Government Briefs 08.04.11

East Hampton Town
Fort Pond Suit Will Proceed
    A lawsuit against East Hampton Town challenging the proposed sale of the Fort Pond House property in Montauk is scheduled to proceed after State Supreme Court Justice William B. Rebolini struck down a motion by the town to dismiss the case for the second time.
    The lawsuit brought by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Third House Nature Center, and two individuals involved in community groups, Edward Johann and Roger Feit, claims that the town violated the public trust doctrine, which requires authorization from the New York State Legislature when selling off public parkland.
    The 3.9-acre waterfront property was put on the market last year for $2 million, after a split vote of the town board, with the Republican majority presiding, prompting a public outcry against the sale. The site was subsequently closed to the public after an inspection by town officials resulted in a list of safety and maintenance issues.        

Federal Support for Small Farms
    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced legislation last week to form a competitive grant program to help community-supported agriculture.
    The senator’s Community Supported Agriculture Promotion Act would offer federal grant money to nonprofit organizations, extension services, and state and local government agencies “to provide grower support ranging from marketing and business assistance to crop development” to new or existing community-supported agriculture farmers. It would also assist them in developing “innovative delivery and distribution programs,” according to a release from the senator’s office.
    Preference would be given to projects that work with family farms, that expand community-supported agriculture’s reach to low-income people who don’t have access to fresh food, or that employ veterans.
    Generally members of C.S.A.s pay an up-front fee at the beginning of the growing season and then receive a share of the farm’s produce harvest weekly throughout the season.
    According to the release, there are more than 12,000 C.S.A.s in the country and about 350 in New York State. Among them are two in Amagansett, the Amber Waves Farm and the Quail Hill Farm. The senator will be at Quail Hill on Sunday morning to talk to farm members about her work on the Farm Bill, national nutrition policy, and farmers markets, among other things.