Infrastructure Follows Growth

A massive water cistern planned for the Amagansett woods has the potential neighbors upset. This is understandable, as the 900,000-gallon reservoir would be built above ground on a Suffolk County Water Authority well site only a short distance from the road. The water authority said it would paint the 30-foot-tall tank a pleasing shade of green in the hope that it would blend in with its surroundings. But the woods are a leafless gray half the year and deer have eaten away what would have been a cloaking understory. 

We sympathize with the residents of this part of Amagansett who do not want huge, unsightly infrastructure in their backyards. But the project points to a much greater concern about growth; the demand for services, whether water, electricity, or waste removal, rises along with the population. Town leaders and those in the nearby villages of Sag Harbor and East Hampton have failed to take action to slow, if not halt, development. More people means more services are needed, and things like the hulking water tank proposed for the Devon Colony area become all the more inevitable.

Few residents take a broad enough view to call for population limits, but that does not excuse local officials from neglecting to think beyond the next election. The natural and spatial resources of the South Fork are finite. Sure, we might build out every square inch, but the costs of doing so, as we are seeing already, are significant. The Devon reservoir is just a symptom of a much larger problem.