Tuesday’s East Hampton Town Board work session marked a welcome shift in the way discussions with the public at such meetings have been going.
The subject was the possibility of establishing a new bathing beach with 100 parking spaces on town-owned land off Dolphin Drive on Napeague. Unlike some proposals, which have emerged fully formed from Town Hall’s inner sanctum, this is a very, very preliminary proposal. Faced with the need for more access to ocean beaches, the town board has revived an idea for a protected beach, with lifeguards and toilets, which would take some of the pressure off existing beaches.
Members of a nearby homeowners’ association and others expressed their concerns, including one environmental advocate who saw problems ahead. Instead of being greeted with the usual bluster and defensiveness by elected officials, those attending were allowed to make their points.
The chances for a new beach may be low, given opposition and the supposed difficulty of obtaining certain state approvals. Nonetheless, the tone of Tuesday’s discussion was exemplary. Certainly, with the town election only about four weeks away, board members were likely to be on their best behavior. This example of civility, however, of an honest give-and-take, should be allowed to continue beyond Nov. 8.