Letters to the Editor - 06.09.11

    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    I read with great interest Russell Drumm’s article titled “Historic Homestead Uncovered,” which discussed some of the history of Northwest Woods, and the Isaac Van Scoy homestead in particular.
    I first became interested in this story in 1982 when my grandfather published the first volume of his book, “Descendants of Cornelis Aertsen Van Schaick.” This year is the 375th anniversary of Cornelis’s voyage from the Nederlands to New Amsterdam (Manhattan). Isaac, born in 1731, was the 5th generation to live in New York. I am an 11th-generation descendant, living on part of the Van Scoys’ original farmland. I feel blessed to be able to live and work in East Hampton and I am honored to be chosen as a Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Board.
    What is so special about where we live? It is the quality of the people and the place. Everyone has their own story, where they come from, what they do. Everyone also has something special to offer, a skill, a talent, an insight, or experience, and a contribution to make to our community.
    Think of the similarities between our community and the natural ecosystems around us. Like any ecosystem, a broad, diverse, and balanced community is stronger, more resilient, and more productive. We are intimately connected to our surrounding lands and waters and dependent upon one another for our quality of life.
    East Hampton’s most important tradition is public access to — and ownership of — our beaches, docks, harbors, bays, ponds, and woodlands. Our local businesses, property values, and life­style depend on protecting our traditional rights of access, and the health and vitality of our waters and woodlands. We should give no quarter to those who would take or sell our public holdings or diminish our quality of life for the benefit of a few.
    I am pleased to see the ever-increasing numbers of residents voicing their opinions and concerns about beach access on Napeague, the proposed sale of Fort Pond House and the town dock, the concert in Amagansett (now Wainscott), and the peddler legislation. Good government, in a democracy, depends upon citizen participation and involvement.
    I ran for town trustee in 1991 because I was concerned with issues of beach access, water quality, and fisheries. In 1995, I was appointed to the zoning board of appeals and served five years, the last year as chairman. I am currently serving my sixth year on the East Hampton Town Planning Board. After attending over 700 public hearings and meetings that require balancing the needs and desires of individuals with the future of the town at large, I feel that I have the experience and ability to carefully listen, weigh proposals, and make difficult decisions. If elected, I will strive to serve the town to the best of my ability, drawing upon my experience and yours.
    Thank you,
    Democratic Candidate for
    East Hampton Town Board

Choked Out
    May 31, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray:
    I agree with you and Councilman Dominick Stanzione in regard to restoring old views.
    I grew up in Montauk in the 1940s and ’50s, and even then, Montauk was mainly grass in the cleared areas. We could see the ocean from our front porch on Dewey Place; the hill behind us was all grass (except for the wild blueberry bushes) and that extended all the way to Hither Woods. One could park on East Lake Drive and walk through grass to visit Indian Field Cemetery, which was visible from the road. All that is gone. All those views and clear areas have been choked out by invasive brush, trees, vines, etc.
    I’d like to see one area in particular returned to grassland: the area south of the Fort Hill Cemetery, which includes Massacre Valley. I believe the town owns that land. If cleared, one may be able to find the location of the Indian fort, Indian grave sites, and possibly the Indian village, and other artifacts. It could be cleared the old-fashioned way: with sheep and goat herds kept penned in with portable chain-link fencing. Give a local farmer the right to use the property for fattening his herd; when completed, move the herd onto another property.

List of Devastation
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    Reserve, preserve, parkland, or sanctuary? What does it all mean? Not all that much to some and yet a matter of life and death to others. In a nutshell, much of it was put aside as a buffer from ever-increasing development. It was and is a way to differentiate a place like ours from no-name suburbia. We are still lucky enough to have rare birds, turtles, peepers, foxes, and other species that most Long Island communities have not seen for years, and the only reason why is because these buffer zones were set aside as natural areas where wildlife can forage and breed.
    Where do we take our youth to see and understand the value of nature? Could it be a drive to a park, zoo, museum, or perhaps to rent a DVD? In the name of progress, it looks as if this is what will happen to East Hampton if we don’t speak up.
    The majority of East Hampton taxpayers never asked that $20,000 to $30,000 be borrowed and spent on clearing these wildlife habitat areas, and yet, without notice to the taxpayers, the town board has begun this expensive project.
    One example on the target list of devastation to wildlife would be the Amagansett double dunes, extending from Indian Wells to Atlantic Avenue. Here we have acres of land left untouched for 60 or more years and it is now an abundant home for wildlife. While development and clearing throughout Amagansett south has forced most wildlife away, including insect-eating songbirds, the trees and shrubs on the roadside of this pristine area have provided them with shelter and food for survival. Again, without notice, the town wants to go in and clear out one of our last shoreline habitats.
    There is talk that this is a request of some Bluff Road property owners looking to increase their property values by opening up a bigger ocean view for them to enjoy from inside their houses. The initial thought of big ocean views while driving on Bluff Road is very appealing at first until one realizes that this is a life-or-death situation for those animals. It still is easy enough to park in one of the lots and take a walk on the beach for the best view anyway.
    At a recent quiet architectural review board meeting, a town board member was trying to tell us that the guidelines in the Bluff Road historic code mandate that they clear these dunes but neglected to say that these are only guidelines, which have not been followed since their inception.
    Is it fair that a handful of people can force taxpayers to spend money on a clearing project which only benefits a few but will change the rural landscape of East Hampton for a very long time if not forever?  Who asked for this Project Open Vista anyway?
    East Hampton Democratic Committee

Open Access
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor:
    Citizens for Access Rights recently held a fund-raiser at the Stephen Talkhouse to raise money and awareness for our newly formed group, which supports open access for all to the East End beaches. We would like to thank all the supporters and community members who attended the May 21 event and contributed to CfAR.
    All money raised will be used to further CfAR’s efforts to raise awareness of the lawsuits seeking beach privatization and will be donated to the town trustees for stewardship and protection of the local beaches.
    CfAR would also like to thank everyone who helped make the event a success, including the Stephen Talkhouse for lending the venue, all the musicians who donated their time to perform, and especially all the local businesses who donated items for the auctions. The night was a huge success.
    We appreciate the show of support. Please remember to check our Web site, citizensforaccessrights.com, and our Facebook page for further information regarding beach access and details of future fund-raisers. Please help spread the word. We hope to see you all at the beach.
    Citizens for Access Rights

Broadview Dock
    Barnes Landing
    June 5, 2011
Dear David:
    Some of us in Barnes Landing had mixed feelings to read (Star June 2) that the town zoning board may rule against the rescue of the badly decayed Broadview dock.
    Certainly none of us wish to see the thing become anything elaborate enough to attract fat-cat yachts such as those that glut Sag Harbor each year. And yet, the prospect of losing it altogether isn’t pleasing.
    As long as some remnant of it remains, for instance, we can tell our grandchildren the story of how rumrunners used it during Prohibition to smuggle illicit booze into thirsty Bonac. Under cover of night, they’d moor their hooch-laden boats in the bay, row the contraband in to the pier, and then carry it, case by case, up the steep steps that still climb the face of the Bell Estate bluffs. (Yes, in case you were wondering, that is why that graceful, shingled roof covers the staircase — to keep the feds or Coast Guard from spotting their nefarious nocturnal activities.)
    Who knows? It may even be true.
    In any case, we see the dock as a landmark, not an eyesore. And hope a way can be found to allow nature to continue dismantling it without making it too dangerous a site in the process.

Will Disappear
    East Hampton
    June 6, 2011
Dear Editor:
    If the Bell Estate dock is removed, 50 years of sand buildup to the north, including the Barnes Hole Association’s beach, will disappear shortly after.
    The Albert’s Landing town beach to the south is protected by the groin on the north side of Fresh Pond, which Dr. Bell insisted be installed before turning over Fresh Pond and the surrounding land to the town and town trustees circa 1944.
    East Hampton Town
    Natural Resources Department

Tips the Balance
    Barnes Landing
    June 6, 2011
Dear David,
    Your Broadview Dock editorial last week was too broad in scope. It is true the local waterfront revitalization program is against perpendicular structures such as the dock. However, the document also looks closely at actual conditions within each local reach of the shoreline.
    In the case of the Bell dock, the L.W.R.P. notes significant disruption of the sand supply along this shore by the groins and revetments north of the Barnes Landing road end. They prevent sand that used to come from the Accabonac cliffs from reaching the public beach at Barnes Landing, a beach used by many more people than indicated in the misleading letter by Neal Gabler (June 2), who claims it is the provenance of only a few rich folks.
    The Bell dock holds the Barnes Landing beach in place. If it goes, the beach goes with it. With that in mind an exception for maintenance of the Bell dock was inserted in the L.W.R.P. erosion map, which I believe was continued in the local erosion protection law of 2006 implementing the policy.
    Ideally shorelines throughout the town should be restored to a natural condition. However, in areas where sand supply and shoreline mechanics have already been disrupted, we need to consider the consequences of further change.
    In this case maintaining the beach tips the balance to keep the dock. I hope the zoning board sees it the same way and grants the permit.
    Thanks for listening.