In 3-to-1 Vote, Town Board Welcomes New Member

David Lys was sworn in for a one-year term on the East Hampton Town Board on Thursday. Christopher Walsh

With one dissenting vote, David Lys, a member of East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, president of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station society, and a founder of Citizens for Access Rights, was appointed to the town board at its meeting on Thursday night. He fills the open seat vacated after Peter Van Scoyoc was elected town supervisor in November and sworn in on Jan. 2.

Mr. Lys and his wife, Rachel, who live in Springs, own East Hampton Physical Therapy and Weekend Warriors Tours and Outfitters. He graduated from East Hampton High School in 1994 and from Penn State University in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology.

The board seat Mr. Lys will occupy will be contested in a special election in November. The winner will serve until the end of 2019.

Mr. Van Scoyoc said that the board had spoken with "a number of very able candidates" and that he was "very impressed with the high quality and caliber" of them. Mr. Lys, he said, is "the father of four young children. He has a small business. He knows the challenges working people face." He has distinguished himself for the last five years on the zoning board, he said, and is a supporter of environmental protection, public access to beaches, affordable housing, "and all the values that the current town board holds dear," Mr. Van Scoyoc said.

After the supervisor, Deputy Supervisor Sylvia Overby, and Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez registered their votes in favor of Mr. Lys's appointment, Jeffrey Bragman, the board's newest member, asked to preface his vote with a comment. He had discussed several issues with Mr. Lys, including East Hampton Airport, the zoning code, and immigration. "I tell you in all candor," Mr. Bragman, who was elected in November, said, "that I had some concerns about issues where I thought we might not be on the same page."

As to the airport, "I came away with the feeling that we might not balance the interests of local recreational pilots and the corporate interests . . . and the interests of the community in quite the same way, which was a concern to me," he said. Ditto the zoning code, which Mr. Bragman suggested might be modified to "help people feel that they are not getting priced out of the market."

"I know that David is the son of an immigrant and sensitive to the issue," Mr. Bragman continued, but their discussion about the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, "its presence in the town, and its effect on our residents" left him "a little bit uneasy that we might not be on the same page."

"My vote is respectfully no," Mr. Bragman said, but added, "I may be the last to vote on the nomination, but I can still be the first to say welcome to David Lys. I'm hopeful that as we get to know each other better, the values that we share, particularly to protect the town we love, are going to be more important than the things we differ on."