The chairman of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee easily withstood a challenge when the group re-elected officers on Monday. Of the 21 members who cast ballots, 17 voted for Kieran Brew to remain as chairman, with 4 votes for Rona Klopman, a former chairwoman and vice chairwoman. Michael Diesenhaus and Susan Bratton were unanimously re-elected vice chairman and secretary.
In recent months, certain issues before the committee have proven divisive. The group has argued over “555,” the now defunct proposal for senior citizens housing, legislation concerning chain stores, historic districts, and a ban on alcohol at two of the hamlet’s ocean beaches.
Mr. Brew angered some committee members in December by accusing them of creating hysteria and using scare tactics in opposing the 555 development, which would have required the creation of a new zoning district. At the time, Ms. Klopman criticized Mr. Brew, saying he was “so defiant and angry about something he feels didn’t go his way.”
Before Monday’s vote, Mr. Brew made brief remarks in which he thanked the committee for support. “The job that I see is to make sure that everybody gets a chance to express their opinions. I think I’ve done that pretty fairly. I’ve expressed my own opinions when appropriate, but not at the expense of anybody else’s.” Ms. Klopman, however, decried “hostile reactions to neighbors’ comments” and criticized Mr. Brew for withholding agendas until hours before monthly meetings. A chairman or chairwoman, she said, “remains bipartisan and a moderator. That hasn’t happened for the past two years.” The dialogue must be civil,” she said, “and everybody must be allowed to express opinions without being yelled at.”
When the committee got down to business, it welcomed John Botos of the town’s Natural Resources Department, who spoke on the goal of meeting 100 percent of the town’s electricity consumption with renewable energy sources by 2020 and the equivalent of 100 percent of the energy consumption for heating and transportation as well as electricity with renewable sources by 2030.
“We are approaching a point of no return as far as climate change is concerned,” Mr. Botos said. The town, he said, has taken an important first step in forming the energy sustainability committee, which came up with the goals. Solar “farms” on municipal property, Mr. Botos said, would reduce the need to develop energy using fossil fuels and generate revenue for the town. Town officials are also exploring a charging station for electric vehicles, he said, taking advantage of a funding opportunity that would cover 85 percent of the cost, with the remainder financed by an award the town could receive for implementing a renewable-energy project. “It won’t cost the taxpayer a dime,” he said.
Mr. Botos noted that the town’s renewable-energy goals, adopted on May 20, closely reflect President Obama’s June 2 proposal to cut carbon pollution from power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. “Now it’s a matter of us working together to accomplish these goals,” he said.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, the town board’s liaison to the committee, spoke of Indian Wells Beach, reporting that renovations to the restrooms were complete and the parking lot stripes have been repainted. Additional parking spaces are to be added on the west side of Indian Wells Highway, and new garbage cans will soon be in place as well as new signs, he said.
Mr. Cantwell reminded the group that a public hearing on the proposed ban of alcoholic beverages for a distance of 1,500 feet from the roadway endings during lifeguard-protected hours at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue Beaches will be held next Thursday. A hearing on formula-store legislation is scheduled for July 17.