without doubt, Suffolk County will have a new sheriff regardless of the outcome of November’s election. Lawrence M. Zacarese, an assistant chief of the Stony Brook University police, and Errol Toulon Jr., a former New York City deputy corrections commissioner, are vying for the position in what has shaped up to be one of the most lively county races of the year.

Mr. Toulon is the first African-American to be nominated for sheriff or any other major county office, such as executive, clerk, or district attorney. (DuWayne Gregory became the first person of color to be elected as presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature in 2014.)

Joanne Pilgrim
October 26, 2017
East Hampton taxpayers will be able to force a vote on accepting money from the Federal Aviation Administration, which imposes rules on how airports, such as East Hampton's, must function as a condition of funding.

Thanks to a new state law, East Hampton taxpayers will have the right to force a vote on whether the town should accept money for East Hampton Airport from the Federal Aviation Administration, which imposes rules on how airports function as a condition of providing funding.

Questions regarding whether to take F.A.A. grants have long been central to community discussion. The current policy is to decline further F.A.A. money as the restrictions related to prior grants expire. The policy is intended to allow more local control over the airport and reduce aircraft noise.