A Lawsuit, Just in Case

The Cedar Street Committee, led by Jeffrey Bragman, an attorney currently running for town board, has filed a lawsuit against the East Hampton School District, challenging the findings of an environmental impact study of school-owned property on Cedar Street, carried out under the State Environment Quality Review Act, or SEQRA. The study was paid for by the school and performed in April, at which time the school was considering building a bus depot on the street. That plan has since been set aside, with a parcel on Springs-Fireplace Road emerging as the front-runner.

“We have been served papers,” Rich Burns, the school’s superintendent, announced during last week’s board meeting. “It’s a request for judicial intervention. We are in a lawsuit.”

According to Mr. Bragman, the suit was filed because, “We felt it was prudent to make this challenge in the event that the Cedar Street property resurfaces as the building site.” However, he said, it is unlikely that the Cedar Street Committee will follow through with the lawsuit, as the school appears to be moving forward with the purchase of the Springs-Fireplace Road property. With a statute of limitations looming, Mr. Bragman explained, if they did not file, they would lose the right to do so in the future. It serves as a precaution, he said.

Board members were visibly surprised by the news. “Now,” said Christina DeSanti, the board’s vice president, “taxpayers will have to pay for legal fees.”

The next board meeting will be on Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. The board is expected to make its declaration regarding the mandated environmental impact study of the Springs-Fireplace Road property. V.H.B., the engineering and planning company that carried out the review, did not indicate the need for additional studies to be performed; they found that building the bus depot on the site would not have a negative environmental impact. However, the board felt it was in their best interest to commission a geophysical survey to uncover any potential buried hazards at the onetime scavenger waste site, which is owned by East Hampton Town. The geophysical survey was carried out earlier this week, and the results should be available by the next board meeting.