The Battle to Save East Hampton, as Seen by One Who Was There

Environmental protection and maintaining a familiar quality of life will be the subjects Saturday at the East Hampton Library, when Debra Brodie Foster speaks about her new book, "A Story That Must Be Told: Saving East Hampton's Soul, 1978-2017," at 1 p.m.

Ms. Foster, is a former member of the East Hampton Town Board and Planning Board.

The book is both a history of government and civic action and a chronicle filled with personal anecdotes. Key, in Ms. Foster's telling, was the period in the early 1980s when what she called a development avalanche descended on the town's farmland, woods, and dunes, especially on Napeague and Montauk. The town was not ready for it, with a land use plan dating to the 1960s that would have allowed as many as 1,000 motels or condominiums along the ocean east of Amagansett.

She cites the work of early advocates for restraint, including Richard Whalen, then a young lawyer who called the town's bluff on the looming destruction of a Native American burial ground, and the late Carol Morrison, who was among Montauk's strongest defenders.

Battles chronicled in Mr. Foster's book include the successful defeat of a plan for condos at Duck Creek on Three Mile Harbor and the period in 1982 when a Republican majority on the East Hampton Town Board disbanded the Planning Department, which led to massive outcry and to a Democratic Party triumph in the next town election, when Judith Hope was voted in as supervisor.

Ms. Foster ends her book with a plea for residents to continue to hold the line on development, not build in flood zones, and demand officials come up with a 100-year plan for the future of the town.