Phil Gamble Bows Out

Philip Gamble
Philip Gamble has left the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals after serving on it for 32 years. Heather Dubin

    After serving on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals for 32 years and as its chairman for 12, Philip Gamble is ready for a vacation.
    Mr. Gamble’s service to the town was recognized at a Z.B.A. meeting Tuesday, during which he acted as chair for what undoubtedly was the last time, filling in for Alex Walter, who, although he could not be at the meeting, was appointed chairman that night. Before doing so, Mr. Gamble sat down for an interview.
    Mr. Gamble was appointed to the Z.B.A. in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of James Cuomo of Amagansett. “Time to me, it just goes so fast, you don’t record things that start and stop.”
    “I was captain of the [Amagansett Fire Department] ambulance corps, and I said if it doesn’t interfere, I can do it,” he said. “I want to have the ability to think on my own, and not be dictated to,” Mr. Gamble said. He was told that would never happen, and it didn’t, he said.
    Mr. Gamble said the Z.B.A.’s role was more involved now. “. . .Throughout the years they changed the way natural resources are evaluated, and most of the properties are built upon. Now in the front of the board as a rule there are more wetlands, and resources. . . ,” he said. “The people buying them have the ability to put money into the properties to get what they want.”
    Mr. Gamble’s dedication to the board stems from his love for East Hampton and the water. Originally from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, he moved here in 1961 after serving in the Navy. He worked on a Montauk fishing boat before getting married, changing careers, and eventually founding an Amagansett plumbing business, Phil Gamble and Son. He said the knowledge he had gained from his vocations had served him well.
    “If the town didn’t have zoning, it would be similar to what you see UpIsland. If you want to drive and see the water you can’t because there are all sorts of buildings up. You can’t walk to the beach; there’s no access,” he said.
    Commenting on how the Z.B.A. works, he said, “Nobody has any more power than each individual, which is, I think, the proper way to do it. The chairman doesn’t have any more votes than a member.” 
    “What happens now, I have people I knew through the years, the attorneys, people who live in the town, and you grow relationships. I’ll still visit people and say hello. I’ve been scheduling my vacations around the zoning board; this time I’m not going to worry about the zoning board.”
    Nevertheless, Mr. Gamble said he would miss the Z.B.A. and may find himself “watching television and hollering at it.” However, he said he had confidence in the Z.B.A.’s future. “Despite all that’s put against us, I think we’re leaving the board in capable hands by retaining Lee White and putting Alex as the chair.” Mr. White has been reappointed to the board, filling the unexpired two years of Mr. Gamble’s term.
    As the town board’s liaison to the Z.B.A., Councilman Dominick Stan­zione presented Mr. Gamble with a  proclamation at Tuesday’s meeting.
    “On behalf of the community, it is with regret that we hear of your desire to resign. Retire happy, relieve yourself of the burden of public service, which you have wonderfully given our community.”
    Mr. Stanzione expressed the town’s gratitude. “You’ve been an inspiration to so many people over so many years. Elderly men and women remember you. Public service for nearly half a century, there’s no way we can adequately say thank you.” By Heather Dubin
    After serving on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals for 32 years and as its chairman for 12, Philip Gamble is ready for a vacation.
    Mr. Gamble’s service to the town was recognized at a Z.B.A. meeting Tuesday, during which he acted as chair for what undoubtedly was the last time, filling in for Alex Walter, who, although he could not be at the meeting, was appointed chairman that night. Before doing so, Mr. Gamble sat down for an interview.
    Mr. Gamble was appointed to the Z.B.A. in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of James Cuomo of Amagansett. “Time to me, it just goes so fast, you don’t record things that start and stop.”
    “I was captain of the [Amagansett Fire Department] ambulance corps, and I said if it doesn’t interfere, I can do it,” he said. “I want to have the ability to think on my own, and not be dictated to,” Mr. Gamble said. He was told that would never happen, and it didn’t, he said.
    Mr. Gamble said the Z.B.A.’s role was more involved now. “. . .Throughout the years they changed the way natural resources are evaluated, and most of the properties are built upon. Now in the front of the board as a rule there are more wetlands, and resources. . . ,” he said. “The people buying them have the ability to put money into the properties to get what they want.”
    Mr. Gamble’s dedication to the board stems from his love for East Hampton and the water. Originally from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, he moved here in 1961 after serving in the Navy. He worked on a Montauk fishing boat before getting married, changing careers, and eventually founding an Amagansett plumbing business, Phil Gamble and Son. He said the knowledge he had gained from his vocations had served him well.
    “If the town didn’t have zoning, it would be similar to what you see UpIsland. If you want to drive and see the water you can’t because there are all sorts of buildings up. You can’t walk to the beach; there’s no access,” he said.
    Commenting on how the Z.B.A. works, he said, “Nobody has any more power than each individual, which is, I think, the proper way to do it. The chairman doesn’t have any more votes than a member.” 
    “What happens now, I have people I knew through the years, the attorneys, people who live in the town, and you grow relationships. I’ll still visit people and say hello. I’ve been scheduling my vacations around the zoning board; this time I’m not going to worry about the zoning board.”
    Nevertheless, Mr. Gamble said he would miss the Z.B.A. and may find himself “watching television and hollering at it.” However, he said he had confidence in the Z.B.A.’s future. “Despite all that’s put against us, I think we’re leaving the board in capable hands by retaining Lee White and putting Alex as the chair.” Mr. White has been reappointed to the board, filling the unexpired two years of Mr. Gamble’s term.
    As the town board’s liaison to the Z.B.A., Councilman Dominick Stan­zione presented Mr. Gamble with a  proclamation at Tuesday’s meeting.
    “On behalf of the community, it is with regret that we hear of your desire to resign. Retire happy, relieve yourself of the burden of public service, which you have wonderfully given our community.”
    Mr. Stanzione expressed the town’s gratitude. “You’ve been an inspiration to so many people over so many years. Elderly men and women remember you. Public service for nearly half a century, there’s no way we can adequately say thank you.”